Gary Mokotoff, Editor
Volume 16, Number 1 | January 4, 2015
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
Maps of Litvak Jewry
If you are of Litvak (Lithuania Jewish) ancestry, Dovid Katz, a Yiddish scholar and cultural historian of Lithuanian Jewry, has an interesting website at http://dovidkatz.net. Much of what he shows requires knowledge of the Yiddish language, but his map collection should be of interest to all, including non-Litvaks. It is located at http://www.dovidkatz.net/WebAtlas/AtlasSamples.htm.
Just a few examples are “Map of the Lithuanian Jewish Communities: Links to Their Holocaust Fate.” at http://www.dovidkatz.net/dovid/Lithuania/Holocaust/LT-Holocaust-small.html and “The Classic Litvak Territory” at http://www.dovidkatz.net/WebAtlas/0_Lite_A2.htm.
There are many maps that show the different pronunciations of the same word in the various regions of Lithuania. For example, the 18 ways hamentashen (the three-cornered pastry eaten on Purim) was pronounced.
JRI-Poland Now Links to Site With 200,000 Gravestones
Jewish Records Indexing – Poland (JRI-Poland) now links to the database of the Foundation for Documentation of Jewish Cemeteries in Poland (FDJC). The FJDC database contains more than 200,000 gravestones from 81 towns.
A JRI-Poland search
The JRI-Poland site provides important additional features when accessing the FDJC database, features not available at the FDJC site. Instead of just surnames, it is now possible to search by surname, given name or by year ranges.
A full list of cemeteries now included in the database is at http://cemetery.jewish.org.pl/list/.
JOWBR Now Has 2.37 Million Records
The New Year is a time when major databases announce their accomplishments for the previous year. JOWBR, the JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry, announced that they have just added more than 102,000 new records and 45,200 new photos. The update brings JOWBR's holdings to 2.37 million records from more than 4,900 cemeteries and cemetery sections representing 104 countries. This update includes the first records from 19 new countries, many for veteran burials: Angola, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Colombia, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Ghana, Iceland, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malawi, Monaco, Mongolia, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, and Uzbekistan.
JOWBR is located at http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/Cemetery/. How to volunteer data for the project can be found at http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/Cemetery/Submit.htm.
JewishGen Memorial Plaques Project
A recent update to the JewishGen Memorial Plaques Project adds approximately 15,000 new records and 11,000 new photos from 20 synagogues/organizations. The database now includes more than 75,500 records from the US, Israel Canada and Morocco. These records come from 111 different synagogues and other institutions.
The project’s database can be accessed at http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/Memorial/.
Family History Library Announces Online Classes
The Family History Library has announced its online classes for January-April 2015. Examples are 26 “German Research: The Hamburg Passenger Lists” on February 26, “Solving Tough Research Problems” on March 12 and “Document Analysis on March 26.” Information about all classes can be found at https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Family_History_Library#
Database of Prisoners of War During WWI
Israel Pickholz notes that the International Committee of the Red Cross has an online database of persons who were prisoners of war during World War I. They are images of index cards for each individual. The database is organized by nationality. If there are no results for the name search, the closest name is displayed and it is then possible to browse the collection from that point forward.
The website is at http://grandeguerre.icrc.org/.
An Unusual Tombstone
Sadly, my uncle (mother’s brother) died this past Sunday. At the burial, I did what many genealogists do; I looked at the tombstones in the immediate area. This benefited me one time. Some years ago, at my wife’s aunt’s burial, I noticed a set of graves with a family name I was researching. It was a previously unidentified branch of the family and included five tombstones from which I was able to gather information.
In this past week’s case, what I discovered was a very unusual tombstone. The person buried near my uncle had a very unusual Hebrew name: Shimon bar Shimon, implying he was named after his father. His father must have died when his mother was pregnant with him.
More About Website of Illegal Immigrants to Israel
In the last issue of Nu? What’s New?, I noted a list of illegal immigrants (Ma’apilim) to Eretz Yisrael during the British Mandate period is online at http://en.maapilim.org.il. I noted there were problems in using the site. I have been informed the site is still in Beta testing and problems that were encountered should be resolved by the time it is officially announced.
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