Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Content Added to JewishGen's Holocaust Database

Posted by Warren Blatt

Yesterday, we completed our 2011 update of the JewishGen Holocaust Database. More than 36 new collections - totaling more than 200,000 records - have been added. 

As always, we are grateful to the kind support from so many individuals, Jewish genealogical societies, historical societies, museums, and other organizations who enbaled us to acquire these valuable records.
 
Of particular note, the work of Nolan Altman (our Holocaust Database coordinator) should be applauded. The Holocaust Database would not be what it is without his tireless, and sensitive efforts.
 
Listed below are the recent updates, followed by the number of records in parenthesis: 
 
Austria/Czech
  • Kladavo Transport to Palestine (1,051)
  • Czechs in Mauritius (299)   
Belarus
  • Jewish Partisans in Belarus 1941-44 (8,451)
France
  • Morts en Déportation (7,346)             
Germany
  • Dresden Lists (265)              
  • Peruvian Records (617)          
  • St. Gallen Arrivals (1,226)     
  • Mannheim Community (1,675)        
  • Munich Attorneys (194)      
  • Neu Stassfort Forced Laborers (168) 
  • Baden-Württemberg Lists (Mannheim Community Records) (1,993)       
  • The Strange Case of Internal German Deportations (143)    
  • Dutch Police Lists (2,997)
  • Sachsenhausen Deaths (1,504)                 
Germany/Austria-Czech
  • Last Letters from the Lodz Ghetto (4,022)
Germany/Poland
  • Schneidemühl Detainees (512)         
Hungary
  • Auschwitz To Hessisch Lichtenau Transport List (1,000)
Latvia
  • Liepaja Memorial Wall (6,428)
Poland
  • Lublin Death Register Nov 1941, Jan 1942 (681) 
  • Piotrkow Trybunalski Ghetto (10,761)             
  • The 1948 Warsaw Survivors List (5,680)          
Romania
  • New Romanian Lists (72,842)
Romania/Moldova
  • Evidence Registers of Jews in Cahul Camp (525) 
  • Leova Holocaust-Period Records (556)                                         
Switzerland
  • Jewish Arrivals in Switzerland 1938-45 (21,730)
Ukraine/Hungary
  • Dorosic Forced Laborers (396)         
Ukraine/Poland
  • Rovno Victims Killed in the Kostopol Forest (5,166)
  • Miskolc and Surrounding Towns Residents as Reported by Survivors (10,832)
Misc
  • Paraguay Arrivals (254)      
  • Dutch Survivors (24,163)
  • Selected Lists From 'The Jewish Advocate' (856)         
  • Tübingen Medical School Experiments (278) 
  • Karaganda, Kazakhstan Lists (190)                    
  • Gross Rosen Victims and Survivors (4,843)     
  • Women in Flossenbürg Branch Camps (15,842)         
  • Mantello El Salvadorian Certificates (2,160)  
In addition to the records listed above, we are plan to add the following records imminently:
  • Lublin Deportations (4,122)
  • Lublin Ghetto (815)     
  • Bergen-Belsen Prisoners (29,000)
 
Finally, as you can see, we are doing great work, but it costs a significant amount of money to maintain JewishGen. Please help (if you have not already done so) by contributing generously to JewishGen’s fall appeal so that we can continue to offer you, and thousands of others like you, these essential services.
 
 
JewishGen has accomplished much - but there is still so much more to do, and we thank you for helping us "preserve our history for future generations."
 
Please click here to make a quick and easy donation online. If you prefer to donate by check, please make it payable to JewishGen, and send it to:

JewishGen
36 Battery Place
New York, NY 10280
USA
 
With grateful appreciation for your kind support of JewishGen's important work,
 
Warren Blatt
Managing Director, JewishGen.org

P.S. Did you know that you can make charitable donations directly from your individual retirement account (IRA)? If you are a US resident, you can easily help JewishGen while avoiding potentially negative tax consequences of IRA withdrawals. Please reply to this email if you would like to receive more information about this exciting opportunity. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Researching and Restitution in the Austrian State Archives.

Sunday, January 15, 2012, 2:00 p.m. –Jewish Genealogical Society NY Meeting – at Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, JGSNY members free; guests $5. For further information, info@jgsny.org, www.jgsny.org
Researching and Restitution in the Austrian State Archives.
Speaker: Hubert Steiner, Ph.D.

Joining us from Vienna, Austria is Dr. Hubert Steiner, who will speak about the Austrian State Archives and some of its holdings. Shortly after the Nazi occupation and annexation of Austria, a regulation on the declaration of Jewish property was enacted on April 26, 1938. These property registrations were the first steps in the systematic robbery of Jewish properties. Most of their files still exist and may be used for studying questions of economic or administrative history and also for genealogical research.

After the end of Nazi rule in 1945, property restitution laws were implemented. Ten years later a process for compensation for victims of political persecution began, and in the 1950s and 1960s relief funds were established. These files, which contain many personal biographies, especially about how people escaped and started new lives in exile, can now be viewed in the Austrian State Archives.
Since 1990 Dr. Steiner has been responsible for the identification of the properties taken from Austrian Jews who lived in the Nazi era.

Announcement: JGS of Palm Beach County

SUBJECT:
Membership Meeting
PLACE:
South County Civic Center, 16700 Jog Road, Delray Beach, FL 
DATE:
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
TIME:
11:00 am–3:30 pm               
FEE:
Non-members–$5 (guest fee may be applied toward membership dues) 
PROGRAM:
Your Jewish Roots in Poland: JRI-Poland, the Records and More
GUEST SPEAKER:
Mark Halpern

Mark Halpern, a driving force in Polish-Jewish genealogical research, will speak at the membership meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Palm Beach County (JGSPBCI), Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at the South County Civic Center, 16700 Jog Road, Delray Beach, FL.

Halpern, a member of the Board of Directors of Jewish Records Indexing-Poland www.jri-poland.org , will lecture on “Your Jewish Roots in Poland: JRI-Poland, the Records and More,”  and will  discuss Jewish records and research from the various parts of Poland – Congress  of Poland, Russian Pale of Settlement (Bialystok area), Austrian Galicia, and Prussian Poland  . The presentation will demonstrate what kind of information can be found in each sort of record and how to learn what records are available for one's town. Sample searches will show ways to utilize the JRI-Poland database in order to get the most out of the research.

Jewish Records Indexing- Poland (JRI-Poland) is a valuable tool for all researchers with family roots in Eastern Europe.  It is the largest fully searchable database of Jewish vital records accessible online. It contains millions of vital records from the current and former territories of Poland, including  towns that are now part of Lithuania, Ukraine and Belarus.

Mr. Halpern’s presentation is at 1:15 PM, after a brief business meeting.  A joint meeting of four Special Interest Groups (SIGS) – Lithuania, Belarus, Poland, and Ukraine – is at 11:00 AM in the main lecture hall, followed by a Brick Wall Question and Answers period at 12:15 pm. Genealogy mentors will be available after the  presentation. Guests are welcome. There is a guest fee of $5 for those who wish to attend. The guest fee may be applied toward membership dues.

Halpern has been researching his Polish and Galitzianer roots since 1996. As a Board member of JRI-Poland, he has been responsible for the Bialystok Archive project and the AGAD Archive (eastern Galicia records) project as well as the JRI-Poland ordering process. He is the immediate past President of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Philadelphia. He is also the originator and coordinator of BIALYGen, the Bialystok Region Jewish Genealogy Group and coordinates a project to index and restore the Jewish Cemetery in Bialystok, Poland.

For further information about the Brick Wall program, or to submit questions in advance, e-mail president@jgspalmbeachcounty.org .  For Special Interest Groups (SIGS), contact Mona Morris mona@jgspalmbeachcounty.org.
For meeting information contact:
Sylvia Nusinov sylvia@jgspalmbeachcounty.org, (561) 483-1060
Marilyn Newman mnewman@jgspalmbeachcounty.org, (561) 775-4920

Friday, December 23, 2011

"How to Make KehilaLinks Webpages" class to begin January 22, 2012

We are delighted to announce our fourth "How to Make KehilaLinks Webpages," taught by Mark Heckman and beginning January 22, 2012

This course is designed for those who would like to create a KehilaLinks webpage dedicated to a Jewish Community/Kehila/Town/Shtetl, but don't know how. 



Creating web pages is not difficult. We will use a free, downloadable, simple-to-use web page editor that runs on both PCs and Macs. All you need to participate is some basic computer skills, a computer, and a few spare hours a week for 6 weeks.


Course description and how to enroll are described in detail on the JewishGen Education page at www.jewishgen.org/education

Happy Chanukah!

Susana Leistner Bloch, V.P., KehilaLinks, JewishGen, Inc.
Barbara Ellman,KehilaLinks Technical Coordinator
Mark Heckman, Instructor

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Announcement: JGS of New York

SUBJECT
Next Meeting
DATE
December 25, 2011
TIME
12:30 pm

LOCATION

92nd Street Y  - Buttenwieser Hall (92nd Street at Lexington Ave.) 

TOPIC

Genealogical Implications of Chasidic Ancestry
SPEAKER
Rafael G. Guber 

Evidence indicates that most American Jews have some Chasidic ancestry. Knowledge of this provides the researcher with a wealth of genealogical information not found in conventional resources. This talk and power point presentation will respond to the following questions:  Why do most American Jews descend from Chasidic Ancestors?  How do you determine if you have Chasidic ancestry and which towns and regions are they from?   How can you access internally maintained Chasidic survivor lists and trees that can help locate relatives living and deceased?  How do you contact the genealogical representatives in surviving Chasidic communities?


Rafael Guber was an instructor and Founder of the Genealogy Project at the Jewish Enrichment Center in Manhattan. He is Co-Creator, with Janice and Billy Crystal, of “Finding Our Families Finding Ourselves,” at the Museum of Tolerance, LA, -- the world’s largest exhibit ever dedicated to genealogy.  Guber was a researcher and narrator for the History Channel’s “Ellis Island” and the award winning film “Conspiracy of Kindness.” His own family history was documented in the 4th episode of the PBS series “Ancestors.”  He has written for or has been quoted in  the NY Times and other newspapers and magazines.   


A member of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), he has researched more than one hundred families over the last 18 years

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New Content Added to JOWBR (JewishGen's Burial Registry)

Posted by Nolan Altman


JewishGen is proud to announce its 2011 year-end update to the JOWBR (JewishGen’s Online Worldwide Burial Registry) database. The JOWBR database can be accessed by clicking here. If you are a new JOWBR user, we recommend that you take a look at the first two explanatory screencasts by clicking here.


This update adds approximately 60,000 new records and 16,000 new photos. The database is adding 120 new cemeteries along with updates or additions to an additional 225 cemeteries.


In what may be our most diversified update, we are adding or updating records to cemeteries from 37 countries literally spanning from A to Z, Australia to Zambia. This update brings JOWBR’s holdings to 1.76 million records from more than 3,350 cemeteries / cemetery sections from 64 countries!


Once again, you will see that the donors for this update include a mix of individuals, Jewish genealogical societies, historical societies and museums.  We appreciate all our donor’s submissions and the transliteration work done by a faithful group of JewishGen volunteers.


I want to particularly thank Eric Feinstein who has been helping me to find and gain permission to add many of the records from under-represented countries. In addition, without our volunteer transliterators, led by Gilberto Jugend, we would not be able to add the information from some very difficult to read photos.


Of particular note in this update are the following additions:
  • Brno & Ivančice, Czech Republic. Thanks to Jaroslav Klenovsky of the Jewish Community of Brno (http://zob.cz/) for more than 11,900 Bruno and 900 Ivančice records for these two cemeteries.
  • Ontario, Canada.  Thanks to Allen Halberstadt, coordinator of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Canada, Toronto’s Cemetery Project, for submitting and updating approximately 200 cemeteries with 4,900 records from various cemeteries.  In addition to the records, over 3,900 photos from Dawes Road Cemetery are included in this update thanks to the efforts of Robert Lubinski.
  • Albany, NY.  Thanks to Professor Barry Trachtenberg and the students in his fall 2011 course: American Jewish Experience at the University at Albany, State University of New York.  The students photographed and indexed 3 cemeteries and 2 synagogues' memorial plaques resulting in a contribution in excess of 4,000 records. (Look for an upcoming article on this model which I think could be successfully replicated in other schools.)
  • Petach Tikvah / Segulah and Savyon, Israel.  Thanks to Gilda Kurtzman for her ongoing submissions of 3,900 new records and 2,600 new photos.  The Petach Tikvah cemetery is represented by 62,600 records and 19,800 photos.
  • Czernovitsi, Ukraine.  Thanks to Bruce Reich and the JGS of Ottawa for submitting an additional 3,200 records and photos bringing the total for the Czernovitsi cemetery to more than 19,300.
  • Czech Republic.  Thanks to Achab Haidler for the first installment of 15 cemeteries from his site at www.chewra.com 
  • Balassagyarmat, Hungary.  Thanks to Ruben Weiser for 2,700 burial records from this Hungarian town.
  • Tiraspol, Moldova.  Thanks to Roberta Solit for her submission of 2,500 records from Tiraspol.
  • Mexico City, Mexico.  Thanks to the “Hebra Kadisha, Comunidad Maguen David” in Mexico City and Liz Hamui Sutton for arranging the submission of information for two Mexico City cemeteries totaling approximately 1,700 records.
  • Wroclaw, Poland.  Thanks to Dr. Marcin Wodzinsk who submitted 1,700 records from the Polish town of Wroclaw.
  • Catskills, New York.  Thanks to David Preiver for submitting more than 1,600 records from 9 cemeteries in the Montecello / Liberty / Catskills area of NY State. 
  • Soroca, Moldova. Thanks to the efforts of Brock Bierman we are adding more than 1,600 records from this town.  Brock is also coordinating efforts to photograph and index other Moldovan cemeteries and would appreciate hearing from researchers interested in this area through his website www.civicancestry.com 
  • Rhodes, Greece.  Thanks to Aron Hasson of the Rhodes Jewish Historical Foundation we are adding 1,400 records.  For photos of the headstones and more information on the Jewish community of Rhodes, please see http://www.rhodesjewishmuseum.org/  
  • Suriname. Thanks to Aviva Ben-Ur and Rachel Frankel, authors of “Remnant Stones: The Jewish Cemeteries of Suriname, Volume One: Epitaphs”, we are adding more than 1,300 records of stones in the 4 Jewish cemeteries in Suriname.
  • Various Countries.  Our thanks to Hana Holland, director of "Journey into Jewish Heritage" a student based group that is sharing their indexing records from various countries throughout Europe and Asia.  This installment includes records from Greece, India and Turkey.  For more information, please see http://www.jewish-heritage.org.il/default.aspx
  • New Countries.  This update includes our first listings for Bolivia, Haiti, Kazakhstan, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Russia, Slovenia, Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia.  Although some are small in number, these listings help achieve JewishGen’s goal of permanently memorializing Jewish communities around the world.
  • Whether your name or records are listed above, we appreciate all your submissions!  Thank you to all the donors that submitted information for this update.
We appreciate all the work our donors have done and encourage you to make additional submissions.  Whether you work on a cemetery / cemetery section individually or consider a group project for your local Society, temple or other group, it’s your submissions that help grow the JOWBR database and make it possible for researchers and family members to find answers they otherwise might not.  Please also consider other organizations you may be affiliated with that may already have done cemetery indexing that would consider having their records included in the JOWBR database.


Stay tuned for our inaugural upload for JewishGen’s Memorial Plaque project.  We currently have approximately 7,500 records to start with and are very interested in your help to add to those figures.  We’re still actively looking for additional files for the launch.  Please contact me to find out more about this project and how you or your JGS can help.


Nolan Altman
NAltman@JewishGen.org 
JewishGen VP for Data Acquisition
JOWBR – Coordinator
December, 2011

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Library and Archives Canada Launch New Corporate Website

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

The Library and Archives of Canada announced the launch of their new corporate website on November 30.
http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/Pages/default.aspx . This is a complement to
their regular site http://collectionscanada.gc.ca/index-e.html . Both sites have English and French components.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

[UK] National Archives Has Free Podcasts

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

The National Archives of the United Kingdom made available several podcasts*
for free. Go to: http://nationalarchives.gov.uk/podcasts/.
Some of the topics are:
Making Geographical Sense of the Census--from their one-day conference on
the census October 1, 2011;
Exploding the Mysteries of the Bomb Census--details how one may research air
raid bomb details during WWII using maps, photographs etc.;
Twentieth Century Treasury Records;
The 1911 Census: A Vision of England;
The Land Tax 1692-1963;
Nineteenth Century Soldiers, Getting the most from on-line resources;
Overseas Births, Marriages and Deaths in the National Archives
and many more which may help you with your genealogical research in the United Kingdom.

* podcasts are defined by Wikipedia as: A podcast (or non-streamed webcast) is a series of digital media files (either audio or video) that are released episodically and often downloaded through web syndication.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

(USA) National Archives Online Public Access (OPA)

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

The [USA] National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) started their Online Public Access (OPA) system earlier in 2011. It is a prototype first step to providing single research to the NARA records from several of their systems including the Archival Research Catalogue (ARC), Access to Archival Databases (AAD), Archives.gov and the Electronic Records Archive (ERA).
See: http://www.archives.gov/research/search/index.html

Recently added to the OPA system are logbooks of US Navy Ships and Stations, 1941-1978 (some of the records may not yet be available online). See:
http://research.archives.gov/description/594258

Thank you to Marlene Bishow, President, JGS Greater Washington (JGSGW) for alerting us to this new online resource.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

(USA) PA SB 361 Passes House and Senate and Sent to Governor

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

I am delighted to inform you that Pennsylvania SB 361 passed the House of Representatives unanimously on December 6, 2011 and has been sent to Governor Tom Corbett who indicated, per the Preserving York Blog (see below), he will sign the bill. The bill will make Pennsylvania-issued birth records public after 105 years and death records public after 50 years. The records will be maintained by the state archives once they are available to the public. Pennsylvania has been one of the strictest states in releasing records to the public.

To read a copy of the bill as passed go to: http://tinyurl.com/5sbcotq
original url:
http://www.legis.state.pa.us/CFDOCS/Legis/PN/Public/btCheck.cfm?txtType=PDF&sessYr=2011&sessInd=0&billBody=S&billTyp=B&billNbr=0361&pn=1598

To read more go to Preserving York Blog:
http://www.preservingyork.com/2011/12/gov-corbett-expected-to-sign-genealogy.html

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Updates on the National Archives (USA):

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

1. As of November 28, 2011, researchers are no longer required to record their property data on Equipment Receipts, nor will NARA retain equipment receipts for validation of serial numbers by security officers upon your departure from Archives I (Washington DC) or Archives II (College Park, Maryland). For more information go to:
http://blogs.archives.gov/online-public-access/?p=6664

2. NARA has a new partnership with Historypin (http://www.historypin.com/).
The site enables users to overlay (or "pin") historic images, videos and audio recordings onto the sights of today. http://tinyurl.com/7qje5fq
original url:
http://blogs.archives.gov/online-public-access/?p=6768T
This new media "mashup", runs on Google maps, encourages visitors to add their own memories to the pinned records, highlighting the personal connection to changing landscapes. With Historypin you can look at an historic storefront that is flanked by a modern building and can "see" what the street might have looked like when the historic building was first built..a way to go back to what it was like when our ancestors lived or worked in an area. The National Archives has a wonderful photographic archive that can be accessed at:
http://www.archives.gov/research/start/by-format.html#photos

NARA has several blogs, all free : http://blogs.archives.gov/. The above information is from NARAtions
http://blogs.archives.gov/online-public-access/

3.The National Archives Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) - the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Ombudsman - launched a new online case management system on November 28. The new OGIS Access System (OAS) will manage the requests for assistance that FOIA requesters and agencies bring to OGIS. OGIS was created to resolve disputes between FOIA requesters and federal agencies. The service that OGIS provides ranges from checking the status of delayed FOIA requests to facilitating resolutions of disputes involving complex database requests. OGIS also has a new blog:
http://blogs.archives.gov/foiablog/
To read more go to:
http://www.archives.gov/press/press-releases/2012/nr12-39.html

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Friday, December 9, 2011

Orla, Poland

The Orla, Poland Kehilalinks Page is now active, and can be viewed by clicking here.


This page is all about sharing, so please contact me so that I can add your stories, documents and photos.  I also welcome your feedback. Our aim is to re-establish a "virtual" Jewish life in this town, which has a rich
Jewish heritage, but no Jews living there now.


Eli Rabinowitz
Perth, Australia
eli@elirab.com

JewishGen Bessarabia SIG

In case you missed it, here is the announcement about JewishGen's new Bessarabia SIG


JewishGen is pleased to announce the formation of a new regional Special Interest Group -- The JewishGen Bessarabia SIG. This SIG will focus on the region of Bessarabia, a former Gubernia in the Russian Empire, an area now comprising most of the Moldova Republic, and two areas of Ukraine.


The prime objective of the SIG is to help users in their family genealogical research and related information gathering. The SIG's website can be accessed by clicking here.


The two largest ongoing projects are: Bessarabia Vital Records and Bessarabia Revision Lists. There are also new projects -- some of which already begun,  others awaiting users to become involved and/or lead them. These include: 
  • creation of a geographical dictionary of the Jewish communities; 
  • transliteration of the 1924-25 Business directory for Bessarabia; 
  • research in American archives for material relevant to the SIG; 
  • transliteration of landsmanshaftn records for towns in Bessarabia;
  • obtain video testimonies of Holocaust survivors from Bessarabia; 
  • conduct cemetery projects -- indexing, photographing gravestones;
  • translate Bessarabia towns' Yizkor books; 
  • translate graduation records from a Kishinev Gymnasium. 
If you have interest, genealogical skills, knowledge of the history and genealogy of this area, or language proficiency (especially in Russian, Romanian, Hebrew or Yiddish) we would be most appreciative of your input into our efforts. We are always looking for users to propose new projects, participate in existing ones, or when possible, lead one.


Please peruse the Bessarabia SIG's website, see what's there, and contribute materials you may have that will enhance it. A discussion/mailing list is the conduit through which the SIG's  members can communicate their research problems, ask for advice, offer solutions, and share creative ways they have documented  their family heritage. To subscribe to the discussion/mailing list, please click here


CONTACTS:
  • Discussion Groups: Alan Levitt at alanmlevitt@gmail.com
  • Data Entry & Transcriptions: Joel Waters at watersjd@gmail.com
  • Projects: Yefim Kogan at yefimk@verizon.net
We welcome the active participation of all. Your suggestions for research projects and your willingness to help or take a leadership role is sought and always appreciated.


Warren Blatt
Managing Director, JewishGen


Yefim Kogan
Bessarabia SIG Coordinator

Yizkor Books Update: December 2011

Shalom,

The activity during November was characterized by the addition of a large number of new entries. As you'll see by the alphabetically ordered names of the communities,  we are rapidly approaching the last communities appearing in the Pinkas Lita [Encyclopedia of Jewish communities, Lithuania] book and this month's list adds on to the very long list of communities that this book contains.

It is so incomprehensible that the Lithuanian communities appearing in this list were all decimated during the Holocaust and, of course, Lithuania is "only" a part of the whole enormous Jewish tragedy. I see the placing the translations of these communities online as one the major aims of the Yizkor Book Project in its endeavor to ensure that the memories of these communities and the people that lived in them are not forgotten.

As far as existing projects go, I am pleased to report that during November, the online translation of three books was completed and we now have no less than 75 projects online which are the entire translations of the original Yizkor books. As such, I would like to send out my deep appreciation to the coordinators and translators of these completed projects which are:
  • Lyubcha, Belarus  (Lubtch and Delatich; in memory of the Jewish community) which is coordinated and translated by Ann Belinsky and Harvey Spitzer
  • Skuodas, Lithuania (Testimony on the murder of the Jews of Shkud,
  • Lithuania) which is coordinated by Rachel Mines and was initiated by Aviva Tirosh
  • Svir, Belarus (Our Townlet Swir) which is coordinated by Lee Harrison

I would also like to note the addition of a new Translation Fund added in this month for the Stowbtsy, Belarus Yizkor Book, and am looking forward to seeing this project take shape. Note that a very positive way of helping to see translations placed online is by supporting this project or one of the many Translation Funds which have been set up to bring about the professional translation of the Yizkor books.  If you feel able to support this effort, please go to the Yizkor BookJewishGen-erosity page to learn about the Translation Funds currently underway.

As always, we are always looking for volunteers to take on various tasks within the Yizkor Book Project so that we can continue and expand on the work done so far. So, if you have some time and would like to help out in our continuously growing project, I would very much like to hear from you.

As far as the November figures go, during this last month we have added these 4 new projects:

Added in 60 new entries:
  • Huncovce, Slovakia (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Slovakia)  
  • Kolovec, Czech Republic (The Jews and Jewish Communities of Bohemia in the past and present)  
  • Podolinec, Slovakia (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Slovakia)  
  • Raiterade, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Rakishetzik, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Ranishk, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Raskovcizna, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Ribukai, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Rokenai, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Romanova, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Rozalimas, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Rudnia, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Rusne, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Sateikiai, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Serpitz, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Siesikiai, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Simnas, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Skaistgirys, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Stakiai, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Stasiunai, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Strevininkai, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Surdegis, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Talun, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Tartupis, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Taujenai, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Tauragnai, Lithuania (Preserving Our Litvak Heritage - Volume 1)  
  • Tavrova, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Teneniai, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Terpitz, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Timegola, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Tirksliai, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Tolkeve, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Tomasheve, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Traupis, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Trepkalnis, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Truskava, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Tubines, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Turiskis, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Turmantas, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Turzenai, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Tzislevka, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Ubila, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Ulinova, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Upyna, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Upyte, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Uzdubysis, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Uzuguostis, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Uzventis, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Vadokliai, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Vaitkiskiai, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Valeisiskis, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Vasiliskis, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Vaskai, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Vegeriai, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Veivirzenai, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Vepriai, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Verpena, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Vezaiciai, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Videniskiai, Lithuania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Lithuania)  
  • Yakovlevo, Belarus (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities: Poland)  

We have continued to update 26 of our existing projects:
  • Belchatow, Poland (Belchatow memorial book)  
  • Biala Rawska, Poland (Memorial Book to the Martyrs of Biala Rawska)  
  • Chelm, Poland (Commemoration book Chelm)
  • Cieszanow, Poland (Memorial book of the martyred community Cieszanow) 
  • Dej, Romania (Des..., Bethlen, Magyarlapos, Retteg, Nagyilonda and
  • Dzyarzhynsk, Belarus (Koidanov; memorial volume of the martyrs of Koidanov) 
  •  Gargzdai, Lithuania  (Gorzd book; A memorial to the Jewish community of Gorzd) 
  •  Golub-Dobrzyn, Poland (In Memory of the Communities Dobrzyn-Gollob)  
  • Gorodets, Belarus (Horodetz; history of a town, 1142-1942) 
  • Grajewo, Poland (Grayewo Memorial Book) 
  • Jonava, Lithuania (Jonava On The Banks Of The Vylia; In memory of the destroyed Jewish community of Jonava) 
  • Kaluszyn, Poland (The Memorial Book of Kaluszyn) 
  • Kutno, Poland (Kutno and surroundings book) 
  • Lenin, Belarus (The community of Lenin; memorial book) 
  • Lyubcha, Belarus  (Lubtch and Delatich; in memory of the Jewish community) 
  • Ostrolenka, Poland (Book of Kehilat Ostrolenka; Yizkor Book of the Jewish Community of Ostrolenka) 
  • Serock, Poland (The book of Serock)
  • Skuodas, Lithuania (Testimony on the murder of the Jews of Shkud, Lithuania) 
  • Staszow, Poland (The Staszow book)
  • Svir, Belarus (Our Townlet Swir)
  • Tarnow, Poland (The life and decline of a Jewish city) 
  • Tighina, Moldova (Bendery Community Yizkor Book) 
  • Turka, Ukraine (Memorial Book of the Community of Turka on the Stryj and Vicinity) 
  • Zaglembia, Poland  (Memorial book of Zaglembie) 
  • Zelechow, Poland (Memorial book of the community of Zelechow) 

 In order to view any of these entries, please visit http://www.jewishgen.org/Yizkor/translations.html 

All the best,
Lance Ackerfeld
Yizkor Book Project Manager

KehilaLinks Update: December 2011

We are pleased to welcome the following webpages to JewishGen KehilaLinks. We thank the owners and webmasters of these webpages for creating fitting memorials to these Kehilot (Jewish Communities) and for providing a valuable resource for future generations of their descendants.

Created by Susana Leistner Bloch
Webmaster: Neil Emmer
~~~~~
Created by Marshal Katz
~~~~~
Created by Susana Leistner Bloch
Webmaster: Neil Emmer
~~~~~
Created by Joel Fetter
~~~~~
Created by Marshal Katz
~~~~~
Created by Eli Rabinowitz
~~~~~
Created by Marshal Katz
~~~~~
Created by Susana Leistner Bloch
Webmaster: Neil Emmer
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

KehilaLinks webpages recently updated:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Some of our Kehila webpages were created by people who are no longer able to maintain them. We thank them for their past efforts and wish them luck on their future endeavors.

The following webpages are "orphaned" and are available for adoption.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you wish to follow their example and create a KehilaLinks webpage or adopt an exiting "orphaned" webpage please contact us at: < bloch@mts.net>.

Need technical help creating a webpage?
We have a team of dedicated volunteers who will help you create a webpage. Please contact us if you would like help in creating a KehilaLinks webpage.

Susana Leistner Bloch, VP, KehilaLinks, JewishGen, Inc.
Barbara Ellman, ShtetLinks Technical Coordinator 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Ghosts in Soroca

Guest post by Brock Bierman


Walking ghosts are precisely what went through my mind when I first saw the Soroca Jewish Cemetery in 1997. Tucked away in a half residential and half commercial sector on the outskirts of Soroca, Moldova, this Jewish Cemetery was the first eastern European graveyard I had ever seen. Closer inspection of the gravestones revealed incredible inscriptions, finely carved pictographs and a fine attention to detail. Although I did not understand the language engraved on the stones, I could see that extraordinary craftsmanship and love were etched on each and every one. 
Soroca Cemetery Entrance
The cemetery itself was not easy to get to, but most locals we talked with seemed to know where it was. After about a three hour drive from the capital city of Chisinau we arrived in the downtown area of Soroca, only to spend another 30 minutes navigating the nearly impassable roads to the Cemetery Gates. In 1997 the roads were indescribable in American terms and it was hard to believe they could have been used for any sort of transportation.
Road Conditions in 1997
My Great Grandfather, Abram Birman, left Bessarabia (now Moldova) sometime after the October 1905 Pogrom. According to my research, he arrived at Ellis Island on the 6th of June 1906 with his wife and five children (including my grandfather Samuel). Before I visited Moldova, I knew little else about my Birman forbearers other than what I could find in US Census or immigration records.  
Matzeivah
According to the 1897 Russian Census, a time when Abram would have lived in Soroca, the total population was 15,351, of which 8715 were Jewish, almost 60% of the population. Today I hear that there are less than 100 Jews still living in Soroca. The oldest operating synagogue in the country, built circa 1802, is still active.


My time was limited in Soroca during my first visit, strictly a day trip. When you consider the time of year and how short the days are in the winter, I had less than an hour to spend with my research. Peering through the lens of my camera as I started to document my visit, it was an eerie feeling to look upon the crowded field of history. The gravestones seemed to be slowly marching toward me, yearning to tell their story.


Surrounded by a six foot stone and concrete wall, this cemetery seemed to weather the test of time, but it was clear that sections of graveyard, where stones had once marked the passing of ages, had disappeared forever. "They were used to build roads, buildings and even some nearby drinking wells," my guide told me through the translation of a local passerby who had come to see what we were doing. "What a shame," my guide uttered back, as we walked the sacred grounds together.


My guide, a 20 year old Moldovan man from Chisinau, had never visited a Jewish cemetery, and frankly speaking, did not know much about Jewish history. He seemed genuinely interested with my quest to research for my roots and offered his assistance in the future.


That was my first trip to the Soroca cemetery in Moldova, but certainly not my last. During a visit in 1999, I was fortunate enough to find a Jewish family who helped me with my research. In fact, they even allowed me to stay at their home. I met them during a visit to the Jewish Synagogue and they opened their hearts as well as their home and in return they asked for only my friendship.
Host Family in Soroca in 1999
Later, several of these family members helped me document the Soroca cemetery, since they read and spoke Hebrew.  Life was hard in 1997 and conditions remain extreme. Today, average annual salaries are less than two thousand dollars and even educated professionals make less than five thousand dollars a year. The young man who had helped me during my first trip had moved to Romania in 1998, however, he was able to help me find a new guide, Larisa Shakirov, who I continue to stay in touch with today.


Over the course of the next two years I corresponded with my new Moldovan friends as they worked to document every stone in the graveyard. In the end, 1618 total grave markers were recorded for posterity. This family eventually immigrated to Israel sometime shortly after this project was completed and I have not heard from them since. Their help, guidance and friendship helped me complete a recorded listing of those buried in cemetery. Without their help, none of this would have been possible.
Soroca Cemetery 1999
In 2002, I took a position at the US Agency for International Development as the Chief of Staff for the Bureau for Europe and Eurasia.  Without getting into too much detail, I stayed very active with my research and soon became very involved in all things Moldova through my work at USAID.  I also stayed in contact with my friend Larisa and her family, making several additional trips over the coming years. Most recently, I started a project to transcribe the information obtained nearly ten years earlier. 


After contacting JewishGen and connecting with Nolan Altman, he was able to retain the volunteer efforts of several translators who helped us transcribe every recorded entry in my Soroca Cemetery listing. This listing will be made available to the general public later this month through JewishGen’s Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR).


This October, in an effort to even better document the Soroca cemetery, I started a new project to photograph and plot out every gravestone in the entire cemetery. The cemetery is still in about the same condition as it was in 1997, however the underbrush has taken over some of the land and it will take time to clear. Larisa's son Max is now helping me with my latest efforts and I am hopeful to have this project completed early in 2012.  
Soroca Cemetery - Today
Please keep a lookout for follow up information or you can contact me directly through brock@civicancestry.com for more information. Lastly, it is my hope to better document Jewish life in Soroca and record additional cemeteries throughout the country. Over the coming months, I will be passing along some general research knowledge and ideas through my website, www.civicancestry.com. If you wish to participate or help in anyway, please contact me directly.


A sincere thanks to all those who have helped to make this effort possible and volunteered their time to save our history, without a combined team effort, it would not have been successful.

Free Ancestry.com Access

Ancestry is offering free access to various databases through December 7th. 


Important: Please visit our homepage at www.JewishGen.org and use the "Ancestry Search Box" to begin your search of Ancestry.com. If you eventually subscribe to their services, JewishGen will receive a percentage of the revenue. 


Best of luck with your research!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

[USA) White House Issues Memoriandum on Managing Government Records

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

Below is a link from the National Archives (USA) regarding the White House's memorandum on managing government records. The order requires wider use of digital-based record keeping systems. The National Archives stores about 475 million pages of digital records annually but has indicated that government agencies are behind in efforts to digitize records in compliance with the Federal Records Act. This edict requires all government agencies to work with the National Archives and within 120 days directs Agency heads take specific steps to reform and improve records management policies and practices within their agency.

http://tinyurl.com/88r466l
original URL:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/11/28/presidential-memorandum-managing-government-records

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Mocavo.com Now Has UK site

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

About year ago Mocavo.com (http://www.mocavo.com/) started- its a search engine limited to only genealogy sites. One has to register-its free. They have started a sister site, http://www.mocavo.co.uk/ for a United Kingdom specific research engine for genealogy in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. You do have to register- its free. Your password and sign-in for the US version works for the UK version. While on the site they have a blog and you can sign on for their free newsletter.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Ancestry.com Offering Free Access to WWII Military Records Through December 7

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

In commemoration of WWII and the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 Ancestry.com has announced, they are offering free access to their WWII military records through December 7 at midnight Eastern Standard time. Go to: http://www.ancestry.com/pearlharbor.

I have no affiliation with Ancestry.com and this is being posted solely for
interest to those researching WWII records.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Congressman Johnson Introduces Keeping IDs Safe Act of 2011

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

As previously reported, Congressman Sam Johnson (R-TX) was reported to be introducing a bill addressing concerns with the Social Security Death Index, [which is legally known as the Death Master File] due to incidents where deceased children's Social Security numbers have been fraudulently used by other than the parents when declaring the deceased on their federal tax returns for a refund.

On November 18, Congressman Johnson introduced HR 3475 [http://tinyurl.com/6uwu4aw]
original url: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112hr3475ih/pdf/BILLS-112hr3475ih.pdf

The bill is very short and it deletes the existing provisions of the Social Security Act related to the section on "Use of Death Certificates to Correct Program Information"--Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 405 Section 205(r)(5) and adds a new section (10) which relates to other provisions in 205(r). There is a redaction of existing provisions and a replacement and new provision which appears to limit what information will be available to the public on the Internet. For those who may be interested in reading the entire Social Security Act Section 205 including subsection (r) as it currently reads go to:
http://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/ssact/title02/0205.htm

The Chicago Sun Times reported on November 25, "Johnson's "KIDS Act" would effectively end public access to the death file, which now can be searched for a small fee or even for free on genealogy and other online sites. The files contain the Social Security numbers and other personal information that can easily be used by identity thieves." http://tinyurl.com/7pqfogv
original url:
http://www.suntimes.com/news/8954899-418/senators-try-to-block-id-theft-of-the-deceased.html. The newspaper article reports, two US Senators --Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) met with Social Security Administration Commissioner Michael Astrue, calling on the agency to limit information released in the death file. This appears to have support in both chamber of Congress as well as both sides of the aisle.

IAJGS takes this challenge to access to the Death Master File/ Social Security Death Index very seriously.

As we learn more, we will keep you aware by postings on this forum.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee