Gary Mokotoff, Editor
Volume 15, Number 2 | January 12, 2014
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.
Past issues of Nu? What's New? are archived at http://www.avotaynu.com/nu.htm
New Genealogy Site: Webtrees.net
The home page of Webtrees.com states “Webtrees is the web's leading on-line collaborative genealogy application. It is open source software and costs zero...” It is not a site to place your family tree but a software package you must install on you own website, which the company is willing to host. The Webtrees site is at http://www.webtrees.net/index.php/en/. It is in both English and French.
An example is the site of Meliza Rubinstein Amity at http://www.amitys.com/webtrees/index.php. It contains 24,471 individuals. The oldest entry is that of the “ReMA”—Rabbi Moses Isserles, born February 22, 1520 in Krakow, Poland and died there May 11, 1572. According to Amity, it represents all the Jews in Finland and their families throughout the world.
Amity is one of the developers of Webtrees. She was interviewed by the Jerusalem Post and noted that some of the unusual features of the system included multilingual ability, a “sound search” for data and a Hebrew calendar. Unfortunately, the Post article is available by subscription only.
Tourist Route Through Old Jewish Towns Planned
The Associated Press reports that historians are preparing a virtual and real-life tourist route leading through about 60 old Jewish towns along Poland's border with Belarus and Ukraine. The “Shtetl Route” will include about 20 towns in each of the countries. The project is largely funded by the European Union. The Internet site version will offer descriptions, histories and anecdotes about the towns that were largely Jewish before World War II. Fifteen of them will be shown in 3-D models. On-the-ground sightseeing guides and guidebooks will be available starting in late 2015. The AP article is at http://bigstory.ap.org/article/tourist-route-through-old-jewish-towns-planned.
IAJGS Makes Appointments
The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) has appointed Nolan Altman of Oceanside, New York, as IAJGS Vice President. Altman replaces Jan Meisels Allan who recently resigned the position but will continue as Chairperson of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee.
Altman’s previous position on the IAJGS Board will be filled by Garri Regev of Jerusalem, Israel. She served as Chair of the Jerusalem Genealogical Society and then President of the Israel Genealogical Society. Regev is currently the President of the Israel Genealogy Research Association. She is on the Steering Committee for the 35th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy to be held in Jerusalem in 2015.
IAJGS is the umbrella organization of 74 Jewish genealogical societies worldwide. The IAJGS serves the shared needs of its members, coordinates and organizes activities such as the annual IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, provides a unified voice and acts as the spokesperson on behalf of its members. Their site is at http://www.iajgs.org.
FamilySearch Additions for the Week
Recent additions to FamilySearch, both indexes and browseable images, can be found at https://www.familysearch.org/node/2490. This site provides direct links to the individual collections. Included are records from BillionGraves, England, Russia and the U.S. states of Michigan, Montana, Wisconsin as well as New England States, Seamen's Identification Cards, 1918–1940; Passport Applications, 1795–1925; and Revolutionary War, Virginia Pension Application Files, 1830–1875.
Note that at the website announced collections may not be complete for the dates specified and will be added at some later time. Also note that counts shown in the announcement are the number added, not the total number available in the collection, which can be greater.
Index and Images of Hessen Jewish Records Now Online
An index to more than 31,500 Jewish records from northern and eastern Hessen, Germany, are now on the JewishGen German-Sig website at http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/Germany. Search results provide links to the actual documents located at the Hessen State Archives site. The records represent 45% of those available. An estimated 34,500 more are still to be done by volunteers.
The database is a surname and town index of 19th- and 20th-century Jewish vital records from Hessen. The “Gatermann” microfilms are the only remaining source of a large collection of German Jewish vital records and related documents. These items were collected by the German government during World War II. They were microfilmed in the last months of the war by Gatermann & Co. The original documents were destroyed shortly after the end of the war. In 2013 the Hessian State Archives put most of their collection of Gatermann films online. Additional information about the records is at http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/Germany/Gatermann.htm
Trove Adds More Australian Newspapers
The Trove digitized newspaper collection of the National Library of Australia has added 53 more historic newspapers online. The largest additions are from New South Wales and Victoria. The site, with search engine, is located at http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper.
Rootstech To Offer Live Streaming Again
Once again the Rootstech conference will offer live streaming of selected lectures to those who cannot attend the event but want to view lectures at no cost through live streaming. The conference will be held from February 6–8, 2014, at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Rootstech is the largest genealogy conference in North America. Last year’s conference had 6,770 registered attendees and more than 13,000 people tuned in to watch the live streaming sessions. The conference’s home page is http://rootstech.org.
Index to Recent Broward County, Florida, Marriage Licenses Now Online
Renee Steinig of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Long Island reports on the JewishGen Discussion Group that the Broward County, Florida, Clerk of the Courts now offers a marriage
license search at http://www.clerk-17th-flcourts.org/Clerkwebsite/Marriage/LicenseSearch.aspx. She states that unlike the Florida marriage records on Ancestry, which run through 2001, this database currently includes marriages that took place as recently as January 2014. Searching for the common surname Cohen, there were records as early as 1986. The Broward database also includes information not found on Ancestry: bride's and groom's city or state of birth and residence, city where the marriage took place, and who performed the marriage (i.e. clergy, notary, etc.).
Two Conferences in Texas
The annual Conference on Crypto Judaism and Sephardic-Hispanic Culture will be held January 19–20, 2014, at the Seibel Center for Crypto Jewish Studies on the Texas A&M campus in College Station, Texas. Information can be found at http://tinyurl.com/CryptoJewishConf.
The 39th Annual Conference of the Southern Jewish Historical Society will be held from October 23–26, 2014, in Austin, Texas. They are issuing a Call for Papers on subjects related to Jewry in the southern and border states, with preference for topics reflecting the conference theme: “Southern Jews in Global Contexts.” Of prime interest are topics focusing on ways that southern Jews and Jewish communities interact with Jewish and non-Jewish communities, issues, and institutions across international borders. The conference website is at http://www.jewishsouth.org/upcoming-conference.
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