Gary Mokotoff, Editor
Volume 15, Number 3 | January19, 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
100 Most Popular Genealogy Websites
GenealogyInTime Magazine has published its annual list of the 100 most popular genealogy websites based on the amount of traffic received by the site. Once again Ancestry.com came out on top. Surprisingly, the Israeli-based MyHeritage.com, which was second last year, dropped in rank to fourth, overcome by Find-a-Grave and Family Search. The list can be found at http://www.genealogyintime.com/articles/top-100-genealogy-websites-of-2014-page02.html.
Other popular sites for Jewish family history research and their rank (last year’s rank in parentheses) were:
4. FindAGrave (2)
5. Geni (5)
6. Ancestry.co.uk (8)
11. Eastman’s Genealogy Newsletter (19)
14. FamilyTreeDNA (22)
15. Ancestry.ca (14)
17. Ancestry.com.au (18)
33. JewishGen (27)
35. SteveMorse (47)
37. Cyndi’s List (30)
38. EllisIsland.org (24)
39. WorldVitalRecords (28)
59. FindMyPast (13)
83. Ancestry.de (31)
Joint Distribution Committee Stockholm Collection (1941–1967) Now Online
Joint Distribution Committee's Stockholm Collection, which documents its World War II-era relief work in Sweden, is now available online. This collection, housed in the Jerusalem office of the JDC Archives, comprises approximately 50,000 pages and chronicles JDC’s extensive activity in Sweden from 1941–1967. Given its strategic location in neutral Sweden, JDC’s office was well positioned to purchase, receive, and send supplies to needy communities in Europe; provide support for war-time rescue operations; and care for, forward mail to, and search for survivors after World War II.
Materials in this collection include: reports from concentration camps; an eyewitness account of the arrival in Sweden of the first survivors rescued by the Swedish Red Cross’s “White Buses” scheme; extensive documentation of the ad hoc convoys developed to move goods from market sources into the Displaced Persons (DP) camps; employment, housing and medical assistance afforded both to DPs settling in Sweden and for refugees traveling to other countries; JDC Location Service forms and cards; and correspondence with Jewish communities in South America seeking to send aid to European refugees.
Information about the project is at http://archives.jdc.org/about-us/articles/records-from-jdc-stockholm-1.html.
World War I Jewish Prisoner of War Cards Available Online
The American Joint Distribution Committee has placed online a collection of records for Jewish prisoners of war in Siberia from 1920. The soldiers, depicted on the more than 1,000 cards that comprise the collection, served in the German and Austro-Hungarian armies. Consequentially, these records, many of which contain biographical information and rare photographs, are an incredible historical resource for those who have German, Hungarian or Galitzianer heritage. The genealogical information on these cards includes: name of the prisoner; where and when he was born, did his army service and was captured; home address; nationality; religion and occupation; photographs as well as other information.
Information about the database is at http://archives.jdc.org/from-the-archives/world-war-i-prisoner-of-war.html.
IIJG Launches Leslie Caplan Genealogical Repository
The International Institute for Jewish Genealogy (IIJG) has established a repository for Jewish genealogical papers and records, located at the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People (CAHJP) in Jerusalem. It was made possible by a generous gift to the Institute by Mrs. Sophie Caplan of Sydney, Australia, and will be named after her late husband, Leslie Caplan, who for many years was a prominent leader of Australian Jewry. The primary purpose of the repository is to collect and preserve significant collections of Jewish genealogical papers and to make them readily available to family historians, social scientists and researchers worldwide. It will be the only such dedicated repository of its kind and over time should develop into a world center for the study of Jewish genealogical materials, in conjunction with the extensive resources already available at CAHJP and at the National Library of Israel, where IIJG is housed.
IIJG would welcome offers of private genealogical papers meeting certain criteria of importance, which will be posted shortly on IIJG’s website at http://www.iijg.org. Make inquiries to IIJG Director, Ami Elyasaf, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ancestry.com Adds New York City Records
Ancestry.com has added to its collection New York City Birth Index, 1878–1909, Marriage Index, 1866–1937 and Death Index, 1862–1948. They are available at no charge. These records have existed on ItalianGen.org for a number of years and they can be accessed through the SteveMorse.org site with greater search flexibility.
Other additions to the Ancestry.com system are:
• 1855 New York State Census at http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=7181
• 1875 New York State Census at http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=7250
• New York, Naturalization Papers, 1799–1847 at http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=8869
• New York, Alien Depositions of Intent to Become U.S. Citizens, 1825–1871 at http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=5355.
A complete list of New York State (including New York City) holdings is at http://search.ancestry.com/Places/US/New-York/Default.aspx.
Open Access to Mocavo Global Search Until Today (Sunday) at Midnight
Mocavo is a fee for service site that uses a search engine to locate information about individuals mentioned on Internet sites relevant to genealogy. Until midnight tonight, their entire database is available free of charge. A description of the site appeared in the March 20, 2011, edition of Nu? What’s New?
British WWI Soldier Diaries Placed Online
Approximately 300,000 pages of diaries by British soldiers during World War I have been placed online by the UK National Archives. It is part of a project that, when completed, will include 1.5 million pages. The diaries describe life on the frontline.
Each unit in World War I was required to keep a diary of its day-to-day activities. The first batch is detailed experiences of three cavalry and seven infantry divisions in the initial wave of British army troops deployed in 1914. The project is part of the government's World War I centenary program. Additional information is at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25716569. The actual site of the records is at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/war-diaries-ww1.htm.
Leo Baeck Institute Launches Online Catalog for Romanian Archives Records
Leo Baeck Institute has placed online records in Romanian archives that relate to German-speaking Jewish communities in Southern Bukovina and Southern Transylvania. The database, which includes digital images of records, is located at http:// jbat.lbi.org. It describes the location and content of about 600 archival items related to Jewish life, which are housed in various institutions throughout the region.
Currently the database includes 10 cities in southern Bukovina (Burdujeni, Chernivtsi, Campulung Moldovenesc, Gura Homorului, Itcani, Radauti, Siret, Solca, Suceava, and Vatara Dornei) plus Medias and Sibiu in southern Transylvania. Among the archival materials now brought to light are Jewish community records such as birth, death, and marriage registers; civil records of local police departments and schools; and the papers of various organizations and businesses. A small portion of the documents has been digitized and can be accessed directly through the new catalogue.
The announcement is at http://www.lbi.org/2014/01/lbi-launches-online-catalog-for-longhidden-romanian-archives/.
FamilySearch Additions for the Week
Recent additions to FamilySearch, both indexes and browseable images, can be found at https://www.familysearch.org/node/2503. This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Brazil, Columbia, England, Portugal and the U.S. states of California, Massachusetts, Ohio and Vermont.
Note that at the website announced collections may not be complete for the dates specified and will be added at some later date. Also note that counts shown in the announcement are the number added, not the total number available in the collection, which can be greater.
The largest genealogy conference in the United States, RootsTech, will take place February 6-8, 2014, in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the Salt Palace Convention Center. It is estimated that 10,000 people will attend. More than 200 classes, events, and interactive activities will be included. The complete schedule is at https://rootstech.org/schedule-info/session-viewer/#id=RT. The Expo Hall features hundreds of technology and family history exhibitors displaying their services. General information is at http://rootstech.org.
WDYTYA Schedule Now Online
Billed as the largest family history and genealogy event in the world, the complete schedule for the Who Do You Think You Are LIVE conference is now at http://www.whodoyouthinkyouarelive.com/workshop-schedule. The event will be held February 20–22 at the Olympia in London. The show attracts 10–15,000 people each year. Like RootsTech, described above, the event includes workshops and exhibits. General information is located at http://www.whodoyouthinkyouarelive.com.
Search by Country Added to MyHeritage Site
You are researching the surname Cohen from Poland and are tired of all the false results from other countries. MyHeritage has just added a feature that allows you to limit the searching of their entire database to a specific country. On the search page, scroll down to the bottom of the page where there is an image of the world. Select a continent and it will provide a list of countries. Select the country and the search will be limited to that country. Alternately, type the country name in the “Place” field of the search parameters.
If you are researching the Cohens from Poland, bad news. Currently MyHeritage only has Roman Catholic records from Poland.
IAJGS Annual Competition for International Jewish Genealogy Month Poster
The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) holds an annual competition for a work to be used as either a poster or flyer for announcing and celebrating International Jewish Genealogy Month which will occur during the Hebrew month of Cheshvan. For 2014 the civil dates are October 25 to November 22.
The winning entry will be announced at the IAJGS Annual Meeting in July at the conference. The artist creating the winning entry will receive free registration for that conference.
The IJGM Poster Competition 2014 appropriately commences on Tu B'Shevat, which is also known as the New Year for Trees. This corresponds to Wednesday, January 15 and Thursday, January 16, 2014.
From 1999 through 2006, Avotaynu, Inc. promoted Jewish Genealogy Month. In 2007, IAJGS assumed responsibility for the promotion of this special month. IAJGS member organizations are encouraged to promote Jewish genealogy and publicize their organization and its activities all over the world.
Poster competition rules can be found at http://iajgs.org/jgmonth.html. Illustrations of previous winning posters are at http://iajgs.org/jgm_pastposters.html. The one published in 2000 is used as the front cover of Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy and Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy.
Peculiarities of the Julian, Gregorian and Hebrew Calendars
The following was submitted by Stephen Weinstein.
After the first month of Adar of 5774 begins at sundown on the evening of 31 January 2014, no Hebrew months will begin until March, making February 2014 one of the very rare months in which no Hebrew months begin.
In every 19 years, 228 months begin on the Gregorian calendar and 235 months begin on the Hebrew calendar. (The average Julian Calendar month is 30 7/16 days, the average Gregorian calendar month is 30 699/1600 days, and the average Hebrew calendar month is 29 13753/25920 days.) If all months on the Gregorian calendar were an average of 30-31 days, then this would be simple. The Hebrew calendar would have 228 months in which exactly one Gregorian calendar month began, and seven in which no Gregorian calendar month began, and the Gregorian calendar would have 228 months in which exactly one Hebrew calendar month began, and seven in which two Hebrew calendar months began.
However, because February (28-29 days) is shorter than other Gregorian calendar months (30-31 days), and can be shorter than Hebrew calendar months (29-30 days), it is possible for both February and March to begin the same Hebrew calendar month, and for no Hebrew calendar months to begin in February.
At sundown on the evening of 31 January 2014, the first Adar of the leap year 5774 begins. The next Hebrew months, Veadar and Nisan, begin at sundown on the evenings of 2 March 2014 and 31 March 2014, respectively. In 5774, Shevat and Adar begin in January, no Hebrew months begin in February, and Veadar and Nissan begin in March. In 2014, February and March begin in the first month of Adar, and no Gregorian calendar months begin in Shevat or Veadar.
The last time that Shevat began in December was in 5660, and the next times are in 5793 and 5831. In those three years, Tevet and Shevat begin in December (on the evening of December 31), Adar in January, no Hebrew months in February (of 1900, 2033, and 2071), and Veadar and Nissan in March; no Gregorian months begin in Tevet or Veadar; and February and March begin in Adar.
The last times that March began in Shevat was in 1949 and 1987 and the next times are in 2063 and 2082. In these four years, Tevet and Shevat begin in January, no Hebrew months in February, and Adar and Nissan in March; no Gregorian months begin in Tevet or Adar; and February and March begin in Shevat.
In secular leap years, February has 29 days, making these events much less likely, but they can still occur. For example, in 2052, Shevat and Adar begin in January, no Hebrew months in February, and Veadar and Nissan in March; no Gregorian months begin in Shevat or Veadar; and February and March begin in Adar.
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