Gary Mokotoff, Editor
Volume 20, Number 43 | November 10, 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.
GEDmatch Issued Search Warrant Causing Concern Among DNA Testers
GEDmatch is a website where you can place the results of your DNA test and receive matches or near matches contributed by other participants. It eliminates the need to have your DNA tested at multiple services if other participants join GEDmatch.
The website received worldwide publicity some months ago when a law enforcement agency used GEDmatch to solve a decades-old murder case. Since then other law enforcement agencies are using the site in attempt to solve crimes. This caused GEDmatch to allow its users to opt out of using the website by law enforcement agencies.
Now GEDmatch has been served by a search warrant which gives the law enforcement agency the right to search ALL contributions to GEDmatch, and the site complied. This has created a backlash from some DNA services that complained GEDmatch should have challenged the search warrant in court.
For example, Ancestry stated, “GEDmatch could have done more to protect the privacy of its users, by pushing back on the warrant or even challenging it in court. Their failure to do so is highly irresponsible, and deeply concerning to all of us here at Ancestry. GEDmatch’s actions stand in stark contrast to our values and commitment to our customers.”
Ancestry, 23andme and Helix have formed a “Coalition for Data Protection” which has a website at https://geneticdataprotection.com/. At the site is a 21-page paper titled “Privacy Best Practices for Consumer Genetic Testing Services.” It can be found at https://tinyurl.com/CoalitionPractices.
The 23andme position on the search warrant can be found at https://blog.23andme.com/news/our-stance-on-protecting-customers-data/. The Ancestry position can be found at https://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/. The Helix position is at https://www.helix.com/pages/privacy-and-policy-highlights.
Your DNA Results May Help Others to Find Missing Relatives
The news media is full of success stories about people finding missing relatives through DNA matching. One of them caught my eye because of a statement made in the news article.
“Stanley Diamond, one of the pre-eminent Jewish family genealogists in the world, has long urged all Jews, especially those of Ashkenazic descent, to get their DNA tested.
“The reason is not only to satisfy their own curiosity about their family roots, but because the information could be crucial to the many people who are trying to recover their Jewish identity or find relatives who were lost in the Holocaust. These are often Jewish children who were hidden or adopted by non-Jewish families during the Second World War.”
As DNA testing becomes popular in Central and Eastern European countries, anticipate that some people will find out to their amazement that they are Jewish, and therefore, not related to their parents. Such is the story of Zbyszek Siwiński of Bialystok whose story was documented by Tomasz Wisniewski at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WaK-AecP_MU&feature=youtu.be.
Sites Offer Free Access for Veterans/Armistice Day Period
Some fee-for-service websites are allowing access to their databases during the Veterans/Armistice Day (November 11) period.
American Ancestors. Free access to their 1.4B names covering 18 countries from November 12–19. This is all records; not just military records.
Ancestry. Free access to its 260M U.S. military records through November 17.
Ancestry.ca. Free access to its Canadian World War I records through November 11.
Ancestry.uk. Free access to all United Kingdom for World War l and World War ll records.
Findmypast. Free access to all records through November 11. Excludes all newspapers, Periodical Source Index (PERSI) and UK Electoral Registers & Companies House Directors 2002–2019.
About FamilySearch Digital Library
Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter (EOGN) notes that FamilySearch is actively digitizing its family histories, local histories, and other collections to make them searchable and available online to researchers worldwide. The FamilySearch Digital Library offers a collection of more than 440,000 digitized genealogy and family history books and publications. Here, you can dive into family histories, county and local histories, genealogy magazines, gazetteers, and even medieval histories and pedigrees.
EOGN indicates that digitization is also taking place at other major genealogy libraries, including:
• Allen County Public Library (ACPL) Genealogy Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana
• Arizona State Library
• Southern History Department of the Birmingham (Alabama) Public Library
• BYU (Brigham Young University Family History Library
• Houston Public Library
• Dallas Public Library Genealogy & History Division
• Historical Society of Pennsylvania
• Midwest Genealogy Center of Mid-Continent Public Library (MGC
• Onondaga (New York) County Public Library specializing in the history of Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York State, the New England States, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
• Ontario Ancestors (The Ontario Genealogical Society)
• History & Genealogy at St. Louis (Missouri) County Library
• University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries
Searching the FamilySearch Digital Library also includes searches of all the above libraries. None of the libraries have yet had all of their collection completely digitized.
Search the FamilySearch Digital Library at https://www.familysearch.org/library/books/ ?cid=bl-fsb-8007. The complete EOGN announcement can be found at https://blog.eogn.com/2019/11/08/have-you-used-the-familysearch-digital-library/.
Geni Adds Consistency Checker
Geni has added a consistency checker to its World Family Tree. This tool checks for 26 types of inconsistencies, ranging from obvious issues, such as a child born before their parent, to more subtle problems, such as an event after death. The announcement can be found at https://tinyurl.com/GeniConsistencyChecker.
New Dutch Resources
The website, Dutch Genealogy, reports various websites have added genealogically relevant data to their websites. More detailed information, including links, can be found at https://www.dutchgenealogy.nl/dutch-genealogy-news-for-october-2019/
• Birth records of several Overijssel
• Slave registers of Suriname for 1830–1863
• Graves of the Algemene Begraafplaats Tongerseweg Cemetery in Maastricht.
• DRU, an iron factory in Ulft, Gelderland
• Records for Grave in Noord-Brabant (1290-1810)
National Library of Israel to Place 120,000 Books Online
The National Library of Israel (NLI) and Google have announced that 120,000 books from the NLI collection are going online for the first time. The books include all of the NLI's out-of-copyright books which have not yet been digitized. About 45% of them are in Hebrew and other Hebrew-letter languages such as Yiddish and Ladino, with the rest of the works in a variety of languages, including Latin, English, German, French, Arabic, and Russian.
The announcement can be found at https://beta.nli.org.il/en/content/nli-google-books.
What’s New at My Heritage Education?
In September, MyHeritage launched “MyHeritage Education”, an online resource center that includes articles, how-to videos, and webinars covering a wide variety of topics. The company has now announced the availability of 26 webinars, 6 articles and 2 videos. The complete list can be found at https://tinyurl.com/MHEducation2.
Genealogy Basics Chapter 3: Discovering Historical Records
MyHeritage has published its second chapter on Genealogy Basics which focuses on discovering historical records. The company notes that “Historical records can include anything from official government or military records to personal correspondence sent from abroad. Until a few decades ago, gaining access to records like these involved physically traveling to archives and libraries and meticulously searching through lists and microfilms. Today, researching your family history has become easier than ever thanks to instant online access to digitized records.”
The complete article can be found at https://tinyurl.com/MHGenealogyBasics3.
FamilySearch Adds More Than 1.8M Records This Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, more than 1.8M index records, can be found at https://tinyurl.com/FamilySearch110419. This site provides direct links to the individual collections. Those identified with a dagger (†) are church records. They include records from Argentina(†), England(†), Netherlands, Russia(†), Venezuela(†)and the United States, including Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and South Dakota(†).
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.
New Collections at Ancestry.com
Ancestry has added/updated the following record groups at their site. The list with links to individual collections can be found at https://www.ancestry.com/cs/recent-collections. Announced collections may not be complete for the dates specified and will be added at some later date. There is also no indication of how many records were added to the updated collections.
U.S. WWII Hospital Admission Card Files, 1942–1954
U.S., Navy and Marines Awards and Decorations, 1942–1994
U.S., Veterans Administration Master Index, 1917–1940
U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942
U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940–1947
Australia and New Zealand, Find A Grave Index, 1800s–Current
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