Gary Mokotoff, Editor
Volume 20, Number 23 | June 16, 2019
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.
Happy Father’s Day!!
Shoah Foundation to Index Lithuanian Testimonies
USC Shoah Foundation has recorded nearly 50 Lithuanian-language testimonies detailing atrocities against Jews during the Holocaust. The interviews have not been indexed due to the difficulty of finding Lithuanian speakers for the task at hand.
Thanks to a grant from the Kazickas Family Foundation, founded by Lithuanian-American businessman Juozas Kazickas, USC Shoah Foundation has hired and trained three Lithuanian-speaking indexers who have begun to delve into the testimonies. The indexing process essentially makes key moments of each testimony—which average about two hours in length—searchable.
In addition to paying for the indexing process, the grant also covers two additional initiatives in Lithuania:
• Bringing the Institute’s Visual History Archive of 55,000 testimonies of genocide witnesses to Lithuania in May by providing access at Vilnius University.
• Bringing Lithuanian testimonies into the classrooms of Lithuanian teens by sponsoring the creation of Lithuanian content in IWitness, USC Shoah Foundation’s no-cost educational website.
More than 90 percent of the country’s wartime Jewish population of 250,000 was murdered in the Holocaust.
The complete announcement can be found at https://tinyurl.com/ShoahFdnLithuania.
New York State Assembly May Consider Allowing Access to Birth Records of Adoptees
Reclaim the Records notes that there is a bill pending in the New York State Assembly that would allow adult adoptees, or the descendants of deceased adoptees, to gain access to original unredacted birth certificates starting in January 2020. The bill has already passed the State Senate by a vote of 56-6.
[Jan Meisels Allen confirmed today that the State Senate passed the bill. It can be read at https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2019/s3419.]
GenTeam Adds 630,000 Records
The Austrian site, GenTeam at http://www.GenTeam.eu, has added 630,000 new records bringing their total to 20 million records. Among the groups added are:
• Additions to Austro-Hungarian casualty lists 1914–1919. Now 1.55 million records.
• A new collection: Obituaries from Neues Wiener Tagblatt
• Vienna coroner records
• A number of Christian church registers
Access to records is free of charge.
Volunteers Sought for Summer Program in Western Ukraine
Jewish Heritage Europe reports that volunteers are sought for a weeklong summer program focused on the preservation of Jewish heritage in western Ukraine. The NGO SCI (Service Civil International) is seeking 17 volunteers for a Jewish heritage preservation “work camp” based in Lviv, August 13–19.
Volunteers will have opportunity to:
• learn more about Jewish history, culture, traditions, holidays etc.
• participate in the intercultural dialogue between German and Ukrainian participants
• meet local activists, authorities and decision makers involved in ethnical policies and heritage reservation
• participate in educational seminars and expeditions connected to the topic
• take part in creation of materials for local and regional media (articles, blogs etc.) and a short film about this camp
• visit beautiful, but yet undiscovered by mainstream tourists, spots of Western Ukraine
Additional information is at https://tinyurl.com/JHEUkraineVolunteers.
Who Do You Think You Are? (UK) Announces Eight New Episodes
The UK version of Who Do you Think You Are? has announced eight new episodes this summer to air on BBC-One. The personalities who will explore their family history include Naomie Harris, Sharon Osbourne, Paul Merton, Daniel Radcliffe, Katherine Ryan, Kate Winslet, Jack Whitehall and Mark Wright.
No specific air dates have been announced. Additional information can be found at https://tinyurl.com/WDYTYASummer2019.
Latest Prices for Autosomal DNA Testing
In recognition of Father’s Day, most DNA testing services are offering discounts. Here are their prices.
23andMe. $99. There is a $50 discount on their Health & Ancestry package.
Ancestry. $59. Expires June 17.
Family Tree DNA. $59. No indication of expiration date. Also discounts on paternal and maternal ancestry tests
MyHeritage. $69. No indication of expiration date.
FamilySearch Adds More Than 10 Million Records This Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, more than 10 million indexed records and images, can be found at https://tinyurl.com/FamilySearch061019. This site provides direct links to the individual collections. Those identified with a dagger (†) are Christian-only records. They include records from Spain, Bolivia(†), South Africa, Mexico, Russia(†), Peru, Sweden(†), and the United States, including Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, North Dakota, Texas, California and Virginia.
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.
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