Gary Mokotoff, Editor
Volume 15, Number 24 | June 22, 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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JewishGen Affected By Ancestry.com Website Down Earlier in Week
The Ancestry.com web servers were the victim of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack last Tuesday, which forced it to shut down for more than 24 hours. A DDoS is the deliberate act of overwhelming a website with meaningless requests to the point where the website servers cannot handle any requests including legitimate ones.
Most of the functions of Ancestry.com were back in operation by Wednesday, but JewishGen, which uses Ancestry.com servers did not start to come online until late Wednesday. At that time, the web pages were available, but none of its databases were accessible. They became available on Saturday and by Sunday, the Discussion Groups were back in operation.
One news account of the attack can be found at http://tinyurl.com/JGAttack.
The attack on the Ancestry.com website made me aware of a delightful website on Facebook called Twisted-Twigs-On-Gnarled-Branches-Genealogy at http://tinyurl.com/TwTwigs. The site consists of cartoons that spoof genealogy researchers. An example is their reaction to the Ancestry.com attack shown at the right (click on the image to enlarge). Another example is a thought well known to veteran researchers: “If the highlight of your recent vacation was a cemetery visit…you must be a genealogist.”
Watch a Preview of “IAJGS LIVE!”
The conference planners have created a short video of the experience of watching selected lectures being webcast to people who register for “IAJGS LIVE!”. More than 60 of the sessions at the IAJGS conference will be broadcast live over the Internet and will be available for another 90 days after the conference. At most times, two different sessions will be broadcasting LIVE!, so registered users can go back later to watch the other session that was missed or even watch a session previously viewed.
See the preview at http://blog.iajgs2014.org/2014/06/iajgs-live-video. At the end of the video, the list of lectures is presented as a scroll. Hit the Pause button on the video viewer to pause the scrolling so the list can be easily read.
Register for LIVE! at http://registration.iajgs2014.org/. Cost is $149. If you are attending the conference you can add LIVE! to your regular conference registration for only $99.
Preview Video of Finding Our Roots Identifies New Celebrities
The second season of Finding Your Roots, will premier September 23 on U.S. PBS stations. It again features host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. showing family history research done for celebrities. Professor Gates is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research.
The show patterns itself after the popular Who Do You Think You Are? program. A three-minute preview at http://video.pbs.org/video/2365268752/ discloses 18 of the planned guests. They include Ben Affleck, Khandi Alexander, Angela Bassett, Ken Burns, Tom Colicchio, Anderson Cooper, Derek Jeeter, Ben Jellous, Billy Jean King, Carole King, Stephen King, Tony Kusher, Rebecca Lobo, Nas, Gloria Rueben, Aaron Sanchez, Anna Deavere Smith and Courtney Vance.
FamilySearch Additions for the Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, 4.9 million indexed records and images, can be found at https://www.familysearch.org/node/2550. This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Portugal, Switzerland and Venezuela. The only United States collection is an additional 27,000 World War I Draft Registration indexes.
The notable addition for Jewish family history research is more than 2.5 million indexed Costa Rica Civil Registration (1860–1975) records. Why Costa Rica and Jewish family history research? Because after World War II a number of Holocaust survivors fled to this country. The index shows 125 records for persons named Levy, almost all post-WWII records.
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