Gary Mokotoff, Editor
Volume 19, Number 27 | July 8, 2018
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.
Yad Vashem Comments on Polish Complicity in the Holocaust
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Polish counterpart, Mateusz Morawiecki, issued a joint statement that acknowledges collaboration by some Poles during the Holocaust and the rescue of Jews by others. It also states that during the Holocaust, “unfortunately, the sad fact is that some people—regardless of their origin, religion or worldview—revealed their darkest side.”
Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center located in Jerusalem, has responded with a declaration that the joint statement by Israel and Poland on the genocide contained “grave errors and deceptions.” They stated that beyond the “outrageous insinuation that Jews also revealed ‘their darkest side at that time,’” the Poles who revealed it “were not devoid of identity.”
Yad Vashem’s complete statement can be found at https://www.yadvashem.org/press-release/ 05-july-2018-07-34.html.
Reclaim the Records Sues New York State Department of Health
Reclaim the Records (RTR) has launched a Freedom of Information law suit against the New York State Department of Health “to find out why they treated our Freedom of Information request for the New York State Death Index so differently from how they treated the verbatim request from Ancestry.com, a large for-profit genealogy company.” The suit claims that Ancestry filed a request for the identical records more than a year after our own request but received their copies of the records first. Furthermore, the lawsuit claims, Ancestry did not appear to have been constrained by any of the same requirements as RTR’s request.
Additional information can be found at https://www.reclaimtherecords.org/about/activism/ (“Fighting Against Government Backroom Dealing and Preferential Treatment”).
Knowledge of Family History Is Good for Your Kids
The Forward recently published an opinion column that refers to a study by two psychologists that determined, “The more children knew about the previous generations of their family, the higher their self-esteem and basically, the happier they were…By telling our children and grandchildren about their cultural heritage, we are not only teaching them where they came from but we’re also developing a more positive attitude to life. Those family stories apparently make them feel that they aren’t alone in the world, but rather a link in a large family unit going way back, and an even larger unit: the Jewish people.”
The column can be found at https://forward.com/opinion/404668/ do-your-kids-and-grandkids-know-their-family-history/.
Warsaw Conference On-Demand Now Available
If you can’t make it to the Warsaw conference, you can view many of the presentations, 40 in all, by purchasing the ON-DEMAND! package now available. In past years, the sessions were streamed live (i.e., as the lectures were being given). Because of the time-zone difference this year (and because of issues with getting adequate internet bandwidth at the conference venue), this year, the video will not become available until shortly after the conference is over.
On the other hand, while in past years the videos were available for only three months, this year you will have until July 2019—nearly a full year—in which to view them. When the videos become available, you will be sent instructions and a password for accessing them.
Additional information is at http://s4.goeshow.com/iajgs/annual/2018/on-demand_about.cfm.
Alexander Avram Wins IIJG’s Chava Agmon Prize for Jewish Genealogy
The International Institute for Jewish Genealogy has announced that Dr. Alexander Avram has been awarded the 2018 Chava Agmon Prize, which is given for unpublished research that expands the horizons of Jewish genealogy. It carries with it a purse of $1,500.
Dr. Avram’s study is entitled “Historical Implications of Jewish Surnames in the Old Kingdom of Romania.” For it, he assembled and analyzed a database of more than 28,000 surnames, including phonetic and graphic variants used by Jews in Romanian-speaking lands from the 16th century until the end of WWII in Romania (1944). 91% of the surnames are of German-Yiddish or Slavic origin. 8% are Romanian and Romanized surnames and these constitute the central focus of the study.
Among other things, Dr. Avram examined the historical development of the names, geographical patterns and ways in which they reflect the Jews’ interactions with their surroundings. The resultant dictionary of Romanian and Romanized surnames, expected to be published with the study in 2019, will be a valuable work-tool for Jewish genealogists and family historians.
Dr. Avram has been Director of the Hall of Names at Yad Vashem since 1988, and Director of its Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names since 2000. The official presentation of the prize will be made during the IIJG session at the IAJGS Conference in Warsaw this August.
The IIJG website is at http://iijg.org.
UK General Register Office to Offer Online Birth and Death Records Indefinitely
The UK General Register Office pilot project to offer online birth and death records has been a success and now the service has been extended indefinitely. Applications for PDFs cost £6, must be made online, and include a GRO index reference. England and Wales records available include births (1837–1917) and deaths (1837–1957).
The PDF document is not a certificate and has no “evidential” value; therefore, a paper certified copy [certificate] is required for official purposes, e.g. applying for a passport, driving license or where required to give notice of marriage. Ordering information is at https://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/default.asp.
Compendium of Jewish Genealogy Now Has More Than 25,000 Links
Philip Trauring, creator of the “Compendium of Jewish Genealogy” (formerly Encyclopedia of Jewish Genealogy) has announced his website now has 25,000 links. The links involve more than 200 countries and territories and more than 1,350 towns in Poland.
The site divides resources into seven primary categories: History, Genealogy, Cemeteries, Holocaust, Diaspora, Contemporary and Books. For towns in Poland, there is an additional General category that links to the town's website and the Wikipedia article(s) about the town. As an example, the Mokotow family’s ancestral town, Warka, Poland, has 14 links to sites with information.
The Compendium can be found at https://bloodandfrogs.com/compendium/. The list of Polish towns, with links, is at https://bloodandfrogs.com/compendium/poland/cities.
130,000 Lodz Registration Cards Now Online
In anticipation of the 2018 IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Warsaw, the Lodz Registration Extraction Team has announced the addition of 20,000 Jewish names now available on the JRI-Poland website at http://jri-poland.org/. This information was extracted from the Lodz Registration Cards 1916–1921.
To date, the total number of names and families identified and indexed is 130,000. The Lodz Registration Card Project continues with 58% of the project completed.
FamilySearch Adds Nearly 5 Million Records This Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, nearly 5 million indexed records and images, can be found at https://tinyurl.com/FamilySearch070218. This site provides direct links to the individual collections. Those identified with a dagger (†) are Christian-only records. They include records from Australia, Billion Graves, Canada, Chile, Colombia(†), Find A Grave, France, Germany(†), Italy, New Zealand, Slovakia, Uruguay and the U.S. states of Arkansas, District of Columbia, Georgia, Maine, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas.
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.
MyHeritage Provides Free Access to Newspapers Collection
Today, July 8, is the last day MyHeritage is providing free access to all 23,385,114 U.S. newspaper records. No data subscription is required. The collection can be found at https://www.myheritage.com/research/category-8000/newspapers.
Ancestry UK Offering Free Access to UK/Irish Records Through July 10
Ancestry UK is offering free access to their UK and Irish records through July 10. Gain access at https://www.ancestry.co.uk/cs/free-access.
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