Gary Mokotoff, Editor
Volume 15, Number 34 | September 7, 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
Not very much to report this week.
Ellis Island Website Has New Look
EllisIsland.org has redesigned its website...for the worse. It is prettier than the previous design but significantly less usable. It is located at http://libertyellisfoundation.org. The first crisis you will encounter at the site is that you will have to log in all over again, even if trying to get the results from a search using the Morse site. This is because the URL for the site has changed from ellisisland.org to libertyellisfoundation.org so internal password saver systems will not recognize the new address. I was unable to login and, in frustration, just reregistered.
The old site presented perhaps 20 results at a time. The new site presents nine results in a single view in a very attractive manner. The fact is when searching for information, prettiness doesn’t count; easy access does. There are six options to narrow a search: Contains, Exact Matches, Close Matches, Sounds Like, Alternate Spelling, Last Name First. I could find no description of the definition of each search. The Sounds Like option appears to use the conventional American soundex system; Petersen produces “Peters” as a result demonstrating their Sounds Like system evaluates only the first four consonants.
The bottom line is that you should continue to use the Gold Form at the Stephen P. Morse site, http://stevemorse.org/ellis2/ellisgold.html. It is so powerful that I have had success by providing merely the first letter of a person’s name knowing such factors as age at time of arrival (or approximate year of birth), single/married, year of arrival ± one year. Unfortunately, to look at the ship’s manifest, the Morse site links to libertyellisfoundation.org and the new image viewer is distinctly inferior to the old one. The previous version showed a portion of the page with up/down and left/right sliders allowing you to view other portions. In the new system, gliding the mouse over the image provides a readable version of the document, but the gliding does not allow you to view all portions of the document. An up/down slider must also be used. If the ship’s manifest is post-1907, it is a two-page document. For $49.99, the Statue of Liberty / Ellis Island Foundation will make copies of the two pages. For $19.99, you can get a one-month subscription to Ancestry.com and print the pages from their version of the manifests.
Sites with a Potpourri of Information
There are a few Jewish-oriented genealogy sites that should be visited periodically, because they do not focus on a particular geographic area but instead provided a potpourri of information.
One such site is Marilyn Robinson’s blog http://yourJewishGem.blogspot.com. Recent additions to the blog include 1917–1918 Jews of Kiev: Those Who Died in Riots & Wars; Kamenetz Podolsk Gymnasium: Students Who Attended the JI Vladimir University Tarnow School Report; and 1736–2003 Saverne, Alsace (France) School Directors, Rabbis, etc. To the extreme right of the home page there is an every-word search engine that allows searching by surname, town name, etc. You can receive notice of recent additions by adding your e-mail address to the “Follow by E-Mail” box.
Logan Kleinwaks regularly adds directories and other books to his Genealogy Indexer site at http://genealogyindexer.org. Kleinwaks has optically scanned these books providing full-word indexing. Recent additions include 1932/1933 Lwow XII Gymnasium Report; 1911 Hungary Pharmacy Calendar; and Krakow District and Zaglembia Telephone Directory . You can subscribe to his weekly updates at http://genealogyindexer.org/news.
Canadian WWI Militia Lists Online
Canadiana is an organization that works to preserve Canada's documentary history and make it accessible online at http://canadiana.org. It has recently added militia lists of each unit of the Canadian Expeditionary Force as of August 1914 (the beginning of World War I). Each record lists the name of each member of the unit, rank, country of birth and date and place of enlistment. Some records also list next of kin and address. Those readers with Canadian heritage should browse their substantial collection of digitized documents from Canada’s early history to the 1940s.
China Creates Memorial to “Shanghai Jews”
During the 1930s and 1940 many Jews, mostly from Germany and Austria, fled to Shanghai, China, to escape persecution by the Nazi government. Now, a wall of names of Jewish refugees in Shanghai has been erected in the city. It identifies by name 13,732 Jews and stands on the site of a synagogue-turned-museum in the neighborhood where many Europeans lived. The wall includes a relief of six people meant to represent the estimated six million Jews killed in the Holocaust. A Wall Street Journal article about the wall is at http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2014/09/04/ shanghai-wall-pays-tribute-to-jewish-refugees-of-wwii.
MyHeritage CEO Featured In TV Documentary
MyHeritage founder and CEO, Gilad Japhet, is featured in a ten-minute documentary about his company’s pro bono work helping to discover heirs for unclaimed assets confiscated during WWII, returning looted art to its rightful owners and MyHeritage’s crowdsourcing project to digitally preserve the world's cemeteries with BillionGraves. It can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvPjrpse92o.
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