Gary Mokotoff, Editor
Volume 15, Number 21 | June 1, 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.
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More On “Right To Be Forgotten”
Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee recent reported the following (shown in its entirety):
As reported on this announcement list on May 13, the European Union Court required Google—and all data aggregators—when requested by the person mentioned to remove “embarrassing" information from their Internet site. This forms the debate that genealogists are continually confronting when accessing records—the right of privacy vs. the right to know—access to what we as genealogists believe is in the public domain and should be available.
As reported in an article on (US) National Public Radio (NPR) by the Associated Press, “Google announced Friday it has opened a digital hotline to let Europeans complain when links to embarrassing personal information about them turn up in a search of their names. The complaints will be vetted and removed unless a company-appointed panel says the public's right to access the information outweighs a complainant's right to privacy.” The article also talked about the image problem Google has in the EU. To read the article, see http://tinyurl.com/GoogleNPR.
For now at least, Google will only scrub personal information spanning a 32-nation swath in Europe. That means Googling the same person in the United States and dozens of other countries could look much different than it does from Europe. Although the court ruling only applied to 28 countries in the European Union, Google is extending the "right to be forgotten" to four other countries: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. More than 500 million people live in the area affected by Google's potential purge of personal information from its European search results. Google is trying to establish some guidelines to steer its censorship decisions. To do this, Google is setting up a seven-person advisory committee to navigate through the ethical shoals. Google will designate another team of its employees to sift through the requests to remove personal information from search results and decide which have grievances that should be honored under the European court ruling. To read more go to
Thank you to Teven Laxer, member IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee for alerting us to the NPR articles.
The search removal request form may be found at http://tinyurl.com/GoogleRForm.
Thank you to Mark Nicholls, IAJGS Secretary for sharing this link with us.
According to a New York Times article, it’s not that easy to be forgotten. So far about 1,000 Europeans asked Google to take down links, with about half having criminal convictions and half not. As the article states in commenting on an Ireland case, the bell has already rung and the genie may not be able to get back in the bottle. Privacy issues are vastly different between the United States and Europe. Privacy issues in Europe are connected to protecting personal honor. To read this article go to: http://tinyurl.com/k6qj9s6.
Thank you to Paul Silverstone, IAJGS treasurer and member IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee for alerting us to this article.
FamilySearch Additions for the Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, 2.9 million indexed records and images, can be found at https://www.familysearch.org/node/2544. This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Brazil, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, New Zealand, Peru, Spain and the U.S. states of Florida, Iowa, Maryland, New York, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.
Notable additions are 75,500 Czech Republic census records, 1843–1945, bringing the total collection to 1.8 million; 462,000 additional indexes to New York Passenger and Crew Lists, 1909, 1925–1957; a new browseable image collection of 206,000 indexes and manifests of arrivals at the Port of Del Rio, Texas, 1906–1953.
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.
IIJG Extends Deadline for “Call for Research Proposals”
The International Institute for Jewish Genealogy has extended its deadline for its annual “Call for Research Proposals” from May 31 to June 30. The proposal should be for original research in the field of Jewish genealogy to be carried out during the academic year of 2014–15. Successful applicants will be awarded grants of up to $10,000. Proposals must meet strict standards of academic excellence and will be judged by the extent to which they broaden the horizons of Jewish genealogical research and/or create innovative tools or technologies to assist Jewish genealogists and family historians in their work. “Instructions to Applicants” are at the Institute’s website http://www.iijg.org, under “RESEARCH”/“Research Grants”. These instructions should be followed carefully, as only applications in correct form will be considered. Successful applicants will be announced on 1 September 2014.
Order Parisian Vital Records Online
A posting to the French SIG Discussion Group of JewishGen indicated it is possible to order from the City of Paris birth, marriage and death records more than 75 years old at no charge. The writer lives in Israel. Apparently birth records may also include marginal notes about more recent events. It was reported that a 1930s birth record of a relative's daughter in Paris contained a note of her marriage in the 1950s which included her married name. The marriage record was not available because the event occurred within the past 75 years.
The records can be ordered at http://tinyurl.com/ParisVitals. I was unable to access the site from the United States. A Belgian friend did not have this problem. There may be restrictions on access in certain parts of the world.
British Newspaper Archives Adds 300,000 Pages
The British Newspaper Archive has added 300,000 new pages to its website recently, including six brand new titles. You can now search editions of the Daily Mirror (the national newspaper), Hamilton Advertiser, Lancashire Evening Post, Oxford Times, Perthshire Advertiser and Shetland Times. Additional information is available at http://tinyurl.com/BritNewsAnnounce.
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