Gary Mokotoff, EditorVolume 17, Number 12 | March 27, 2016
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.
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Bathsheba vs. Goliath
Recent letters and phone calls from Brooke Schreier Ganz and her attorney to the City Clerk’s Office requesting a copy of the Index to New York City Marriage Records (1930–2015) under the New York States Freedom of Information Law have gone unanswered. So March 16, Ganz and her organization filed a petition in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York (Manhattan) and served the New York City Clerk's Office with the papers the next day. The first court date is scheduled for April 7. You can read about this latest attempt by Ganz to get vital record documents under Freedom of Information Laws at http://tinyurl.com/BSGanz2.
Ganz first project, access to the Index to New York City Marriage Applications, Affidavits, and Licenses (1908–1929) held by the City Municipal Archives received similar opposition, and she had to take the organization to court where she won her case. She now owns microfilm copies of the records.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Ganz has already identified five more record groups to be made available to the public:
• Index to New York State Deaths (Outside of New York City), 1880–1956. A FOIL request was submitted on January 3.
• New York City Birth Certificates, 1910–1915
• New Jersey Birth, Marriage, and Death Indices, 1901–1903 and 1901–1914. With cooperation from the New Jersey State Archives, she has received the microfilmed indices to approximately 445,000 vital records—births, marriages, and deaths—from the state of New Jersey.
• Missouri birth index, 1910–2015
• Missouri death index, 1910–2015
More detailed descriptions of theses projects can be found at https://www.reclaimtherecords.org/records-request.
46-Minute Slide Presentation About Annual Conference Online
Chuck Weinstein, conference co-chair of the 36th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, recently gave a webinar to members of the Israel Genealogical Research Association (IGRA). It is a 46-minute slide presentation that Weinstein gave from New York to the association’s members who live primarily in Israel. The webinar, a slide presentation, is located on the conference’s home page http://www.iajgs2016.org. It gives an overview of what one can expect at the planned conference.
France's Data Protection Regulator Sues Google For Not
Applying Right to Be Forgotten on All Domain Names
Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee, reports that the French Data Protection Agency, CNIL, has fined Google €100,000 because Google did not remove the link from all of its websites, including those located outside of Europe and including Google.com in the United States. Meisels Allen reports that the decision by the CNIL President said the different geographical extensions, i.e..ca, .com, .es. .fr .uk etc. are not considered separate treatments but a service adopted to the national language of each country. Google maintained that the ruling should only be applied across its European domains, such as Google.fr in France and Google.de in Germany.
Earlier this month Google began filtering search results according to a user's IP address, meaning people accessing Google from outside Europe will not be affected.
An announcement of the CNIL decision can be found at http://tinyurl.com/ReutersR2BFL. Google said they will appeal the decision.
Announce First International Conference on Founder Populations
The First International Conference on Founder Populations and Their Contribution
to Our Understanding of Biology and History – Lessons from the Jewish Genome will take place on July 10–14 in Haifa, Israel.
This conference aims to evaluate the contribution made by studying one of the most significant founder populations in the world, the Jewish community, and how this has promoted knowledge of disease biology and specific genetic pathways. In addition it will explore how these studies advance our understanding of the historical movements of populations in ancient times and the social and ethical context of genomic studies in a unique population.
The conference will include sessions on population genetics, translating the genetic findings on populations into historical parallels of movements of Middle-Eastern populations, Jewish genealogy, and genetic syndromes and genetic mutations (cancer, pediatrics, and others) that are unique to Jewish and Middle-Eastern populations. It will also provide a forum for discussions on ethical and social aspects of population-specific studies, including the role and value of genetic screening in founder populations.
Information is at http://www.foundergenomics.com/.
U.S. National Archives Wants More Open Government
In accordance with Archivist David Ferriero’s plan of Open Government, the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to participate in developing NARA’s Open Government Plan for 2016-2018.
NARA will be holding a webinar on open government, March 29 at 2pm Eastern Time. NARA staff will discuss the Open Government Plan and initiatives. There will be an opportunity to share ideas, suggestions and provide feedback. Participants are invited to share their questions in advance and during the webinar. To do so, go to the History Hub at http://tinyurl.com/OpenGvtWebinar. As researchers, you may have ideas on how to improve the researcher experience or provide suggestions for increasing collaboration, encouraging public participation or how the Agency can provide greater transparency.
To register go to http://tinyurl.com/OpenGvtRegister. The webinar login is: http://ems7.intellor.com/login/703482. The agenda is:
• Introduction by David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States
• Open Government Plan Process
• Research Services
• Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
• Records Management
• Ideas, Comments, and Suggestions
NARA is also asking citizens to participate in establishing their Open Government Plan for 2016-2018 by submitting ideas by April 15, 2016:
• on History Hub at https://historyhub.archives.gov/community/open-government
• in comments on their blog http://tinyurl.com/NARAShareIdeas
• or email firstname.lastname@example.org
NARA notes that protecting the privacy of both our customers and the public is of paramount interest to the National Archives. While the Privacy Act does not apply to NARA’s archival holdings, NARA does screen archival records for personal privacy information of living individuals and takes privacy considerations into account when prioritizing records for digitization.
Additional information is at http://tinyurl.com/NARAShareIdeas.
ITS Redesigns Its Website
The International Tracing Service website has a new, brighter look. The organization states that a priority in modernizing the site was to simplify the procedure for contacting ITS. The new, clearly structured inquiry form is available in German, English, French, Russian, and now in Polish. Removing this language barrier was important, they stated, as there are increasing numbers of inquiries coming to ITS from Poland; in 2015 more than from the United States or from the Russian Federation.
Additionally, the website has been optimized for smart phones and tablets, making it practical for mobile use. The ITS site is http://www.its-arolsen.org. The news announcement is at http://tinyurl.com/ITSNewLook.
Disruptions in Access to Collections at USHMM
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is moving its historical collections and institutional records to a new collections facility and conservation center. There will be disruptions in access to some collections from September 2016 until May 2017 as they pack and move to the new building. The move will not affect access to the Library reading room, materials on microfilm or any digitized collections. If you intend to conduct research in Museum collections during this period, check for more information at https://collections.ushmm.org/search.
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