Gary Mokotoff, Editor
Volume 16, Number 6 | February 8, 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
News from all over the world
(Underlined words are links to previous editions of Nu? What’s New?)
EU States “Right To Be Forgotten” Applies Worldwide
In 2010, Google tried to circumvent American copyright law in a class action suit settlement with the Authors Guild that stated Google had the right to place any copyrighted work on the Internet without the author’s permission. Instead, the author had to inform Google if s/he did not want the work placed on the Internet. Furthermore, the class action decision was interpreted by Google as affecting copyrights worldwide. Needless to say, some governments were upset by this interpretation. Australia said that no American lawsuit could be interpreted as affecting works copyrighted in Australia. France was less polite. The French government declared that they would ban Goolge.fr if any French copyrights were violated. The settlement was ultimately rejected by U.S. courts in 2012.
Now the shoe is on the other foot for France and other members of the European Union. The EU has forced Google to remove from its site any data about an individual who lives within the EU that is “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant” when requested by that person. But there is more. A Danish citizen sued in the EU Court that his “right to be forgotten” should expand the EU data protection privacy rules to search engines that operate outside the EU. The Court agreed “a company’s local subsidiary could be held liable for the activities of its parent.” Google is being fined $1,100 daily until the links are removed. The whole matter is explained in greater detail at
This means if a derogatory comment is made in the New York Times about a French citizen, Google would have to remove the reference to the person from its search engine.
In an editorial, the New York Times stated “...This would allow Europeans to decide what information citizens of every other nation can access....Countries have different standards for acceptable speech and for invasions of privacy. American libel laws, for example, are much more permissive than those in Britain.” The editorial can be read at http://tinyurl.com/NYTR2BForgottenEdit.
Thus far, Google has received 760,000 requests for link-removal and complied with 40% per Google’s latest Transparency Report which was updated on February 2, 2015
Shiddach (Marriage) Between FamilySearch and MyHeritage Bears More Fruit
In October, 2013, FamilySearch and MyHeritage entered a partnership where MyHeritage would provide FamilySearch with access to its powerful technologies and FamilySearch would share with MyHeritage billions of global historical records and family tree profiles spanning hundreds of years.
MyHeritage has just announced recent benefits to this marriage.
1) MyHeritage has added 900 million historical records provided by FamilySearch to its SuperSearch bringing the total number of records on MyHeritage to more than 6 billion.
2) MyHeritage has added to their website the family tree profiles submitted by more than 22 million FamilySearch users. This is in addition to the 27 million family tree profiles already on the MyHeritage website. This combines together two of the world’s three largest family tree collections (the other large collection is held by Ancestry.com).
Temporary Free Access to Ancestry.com New Zealand/UK Records
New Zealand. Until Monday, February 9, Ancestry.com is allowing free access to its New Zealand collection. The offer has been available since Friday, which was Waitangi Day, the day that commemorates the first signing of New Zealand’s founding document, the Treaty at Waitangi in 1840.
The offer also coincides with the availability of a new database of 1.6 million cemetery records which was digitized by Ancestry.com from the New Zealand Society of Genealogists New Zealand Cemetery Records 1800–2007. Each record typically contains name, birth date, death date, and cemetery name and plot location. It may also provide details about a spouse, cause of death, military dates, an epitaph, or even a description of the headstone.
Search more than 35 million New Zealand records at no charge until the deadline at http://www.ancestry.com.au/waitangi2015.
UK Records. Ancestry.com is offering free access to their entire UK collection until today’s end, Sunday, February 8. Access the records at http://www.ancestry.com/cs/free-access.
Adopt a Jewish Cemetery in Poland
The Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland (FODZ) has announces an “Adopt-a-Jewish-Cemetery-In-Poland” initiative to help save Jewish cemeteries in Poland. The foundation invites individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations who are interested in starting a commemoration project to partner with FODZ. Projects can be as small as designing and mounting a memorial plaque to remind visitors and locals that a particular site is a Jewish cemetery (even if no headstones exist there today) or as large as erecting a fence, gate, or elaborate lapidary-style memorial.
The Foundation states there are more than 1200 Jewish cemeteries in Poland. Most are in advanced states of neglect, without any markers, signs, fences, or even gravestones. Most are not protected, maintained, or easily accessible by visitors. In the last decade, FODZ has been active in 200 Jewish cemeteries in Poland, with work ranging from clean-up and repair initiatives, to elaborate fencing and gating projects, several of which culminated in re-dedication ceremonies covered by the media and attended by officials from the Polish government and Jewish descendants mostly from Israel and America. In 2013 and 2014, FODZ had projects in more than two dozen Jewish cemeteries.
Additional information about the project can be found at http://fodz.pl/?d=5&id=101&l=en.
I have not given much publicity to Genealogy Roadshow because I watched the premiere show last year and found it uninteresting. It was a clone of Antiques Roadshow, solving people problems in an instant with little background about how it was solved. I visited the show last week when the program aired from Philadelphia and found the show has developed a personality unto itself. There is now depth in many of the solved problems and they are presented in a historical background, indirectly giving genealogists who view the show thoughts as to where to look for records of their own ancestors.
Last week’s show was aired from New Orleans dealing mostly with people who had deep roots in that city. I found it interesting that one patron had ancestors named Toledano. Toledano can be a Sephardic surname indicating the individual may have had crypto-Jewish roots. The program did not explore the person’s Toledano line.
Kenyatta D. Berry, Joshua Taylor and Mary Tedesco do an excellent job as hosts. (Tedesco can be a crypto-Jewish surname.)
The program airs on the U.S. Public Broadcasting System (PBS) on Tuesday nights at 8pm Eastern Time. There are three more programs for the season. Previous programs can be viewed at http://www.pbs.org/genealogy-roadshow/home/.
Renewing Your Subscription to AVOTAYNU
The Winter issue of AVOTAYNU is in the mail. When you receive your copy, if the subscription is about to expire, there is a yellow renewal form included with the issue. There is a discount for resubscribing by the renewal date deadline. Select a one-, two- or three-year renewal by the deadline and participate in a contest whose prize is a copy of any book published by Avotaynu.
This year, for the first time, we are allowing U.S. subscribers to pay by credit card. Instructions for paying online or by mail are at the bottom of the sheet. People who are not subscribers can subscribe for the 2015 year at http://www.avotaynu.com/journal.htm.
FamilySearch Additions for the Week Include
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, 3.3 million indexed records and images, can be found at http://tinyurl.com/FamilySearch020815. This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from El Salvador and the U.S. states of Colorado, Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, North Dakota and Virginia. It includes an index to Boston passenger arrivals (1820–1891), but this is just before the period of the mass migration of Jews from Eastern Europe.
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.
UK National Archives Has Alien Registration Cards Online
The UK National Archives has an index to alien registration cards (1918–1957) at http://tinyurl.com/UKAlienRegistrationCards. If a successful search is performed, minimal information is provided. The actual document can be purchased from the Archives for £3.30. There was only one person named Levy in the collection. Also online is an index to naturalization case papers (1801–1870). For £3.30, a copy of the documents can be downloaded. In this collection there were 49 records for persons named Levy.
The Archives also has an excellent “Looking for a Person” page at http://tinyurl.com/LookingForAPerson. It identifies how to obtain records for UK residents whether at the National Archives; other archives; or online, including fee-for-service sites such as Ancestry.com and FindMyPast.com.
436,000 German Restitution Records Now Online
The February 3, 2013, edition of Nu? What’s New? reported that the Berlin State Archive (Landesarchiv Berlin) launched a project to create an online database for the records of the Berlin restitution offices. The Berlin restitution offices were in charge of resolving restitution claims in West Berlin on the basis of the Berlin Restitution Order of 1949. In 1957 the Federal Restitution Law included also property confiscated or acquired by the Reich, the NSDAP, and the state of Prussia or other Nazi institutions. This database now contains more than 436,000 records. It can be searched in English at http://wga-datenbank.de/en/search.html. It was originally stated that diacritic marks are a requirement; however, searching now for Handel and Händel produced the same results.
Design Poster for Annual IAJGS International Jewish Genealogy Month
Are you artistically inclined? The IAJGS International Jewish Genealogy Month (IJGM) Poster Competition started on Tu B'Shevat, (February 3 & 4, 2015) which, appropriately, is the Jewish New Year for Trees.
Jewish Genealogy Month itself is run every year during the Jewish month of Cheshvan, which this year corresponds from October 14 to November 12, 2015. To help celebrate and promote IJGM, the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) holds an annual competition for a poster to be used by organizations and individuals to promote IJGM and any individual activities that they run during his period.
Full details of the competition requirements and rules are to be found at http://www.iajgs.org/blog/ijgm/poster-competition.
Jewish Genealogy Month was created by Avotaynu in 1999 and taken over by IAJGS in 2007. Previous posters that celebrated the event can be found at http://www.iajgs.org/blog/ijgm/previous-winners.
New Society: Twin Cities Jewish Genealogical Society
A new Jewish genealogical society has been formed in the Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota, area called the Twin Cities Jewish Genealogical Society. It is holding its inaugural meeting today, February 8 at 3:15 PM at the St. Paul JCC, 1375 St. Paul Ave, St. Paul, Minnesota. Contact Walter Elias, TCJGS President, at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
A list of all Jewish Genealogical Societies that are members of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies can be found at http://www.iajgs.org/blog/membership/ member-societies.
A VPN Service That Is Free of Charge
In the last edition of Nu? What’s New? I described a VPN service that allows you to access websites usually limited to country of origin that costs $39.95 per year. Naomi Barnett of Melbourne, Australia, notes she uses http://hola.org/ which is available at no charge.
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