Gary Mokotoff, Editor
Volume 16, Number 10 | March 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
Underlined words are links to sites with additional information.
Australia May Replace Complete Census with Sampling
Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee, reports that Australia may replace its census with a smaller sample survey to cut costs. Australia has had a census every five years since 1911. In 2011, it cost $440 million, and the 2016 census is expected to be more expensive because of changes in information technology. The Bureau of Statistics needs several hundred million to update its aging technology systems. A video about the subject plus additional information can be seen at http://tinyurl.com/AustraliaCensus.
Conference Update – Winners of First Drawing
The 35th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy is to be held in Jerusalem from July 6-10, 2015. Israel is an incredible place to visit as a tourist. On Sunday, July 5, 2015, the conference planners are offering “Exploration Sunday,” a variety of research and touring options. Prices will range from $45 to $100 depending on itinerary. All tours are in English. Tours include Yad Vashem; The Central Archives of the History of the Jewish People and the National Library of Israel; Central Archives of the History of the Jewish People; Central Zionist Archives and the Old Yishuv Court Museum; Ghetto Fighter’s House Museum and the Illegal Immigrants Detention Camp in Atlit; Old City of Jerusalem; New City of Jerusalem; Latrun and Mini-Israel; Caesaria, Zichron Ya’akov and Ein Hod; Palmach Museum and Tel Aviv walking tour; Weizmann Institute, Rishon Le-Zion Aliyah Museum, Museum of Babylonian Jewry; Eretz Israel Museum and Jaffa; Dig For a Day; Masada and Dead Sea area.
Winners of the February 15 drawing won two nights’ accommodation at the Ramada Hotel, a ticket to a SIG luncheon and a ticket to the closing banquet. The three winners were from Australia, UK and the U.S. The next drawing will be March 15. All persons registered for the conference by that date will participate. Other prizes include hotel accommodations, free registration to “Exploration Sunday,” MyHeritage.com subscriptions, Ancestry.com subscriptions, touring, expert assistance to locate your Israeli family, and more.
The conference website is at http://iajgs2015.org.
EU “Right To Be Forgotten Law” Faces Opposition
The European Union’s right to be forgotten and right to be erased provisions which would allow European Union citizens to request erasure of their mention in such places as Google, is now receiving opposition from some government officials. A digital rights activist claims the regulation “is now at risk of becoming an empty shell.” He said member states are “undermining the meaning of every article, every paragraph, almost every single comma and full stop in the original proposal.”
Who is undermining the proposal: Big business and the governments themselves who find that the proposals are a detriment to their operation.
You can read the complete report at https://euobserver.com/justice/127856. Jan Meisels Allen has a continuous report of the controversy at the IAJGS Records Access Alert archives: http://lists.iajgs.org/mailman/private/records-access-alerts. You must be a registered subscriber to access the archives. To register go to http://lists.iajgs.org/mailman/listinfo/records-access-alerts.
FindMyPast Offering Free Access Until Monday
FindMyPast is offering free access to their collection of more two billion records until 7am on Monday, March 9th ET. My personal experience is that much of the U.S. records can be found on other sites—at no charge on FamilySearch—but FindMyPast is particularly strong in records from Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and the UK. The announcement can be found at http://findmypast.com/freeweekend.
Once Again: Deadline for Renewal of AVOTAYNU
Deadline for receiving the discount renewal for AVOTAYNU and participating in the drawing for a free copy of any book published by AVOTAYNU was extended to March 8 (today) for U.S. subscribers and March 15 for others. We received reports from some U.S. subscribers that they received their copies just recently, even though the issue was mailed three weeks ago. Persons can also pay by check and receive the discount offer. Renew at http://avotaynu.com/Renew.htm.
Family History Daily Identifies 50 Free Genealogy Sites
Family History Daily has identified 50 genealogy sites that provide information at no charge. There is a brief description of each site. For example, Chronicling America, which has been mentioned in previous editions of Nu? What’s New?, is a database of archived U.S. newspapers at the Library of Congress website. Many on the list are known to Jewish genealogists such as JewishGen, Litvak SIG, BillionGraves and FamilySearch itself. The list is at http://familyhistorydaily.com/genealogy-resources/50-free-genealogy-sites.
Plan to Reconstruct a Wooden Synagogue in Poland
The Museum of Folk Architecture in Sanok, Poland, plans to add another building in the replica of a pre-war town already on display in the museum which includes, among others, the Catholic and the Orthodox churches, district authorities’ headquarters, shops and workshops. The new structure will be a replica of the 17th century synagogue from Polaniec. Traditional materials and technologies will be used. The currently laid underpinning is made of broken sandstone without mortar. To reconstruct the synagogue about 150 cubic meters of fir wood will be needed. Additional information is available at http://tinyurl.com/PolaniecWoodenSynagogue.
Overview of MyHeritage Products
Sometimes it is hard to understand what, in general, is available at a genealogy website. MyHeritage Chief Genealogist, Daniel Horowitz, gave a lecture about his company’s products at the recently completed RootsTech conference and an abstract of it was placed on the FamilySearch blog.
Horowitz highlighted the following MyHeritage features:
• 1.7 Billion records
• 27 Million trees
• 75 million users
• 200 Million pictures
• Record collections from 35 countries
• Information accessible in 40 languages
• Smart Matches™ suggest connections to relatives and shared ancestors with easy communication tools to get in touch with other MyHeritage users
• You get to decide who sees your tree
• International dictionary of names
• Use of “fuzzy” comparisons rather than soundex matching that most other sites use which usually eliminate many international spellings of names.
• Country flags show up in search results
You can read the article on the blog at http://tinyurl.com/MyHeritageOverview.
EHRI Offers Online Holocaust Studies Courses
European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI) is offering online Holocaust studies courses. Current programs are:
• Ghettos under Nazi Rule
• The Nazi Camps and the Persecution and Murder of the Jews
• The Holocaust in Ukraine
• Persecution in Western Europe
• The Germans and the Holocaust
Additional courses are planned. Information can be found at http://www.ehri-project.eu/ehri-online-course-holocaust-studies-goes-live.
“Holocaust by Bullets” Exhibit in Los Angeles Until March 15
For those who live in the Los Angeles area, the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust has an exhibit “Holocaust By Bullets: Yahad - In Unum, 10 Years of Investigations” through March 15. It features ten years of field investigations in the former Soviet Union by Yahad - In Unum, the organization founded by French Catholic priest Father Patrick Desbois. The exhibit enables the visitor to uncover, step by step, the crime committed by the Nazi killing units known as the Einsatzgruppen, who went from village to village in the occupied Soviet Union and rounded up Jews, gypsies, and Soviet commissars and murdered them person by person, bullet by bullet. Known as the “Holocaust by Bullets,” the systematic killing of all Jews started before the creation of concentration camps and continued until towards the end of WWII—1942 to 1944.
A more detailed description of the exhibit can be found at http://www.lamoth.org/exhibitions/temporary-exhibits/holocaust-by-bullets.
More About Rabbi Israel Porush
The last issue of Nu? What’s New? described Israel Porush as the late Chief Rabbi of Australia. Chaim Freedman of Israel, who was born in Australia, notes that Australia never had a Chief Rabbi nor did any of its capital cities have a Chief Rabbi. Freedman states that Rabbi Porush was the Chief Minister of the Great Synagogue in Sydney and Av Beit Din of the Sydney Beth Din.
Switched at Birth
There is a fascinating human interest story about a genealogist who took a DNA test and found her profile in no way described her parents’ ancestry. Intensive research was able to determine she was switched at birth.
As the lead of the article states: “Three years ago I blithely took a DNA test at AncestryDNA. At the time, the fact that it was in beta, somewhat alleviated my concern when I first saw my results. I was three quarters Irish with the remainder being a English/Scottish mix, but the test claimed I was half Jewish. It was as if half my ancestry was wrong. The results had to be wrong! I was expecting to see Mc and Mac relatives, but the names were overwhelming Eastern European, Russian, and Jewish. I can assure you, they weren't any of my relatives, or were they?”
The article is at http://www.yourgeneticgenealogist.com/2015/02/switched-at-birth-unravelling- century_27.html.
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