Gary Mokotoff, Editor
Volume 15, Number 31 | August 17, 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
Google Has Photographs and Street Views of European Towns
You can now visit your ancestral town, virtually, using the Google map feature. Google now has contemporary photographs and street views of many towns of the world including those of Central and Eastern Europe. Even the smallest towns are represented. Using the Google maps feature at https://www.google.com/maps/preview?hl=en, I discovered photographs and street views of the town of Przedecz, Poland, (population 1,171 according to Wikipedia) and photographs of Cronheim, Germany (population 500). All ancestral towns of the Mokotow family had photographs and some had street views. There are also contemporary images of concentration/extermination sites using Google maps. This includes Auschwitz, Majdanek and Treblinka, to name a few.
Photographs are just that: still images of some scene in the town. Street Views allow you to cruise up and down the streets of the town where Google has taken moving films.
I took a virtual tour of the Mokotow family ancestral town of Warka, Poland, by opening up two windows; one contained a Google road map of the town and in the other I opened the street view. The opening scene indicated I was viewing Grojecka Street in Warka. I located it on the map in the other window, made a U-turn and proceeded down to its end and made a left turn onto Dluga Street. I thought I took Dluga Street to its end but suddenly found myself on Franciszkanska Street, where my great-great-great-grandfather lived according to the information he provided on the death record of his father in 1810. At this point, I abandoned my tour, because I had to work on this issue of Nu? What’s New?.
For those unfamiliar with the Street View feature of Google Maps, find your ancestral town by searching for it at https://www.google.com/maps/preview?hl=en. If the results include “Street View” in the upper left corner, click on the image in the Street View box. This will open an image of a street in the town. The street’s name is identified just below the town name in the upper left corner. Holding the left mouse key down, drag the image to the right or left. This will give you the ability to rotate the image in either direction. Then, with the image pointed down the middle of the street, place your mouse on the street and an oval will appear with an arrow in its middle. Click on the oval and the image will move down the street. Continue this procedure to advance down the street. At an intersection, if Google has included the intersecting street in Street View, point to the intersecting street and Street View will now turn to follow the new street.
Summer Issue of AVOTAYNU
The Summer issue of AVOTAYNU will go to the printer this week. It is the usual size: 68 pages. The lead article is by IAJGS president and JewishGen Board of Governors member, Marlis Humphrey, who set aside her busy schedule to write about her professional specialty, publishing in this electronic age. The title of her article is “Latest Trends in Publishing for Genealogists.” Family Tree DNA president, Bennett Greenspan, allowed us to create a print version of his lecture that was presented at the recently concluded conference on Jewish genealogy about “Genetic Genealogy: History and Current Issues.” Karesz Vandor of Budapest has written about “Hungarian Jewish Genealogy: Historical Background and Resources.”
All told, there are 13 articles, two book reviews, plus the usual information columns: From Our Contributing Editors, U.S. Update, Ask the Experts and From Our Mailbox. The front page (Table of Contents) can be found at http://avotaynu.com/2014SummerPage01.pdf. You can subscribe to AVOTAYNU at http://www.avotaynu.com/journal.htm.
FamilySearch Additions for the Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, 5.1 million indexed records and images, can be found at https://www.familysearch.org/node/2566. This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Brazil, New Zealand and the U.S. states of Mississippi, New York and Montana. Also there is an update of 576,000 records to the BillionGraves Index.
Most additions are potentially valuable for Jewish family history research. They include Brazilian Immigration Cards and 3.5 million index records to New York Passenger Arrivals 1820–1891.
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.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Has Webinars
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has a number of webinars of value to family history research. They include:
• History Library Catalog and Services. A 30-minute webinar introduces the USCIS History Library Program and online catalog, and familiarizes attendees with the collection of public historical materials, catalog content and search interface, services for the public, and how/where to get help/more information. It will next be given on September 4.
• Guide to I&N History Research. A bi-monthly webinar delivered by the USCIS Historian covering available historical records, useful finding aids, and procedures for requesting records at the National Archives or from USCIS via Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act. It will next be given on August 28.
• “Records Found” Case Studies. A bi-monthly “teaching with documents” webinar presenting selected documents from among those processed by the USCIS Genealogy Program or found among agency records at the National Archives or online. It will be next given on September 25.
Additional information is at http://tinyurl.com/CISWebinars.
AJDC to Hold Special Film of Its History in New York
If you live in the New York City area, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee will be holding a special film viewing of rare archival footage from its century of work helping Jews in trouble worldwide. It will be held at the Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th St, on September 8 from 4–6pm. The filming is the conclusion of a two-day conference of scholars from around the world whose research focuses on AJDC’s history. Excerpts of the film can be seen at http://tinyurl.com/AJDCFilm. AJDC is considering placing larger portions on the Internet.
Riverside Cemetery (New Jersey) Removes Online Database
Alex Friedlander has informed me that Riverside Cemetery in Saddle Brook, New Jersey, has removed its online database of burials. Nine other New York area cemeteries still maintain online databases. They are:
Mount Ararat Cemetery
Mount Carmel Cemetery
Mount Hebron Cemetery
Montefiore Cemetery (Queens County)
Mount Moriah Cemetery, Fairview, New Jersey
New Montefiore Cemetery (Suffolk County)
Mount Zion Cemetery
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