Gary Mokotoff, Editor
Volume 13, Number 44 | November 4, 2012
Every government puts value on preserving its history. That is why we have national archives. Genealogy preserves history; the history of a family. It cannot be done without access to records, just as historians cannot preserve a nation's history without access to records. It is a greater good than the right to privacy. It is a greater good than the risk of identity theft.
Can Cyndi’s List Be Copyrighted?
It is reported that some unnamed website has copied Cyndi’s List in its entirety. Cyndi’s List, which was started in 1996 by Cyndi Ingle Howells, is a list of Internet sites of value to genealogists. It currently identifies more than 325,000 sites divided into 192 categories. The Jewish category has 707 links divided into 26 subcategories.
Whether the person did it with malice or because the person feels s/he has a legal right to do it may have to be decided in a court of law. The confusion emanates from a Supreme Court decision in 1991 that you cannot copyright facts, and Cyndi’s List, the defendant can argue, is nothing more than a bunch of facts and, therefore, not protected by copyright law which protects original works.
Prior to the Court decision, facts could be copyrighted if they were gathered by the “sweat of your brow,” that is, if the facts were very difficult to accumulate. This would be true of Cyndi’s List. Since the decision, Federal courts have backed off somewhat on the broad ruling. Read the article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feist_v._Rural. My opinion is that based on the “Implications” section of this article, the person violated copyright law.
French Records Removed from FamilySearch
Regular users of FamilySearch may have noticed that France has been removed from the list of countries in Continental Europe. Apparently there is a dispute between FamilySearch and the French archives as to whether their agreement allows Internet access to the records. There is an implication that it is a mere formality that should be resolved in the next few weeks or months. Until then, no French records at the FamilySearch site. The matter was reported on the Discussion Group of people associated with the Mormon Family History Centers.
IIJG Interim Report on Scottish Genealogy Online
The International Institute for Jewish Genealogy has placed on its website an article that appeared in the Spring 2012 issue of AVOTAYNU that is a summary of an interim report they have published about “200 Years of Scottish Jewry – A Demographic and Genealogical Profile.” It can be viewed at http://www.iijg.org/Documents/AVOTAYNU_XXVIII_1.pdf. The actual report is 150 pages. The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, one of the sponsors of the project, placed its own version of the interim report at http://tinyurl.com/SCOJECGenealogy. They are not identical and those with interest in Scottish Jewry should read both versions.
The principal researcher for the project is Michael Tobias of Glasgow who is also JewishGen’s vice president of programming. Additional information about the project can be found at http://tinyurl.com/SCOJECGenealogy2. It includes some commentaries about discoveries regarding Scottish Jewry uncovered by the project.
World Memory Project
The World Memory Project now has more than 1.7 million entries on the Internet. The Project is a joint effort between the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and Ancestry.com to index the holdings of the Museum that identify individuals. It can be searched on Ancestry.com at no charge at http://search.ancestry.com/search/group/USHMM_Collection. The site lists what record groups are part of the collection. Information about the project can be found at http://www.worldmemoryproject.org.
Do You Subscribe to JewishGen Discussion Groups?
Do you subscribe to those JewishGen Discussion Groups that cover the areas of interest in your family history research? JewishGen currently has 24 such groups, each oriented toward some geographical area of ancestry. These message boards post regularly—usually daily—announcements about the latest resources for Jewish family history in their area. They also include inquiries from people as well as responses to these inquiries. Many of these inquiries/responses are educational.
Each week I pour through every message posted to each of the JewishGen Discussion Groups looking for potential news items for Nu? What’s New? Many of interest to subscribers of the Discussion Group only are not included in this e-zine because the information is of interest only to the local area covered.
A list of all the Discussion Groups and how to subscribe can be found at http://www.jewishgen.org/ListManager/members_add.asp. There is also a “Main Discussion Group” all should subscribe to that includes information of general interest. All groups are moderated to filter out messages of little value or those that do not adhere to JewishGen guidelines.
All messages are archived. The Main Discussion Group archives contains every message posted since September 1993. This is a great resource for information posted in the past. It is located at http://data.jewishgen.org/wconnect/wc.dll?jg~jgsys~archpop. Back editions of the Special Interest Groups since July 1998 are at http://data.jewishgen.org/wconnect/wc.dll?jg~jgsys~sigspop.
Here are some recent postings to these groups:
Austro-Hungary. If you had relatives that fought in the Austro-Hungarian army during World War I, then an Internet site at http://www.austro-hungarian-army.co.uk/ might be of interest to you. It does not name individuals but provides interesting background information about the units that fought, badges and uniforms (which might help decipher pictures), engagements and battles, and other useful information.
Galicia. A project has been started on Geni.com seeking to connect all Jewish families from Krakow on to one family tree. Information can be found at http://tinyurl.com/GeniKrakow.
Germany. A biographical memorial book to the Jews of Munich murdered in the Holocaust is now online. It was originally published in book form in 2003 and again in 2007 by the Munich City Archives. Information about an individual can be extensive including name, occupation, date/place of birth, deportation date, date/place of death, names of parents including maiden name of mother, date/placed of marriage, who married to including maiden name and date/place of birth, names of children including birth date/place. There also may be a photograph of the victim. The database can be searched at http://tinyurl.com/MunichGedenkbuch.
Lithuania. For the 20th year, veteran genealogists Howard Margol and Peggy Mosinger Freedman will be organizing another group trip to Lithuania. It will be from June 25 – July 5, 2013. Persons interested in tracing their roots in Lithuania, Latvia, portions of Poland close to Lithuania, or Belarus, may find the trip valuable. The group is limited to 25 people.
Included are visits to the archives, synagogues, ghettos, Holocaust sites, meetings with Jewish leaders, sightseeing, guide/interpreters, and two days to visit and spend time in your shtetl or shtetlach of interest. All meals are included (except for one dinner and two lunches), the finest hotels, buses, and much more. The trip planners are on a first-name basis with the archivists and directors of main places of Jewish interest.
For details and a full itinerary of the trip, see http://www.litvaktrip.peggyspage.org or contact the planners at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Romania/Moldova. The World Memory project has added information from questionnaires distributed by the World Jewish Congress in Romania in the Spring, Summer and Fall of 1945. Information at the site includes name, birth date, place of residence, marital status and relationship to head of household. For a specific individual, the names and relationships of all members of the household are shown. The database, a description, as well as its historical background can be found at http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=2425.
Fall Issue of AVOTAYNU
We are working on the Fall issue of AVOTAYNU and one aspect of the issue that struck me is that most of the authors of the articles are new to our journal. This is because the Fall issue each year contains articles based on lectures given at the International Conference on Jewish Genealogy and this year, because the conference was held in Paris, it attracted lecturers from Europe who do not normally attend the annual event.
There is a comprehensive six-page article about genealogical resources in Moldova. Titles of other articles include:
• New Sources for Genealogical Studies in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia
• Jewish Genealogical Resources in the Archives of Southern and Southeastern Ukraine
• Italian Jews: Sephardim, Ashkenazim and Frenchmen
• Jewish Communities of the Caribbean
• Metz, Lorraine and Alsace: A Dozen Years of Genealogical Research, from the 17th to the 18th Century
• Canadian Jewish Heritage Network Opens New Windows on Canadian Jewish Name Research
• Czechs Advance Online
Those are the articles of specific geographical interest. There will be others of general interest. A typical issue has about 15 articles plus news from around the world, book reviews, and an Ask the Experts column. Our Contributing Editor for Israel gives a detailed report about plans by the Israel State Archives.
AVOTAYNU has been a very popular journal for more than 28 years. It currently has nearly 2,000 subscribers. If you are not a subscriber, you can do so at http://www.avotaynu.com/journal.htm. Recently an anthology of all back issues—from 1985 to 2011—was placed on the Internet using a Google custom search engine. The cost to access these issues is a one-time charge of $35. It can be ordered at http://www.avotaynu.com/books/Anthology.htm.
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