Friday, March 23, 2012

The Holocaust and Sephardic Jews of the Balkans and North Africa JGSCV April 1 Program

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

The Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County (JGSCV) will be meeting on Sunday, April 1, 2012 1:30-3:30 pm at Temple Adat Elohim, 2420 E Hillcrest Drive in Thousand Oaks, CA.

This program commemorates Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Memorial) Day even though the actual date is April 19. This is a new program created at the request of JGSCV!

The Topic: The Holocaust and Sephardic Jews of the Balkans and North Africa

Much has been written and many documentaries and dramas have been made concerning the Holocaust. Overwhelmingly, these deal with the horrors experienced by the Jews of Eastern Europe. Less well known is the plight of the Sephardic Jews of the Balkans and North Africa. Benveniste's talk will focus on the story of the Jews of Greece, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and North Africa. He will include the personal stories of people he has known from Salonika, Athens, Rhodes and Morocco. The Anti-Semitic policies of Nazi Germany are well known, Benveniste's talk will cover the policies of Fascist Italy, Franco Spain, Vichy France and the kings of Bulgaria and Morocco.

Speaker: Arthur Benveniste. His parents were from the Island of Rhodes where his ancestors lived for four hundred years. He grew up in a community of Ladino speaking Jews from Rhodes. For many years, he has been interested in tracing the roots of Sephardic culture. Arthur has been active in the Society for Crypto Judaic Studies since 1993, where he was president of the society from 2001 to 2003. He served as the co-editor of Halapid, the newsletter of the society. Mr. Benveniste has visited Brazil, Spain, Portugal, Peru, Italy, Morocco, Turkey and Greece. In 1992, he was invited by King Juan Carlos to return to Spain to commemorate the quincentennial of the expulsion of Jews.

Our Schmoozing corner, which starts 15 minutes before the meeting begins will be facilitated by Werner Frank, JGSCV founding member and former board member . This permits attendees to ask questions on brick walls and get directions on how to do their research.

The 5-minute genealogical technique will be presented by JSGCV president, Jan Meisels Allen on what information you can find in a marriage record.

Our traveling library will have categories A and C books and the holocaust collection of category D. The books are available starting 30 minutes before the program to shortly after the program. To see which books are coming to the meeting, please see our website www.jgscv.org under traveling library.

The Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County is dedicated to sharing genealogical information, techniques and research tools with anyone interested in Jewish genealogy and family history.(www.jgscv.org).

There is no charge to attend the meeting and all are welcome to attend. Annual dues are $25 for an individual and $30 for a family. Dues paid good through December 2012.

For more information including directions to the meeting, see our website:
www.jgscv.org

Jan Meisels Allen
President, JGSCV

Australia -NSW Website and Closing of Sydney Records Centre

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

The NSW (Australia) Sydney Records Centre reading room will be closing effective June 30, 2012. Copies of the core state's historical records are available as part of the Archives Resources Kit :
http://tinyurl.com/29yp2xk

full url:
http://www.records.nsw.gov.au/state-archives/guides-and-finding-aids/archives-in-brief/archives-in-brief-39
Copies of the state archives kit is available at other areas throughout New South Wales.
See: http://tinyurl.com/74uu2gp
original url:
http://www.records.nsw.gov.au/contact-us/addresses-opening-hours/sydney-records-centre/

State Records Authority is the NSW Government's archives and records management authority. They manage the NSW State archives collection and set the rules and provide guidance on the management of official records. To research and explore the new State Records Authority go to
http://tinyurl.com/8xznak3
original url:
http://www.records.nsw.gov.au/?utm_source=Copy+of+Newsletter+3-5-12&utm_campaign=brightsolid+and+videos&utm_medium=email

This includes an on-line key name index.

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

Google "Restarts" Their Newspaper Archive

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

Many of us who do newspaper research have used the Google archives for many years. During the past year it has been more difficult --to find it on their website because in May 2011 Google announced it was stopping its archival project. Recently, Google has had a change of heart and their archives may now be found at: http://news.google.com/newspapers .
Previously, Google stated they would not be providing any further features or functionality to the Google News Archives and were no longer accepting new microfilm or digital files for processing. The change of heart to start more sites etc. is welcome.The site contains about 2,000 historic newspapers predominately from the United States and Canada. Google has also announced a new digitization project with the Mons, Belgium (Mundaneum) Museum for their archives.

More about this can be read in Genealogy In Time Magazine.
http://tinyurl.com/7sg253l or original URL:
http://www.genealogyintime.com/NewsStories/2012/Q1/a%20restarted%20google%20newspaper%20archive%20page1.html.

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

Monday, March 19, 2012

2012 Conference Update

Dear Friends,

  • The Gala will take place on Tuesday July 17 at 7:00 pm. Father Patrick Desbois, president of Yahad-in Unum (Holocaust by bullets) will be our Guest. 
  • Sign for the SIG breakfasts (19 €) or Lunches (29€). You can also sign for lunches only (without SIG registration : 25 €). All meals will be Kosher.
  • Joubert-voyage may organize your transfer airport/hotel/airport : send your flight numbers and the dates and times of arrival and departure to celine@joubert-voyages.com
  • The film program is available on http://www.paris2012.eu/events?sort_by=event_type#event_type_6
  • Sign up: You have a few days left to enjoy the reduced rate for the conference at: http://www.paris2012.eu/products.
  • Book your room at the Marriott Paris Rive-Gauche: click on "Hotel", and enjoy the very competitive conference rates we got for you with the code zx4zx4a. If you want to stay longer, this rate is valid for 5 days before and five days after the Conference.
  • There are still rooms left if you want to sign up for guided tours in Paris (select "Registration")
  • Do not forget to look at our proposals for trips before or after the Conference at http://www.joubert-voyages.com/cercle-genealogie-juive.php
  • You can also benefit from reduced rates for air or rail by contacting gilbert@joubert-voyages.com
  • You can find us on JewishGen: subscribe to the mailing list bilingual "2012 Paris Conference" http://www.jewishgen.org/ListManager/members_add.aspv

See you soon Paris,
The Committee
www.paris2012.eu – contact@paris2012.eu

Convicted Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk dies

Click here to read more from the JTA.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Senate Finance Committee Subcommittee Hearing on Social Security Death Index (SSDI)

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

The Senate Committee on Finance Subcommittee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Growth scheduled a hearing for Tuesday, March 20, at 10:00 AM (EDT). The title of the hearing is : "Tax Fraud by Identity Theft, Part 2: Status, Progress, and Potential Solutions." Part of the hearing involves SB 1534, one of the four bills introduced in Congress (reported on this forum in December) which if enacted, would limit access to the SSDI. (The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) is the commercial version of the Death Master File (DMF). See this website for information and for watching the hearing live on video streaming: http://tinyurl.com/7gvb8jm
original url:
http://finance.senate.gov/hearings/hearing/?id=8c908260-5056-a032-525c-4f663b8d35f8

Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) is the subcommittee chairman, main author of SB 1534 (co-sponsor is Senator Richard Durbin D-IL) and will be giving a member statement. To read the bill go to: http://tinyurl.com/75de8o9
original url:
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112s1534is/pdf/BILLS-112s1534is.pdf

Once again the genealogical community has not been invited to testify. Those testifying include Chairman Nelson, Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID) and representatives from the Internal Revenue Service, Treasury Department, National Taxpayer Advocate, Tampa Police Department, Intuit and National Branded Credit Card Association.

The hearing is a fact-finding hearing, and it is not expected that any action will be taken at this time. Briefly, the bill addresses tax fraud and establishes penalties, and user id numbers for those who file about identity fraud . Section 9 (page 6) restricts access to the Death Master File for the calendar year of the person's death and the calendar year following, disclosure of information on a deceased person listed in the DMF is prohibited unless they are certified. Certification would be done through the Secretary of Commerce and only to those who have a legitimate fraud prevention interest. The Social Security Administration would not be compelled to disclose any person in the DMF that is not certified. (The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) is the commercial version of the Death Master File (DMF).

IAJGS is in contact with the Senator Nelson's staff who also are the subcommittee staff, and has offered our assistance and shared the IAJGS statement on SSDI that was submitted in February to the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security.

When more information is available it will be posted to this forum.

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

JRI-Poland introduces new tool to graphically follow families in the records of Poland

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

Jewish Records Indexing - Poland today announced the "Surname Distribution Mapper" - a tool designed to help genealogy researchers graphically understand where their family names first appeared in the 19th century records and visualize how the family spread throughout Poland by decades from the early 1800s into the first part of the 20th century.

Stanley Diamond, JRI-Poland executive director, described the new feature as follows: Using modern mapping technology provided by Google Maps, the Surname Distribution Mapper allows users to graphically display their search results using a tree icon to indicate the number of entries found for a surname in a town's vital and other records. By running the cursor over each tree icon, a user can view a popup window displaying the number of vital record entries found in various towns in the JRI-Poland database. Clicking on the balloon brings the user to the familiar JRI-Poland search results for detailed viewing of a town's entries.

Additionally, and especially exciting for researchers, the Surname Distribution Mapper can display results for specific decades or in a "progressive mode," where tree icons appear successively by decade to give the researcher an idea of the movement of their family around Poland and the Western Ukraine.

"The Surname Distribution Mapper enables a researcher to experience visually much of what we had only been able to do conceptually," explained Robinn Magid, Lublin Archives Project Coordinator and long-time JRI-Poland board member. "Our goal is to quickly determine where a person should focus their research energy to obtain results beyond what the family's oral history might recollect."

"JRI-Poland database manager Michael Tobias has given us the gift of highlighting migration patterns and spotlighting probable 'home bases' for families. The Surname mapper takes genealogy search results to a new level," she said.

“This is yet another example of the high quality applications that are coming to Jewish genealogy websites" commented Gary Mokotoff, publisher of Avotaynu, the International Review of Jewish Genealogy. "Through records of your ancestors, it is a magnificent pictorial representation where they lived and the geographic time frame in which their records were created,” he added.

The JRI-Poland Surname Distribution Mapper is now live and can be initiated from the "search database" link on the JRI-Poland Home Page at www.jri-poland.org .

Visit www.jri-poland.org to read the announcement and begin using this special feature.

The mission of Jewish Records Indexing - Poland (JRI-Poland) is to create searchable on-line indices of Jewish records from current and former territories of Poland. Where such records are available, they may include towns that are now part of Ukraine, Lithuania and Belarus.

With more than 4.5 million records indexed, JRI-Poland is the largest online database of Jewish vital records.

JRI-Poland is an independent non-profit tax-exempt Organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Under special arrangement, the JRI-Poland web site, mailing list, and database are hosted by JewishGen.

For more information, please contact

Stanley Diamond

5599 Edgemore Avenue

Montreal, Quebec H4W 1V4

Tel: 514-484-0100

SMSDiamond@aol.com

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How To Engage the Next Generation of Genealogists (JewishGen Projects - A Model for Student Involvement)

Posted by Nolan Altman


How are we going to get younger generations interested in genealogy? Where are the future genealogists going to come from? Is there a unique method that we can employ to share with younger generations the importance documenting our family histories?  How can we let them experience the satisfaction of helping others?


Whether it’s at Board meetings of my local Jewish genealogical society (JGSLI), the IAJGS umbrella organization Board, academic institutions or providers of genealogical information, such as JewishGen, conversations on ways to engage younger generations have not yielded the tangible results we all wish for. 


However, I recently had the opportunity to help design a very successful effort that engaged college students in a genealogical project, elicited very positive student responses and resulted in more than 4,000 new records for JewishGen’s JOWBR and Memorial Plaque databases.  I’d like to share this program with you in hopes that you may consider whether you could replicate the program in your local institutions.


I am currently JewishGen’s Vice President of Data Acquisition and coordinator for the JOWBR and Memorial Plaque databases.  I also serve on the State University of New York at Albany’s Center for Jewish Studies Advisory Board.  On one of my trips to Albany, I discussed with Interim Director Prof. Barry Trachtenberg how we might be able to craft a project that would give students hands-on experience with creation of historical indices and also benefit the greater Jewish genealogical community.  Having the students help to index and photograph three local cemeteries and catalogue memorial plaques from two local synagogues fit the bill exactly. 


Prior to the class starting their project, I was invited to give a general genealogical presentation to the community sponsored by SUNY Albany’s Center for Jewish Studies and the local Albany Jewish Federation.  We attracted over 80 people in a city that does not currently have a JGS.  This was a good entre into the community and also gave those students that attended a better understanding about genealogical research and family research.


The next day, I visited Prof. Trachtenberg’s class.  The course focused on local Jewish history and the genealogical component was one of three month-long sections. In the first, the students read several overviews of the history of Albany's Jewish community. The students were required to visit several local landmarks and become familiar with the neighborhoods and their history. They learned about settlement patterns (which helped us to understand where Jews buried their dead, and why they were organized the way they were--by occupation, synagogue, etc.) The second component was the genealogical one and the third was an Independent Research project by each student that would help them to understand a component of local Jewish life in detail. The class was also accompanied by a lecture series, “Jews Along the Hudson”.


I gave a presentation to the students on the genealogical value of Jewish cemetery records.  We explained the importance of Hebrew patronymics, how to read a Jewish headstone, and prepared them for the unique engravings and symbols they would find in their fieldwork.


The class was broken up into 9 teams of 3 for this one month project.  We weren’t sure how students would accept “cemetery work” and we had to be sensitive to particular restrictions and skills among the students.  For example, were there any Kohens in the class who could not visit cemeteries but could work on the memorial plaque projects?  Could each group include 1 student who was comfortable with transliterating Hebrew names and dates with some instruction?


Under Professor Trachtenberg’s supervision, the students began their fieldwork by photographing the headstones at the local cemeteries.  Professor Trachtenberg also received permission from 2 local synagogues to gain access to their memorial plaques or Yizkor cards so those teams could proceed with their indexing.  The students used the standard excel templates provided on the website for download.


Professor Trachtenberg taught the students the basic Hebrew numbering system and worked with those groups who had difficulty with the Hebrew. Using Dropbox, students were able to upload a test template of 10 entries that I could edit and make corrections. When completed, the class was responsible for adding more than 4,000 records to JOWBR’s 2011 year-end update and the inaugural roll-out of the Memorial Plaque database. They were also able to enter the first entries from Albany, NY into the database.


One of the criteria the professor and I spoke about was getting feedback from the students at the conclusion of their assignment.  I was somewhat surprised as to how many of them gained a sincere appreciation for the work they did and that they were responsible not just creating indices, but for memorializing lives that future generations could learn about. Compared to other school projects, they came away with a real sense of satisfaction for creating something that was useful and had some historical permanence to it. 


Here is a sample of some of the student responses:
This was more than a school project that we would be graded on. The information we would be collecting and analyzing was going to one day help those that wanted to know more about their family and their ancestors. G.O.


Genealogical research was never a field of study to which I paid much attention. I never thought of the importance of knowing about my own genealogical history, let alone that of others; however, after completing the readings and lectures about genealogy and the role it plays in history, I realize that it is important to do this type of work. R.S.


The efforts our class put in to carry out this project in a complete way has not only allowed us to grow and learn, but also serves a greater purpose by giving people who want to connect to their past, the opportunity to do so. J.S.


It is a great way to give back to the community and unlike other projects I’ve had to complete throughout my educational career, at no point did I feel as though it were a waste of time. There is a sense of satisfaction knowing that your efforts can affect others in a positive way by helping them find their family history. J.M.


Upon completing my genealogical project, I cannot deny that I was quite relieved. This project was one of the more time consuming projects I have been assigned at the University, but the thing that separated this time consuming project from the other ones was that I didn’t find myself rushing to finish in the end. I found that I truly wanted to complete this project in the most accurate and best way I could. The thought that the information I recorded could be of use to at least one person attempting to trace their history, gave me the desire to try my hardest. When you know that your work will be helpful to another, it gives you that extra drive do your best. Every time I would get frustrated with translating a tombstone and was just about ready to give up (which was quite often) I remembered that the tombstone wasn’t just a rock, it was a life.  M.L.


When I was growing up, my grandparents would tell me stories of when they were growing up and how they lived. They were able to tell me so much about their parents and showed me pictures of my great-grandparents. They even showed me the letters they wrote to each other before they got married. I realized that I am very lucky to be able to know the history behind my family. The genealogical project showed me that there are many people out there who do not always have someone there to tell him or her about their ancestry. Many people are essentially in the dark about who their grandparents are and it keeps getting darker the further they try to track their family. A.J.


Due to the success of this project, we have already talked about repeating it for other classes in the upcoming semesters. (Two students that took part in the project and presentation are currently designing genealogically related independent study projects.) The project worked well for this college class and I can imagine it could be replicated on other campuses with the right direction.  I would suggest considering other schools with Judaic Studies departments, history departments with Jewish studies courses or Hillel chapters. 


Although the cemetery work takes a certain amount of independent work, I think we should also consider high school aged students or younger that could donate time to work on their synagogue’s memorial plaque projects. I’ve already had a few students submit indexed sections of cemeteries for their bar / bat mitzvah projects.  And did you know that the Boy Scouts of America have a genealogy merit badge that I’ve had two individual earn by submitting cemetery photos and indices?

The above model combines hands-on project work with an opportunity to experience one aspect of genealogical research.  Reading the students’ comments, it is clear that they understood the importance of what they were doing and developed an appreciation for genealogy at a young age.  Whether they become active or not the greater genealogical community, the exposure they received to the study of genealogy resulted in a positive experience that they may choose to build upon in the future.  And isn’t that the first step towards what we really want to achieve?


My sincerest thanks to Professor Barry Trachtenberg and his students in his fall 2011 course: American Jewish Experience at the University at Albany, State University of New York. This article originally appeared in the Spring 2012 edition of AVOTAYNU

Monday, March 12, 2012

Maps Online

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

A new search interface with over 60,000 historic maps is now available online. It is a joint project between the Great Britain Historical GIS, Portsmouth University and Klokan Technologies. Current contributors include the David Rumsey Map Collection, the British Library, the Moravian Library, the National Library of Scotland and more collections are expected by the end of 2012 including the New York Public Library, Harvard University and more. The website is www.oldmapsonline.org/. This information was originally posted at: http://tinyurl.com/7zmkkde
original url:
http://genealogy.about.com/b/2012/03/07/old-maps-online-a-new-way-to-locate-historical-maps.htm

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

Ancient Jewish Documents Found In Afganhistan Up For Auction in London

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

Tablet Magazine reports, a trove of ancient Jewish papers found in Afghanistan have been smuggled out and are up for auction in London. The documents help document a lost Jewish community.

The manuscripts in this latest cache are all said to date from the 11th century and indicate the presence of a sizable Karaite community in the country. The commercial documents could prove to be particularly important as they will hopefully give more understanding of Jewish trade links and land ownership. Afghanistan's Jewish heritage is ancient. When Arab Muslim armies swept into the area in the mid-8th century CE, they encountered a well-established Jewish community known as Jahudan or al-Yahudan al-Kubra, or the Great Jewry, whose inhabitants claimed to be descendants of Jews displaced by the fall of Jerusalem in 597 BCE. The Arabs renamed the town Maimana. Maimana's Jews were mainly traders, engaged in the transcontinental commerce of the Silk Road, for their town straddled the main caravan route between Herat and Balkh. Maimana also had strong commercial links with Merv, Khiva, and Bukhara, all of which had fairly large Jewish populations. The Jews of Afghanistan were also money-lenders, brokers, and bankers. In Jam, in central Afghanistan, more than 70 Jewish gravestones have been recorded in the area, the headstones range from 1012 to 1220 CE. By the 1830s, life for Afghanistan's Jews was increasingly difficult. Dynastic wars, conscription, intolerance, extortion, and the collapse of the overland trade led to many Jews quitting Afghanistan for good.

To read more see: http://tinyurl.com/7g87hqh

Original url:
http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and-culture/books/92443/war-papers/?utm_source=Tablet+Magazine+List&utm_campaign=95f95ce783-February_29_20122_29_2012&utm_medium=email

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

American Jewish Joint Distribution Archives On-Line

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

The New York Times reported on March 3 about the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee providing digital access to its treasure trove of archival materials. To read the article go to: http://tinyurl.com/7wc2shw
original url:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/03/nyregion/jewish-archives-on-20th-century-diaspora-are-going-online.html?emc=eta1

There will be a searchable index for every document, photograph and record card, an essential tool considering that the Joint's archives contain over 500,000 names and 100,000 photographs. To search the archives go to: http://archives.jdc.org/

Thank you to Paul Silverstone, IAJGS treasurer and IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee Member to alerting us to the New York Times Article.

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

Update: KehilaLinks

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 Peter A. Dreifuss
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Created by Susana Leistner Bloch
Webmaster:  Edward Rosenbaum
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Created by Gary S. Ghertner
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Created by Sherwin L. Sokolov
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Created by Avraham Yehoshua Kahana
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Created by Michael Gordy
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Created by Bruce Brown
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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 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.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

New York Public Library Digitizing the 1940 Telephone Directories For Use With 1940 Census

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

The New York Public Library (NYPL) is digitizing all of the 1940 New York City telephone directories. They plan to have them available on their website at the time of the 1940 US census release --April 2, 2012. There will be a separate website for this, but at this time that url is not known. However, there will be a link to that website at the time from the NYPL. Go to: www.nypl.org and in the search box type in 1940 telephone directories. When on the NYPL website search box make certain that the NYPL.org button is clicked "not" the catalogue.

For those of us with family in New York City in 1940 this will be an invaluable tool to help with location for searching the 1940 census as it will not be name indexed when first released. Name indexing will take at least six months and different organizations will be working on name indexing. In order to search before the name index is available one needs to know location of the person being researched. Also be aware that in 1940 not everyone could afford a telephone, and therefore, it is possible that the person(s) you are searching may not be found in the telephone directories.

The NYPL digitized telephone directory release will be a seamless tool as they are working with Steve Morse with the "One-Step Website", which will help with the locational tools necessary to find the correct Enumeration District (ED) on the census [ www.stevemorse.org ].

In addition, the NYPL is holding an event on March 24 called the Road to the 1940 Census: In search of your family history (www.nypl.org/1940census). The keynote speaker is Dr. Robert Groves, Director of the US Census. Other key speakers include Constance Potter, The Senior Genealogy Specialist at the Research Support Branch of NARA in Washington, DC, and others. Due to the overwhelming response to this program, the NYPL has moved the event to a larger venue...but RSVP's are still required. The event is free of charge. This program is being presented by the New York Public Library, the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, and the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society.

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

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Yizkor Books Update: February 2012

Posted by Lance Ackerfeld

To begin with, I am very excited to inform you that no less than 5 new Translation Project funds were initiated over this last month:

  • Briceni, Moldova
  • Jadow, Poland
  • Sierpc, Poland
  • Smarhon (Smorgon), Belarus
  • Sokyryany (Sekiryani, Bessarabia), Ukraine
Now, for those aren't familiar with the concept, the Translation Funds are set up to collect donations for the professional translation of the Yizkor Books.


Since finding a skilled volunteer translators capable of taking on the translation of a whole book is usually not realistic, our recommendation is to set up a fund, within JewishGen, into which all of those people interested in a particular community book can help support its translation and for which donations are tax-exempt for US citizens. So if there is a book you would like to see translated, please contact me and I'll explain the ins and outs of how these fund work.


Other good news this last month was the kind donation to the Yizkor Book Project of the Kielce, Poland book "The Martyrdom and Extermination of the Jews in Kielce During World War II" by Prof. Krzysztof Urbanski, the first sections of which have already been added. Please note that in recent times we have received a number of complete books which are, slowly but surely, being added into our Yizkor Book projects.


And on completed books, the first books to roll out of our Yizkor Books in Print Project will very shortly be available. If you wish to know further about this project, please visit this pagewhich has all you would like to know about this steadily growing project.


Before detailing last month's statistics, I would personally like to wish you all a joyful Purim and suggest that if you have a chance, read some of the many recollections of this holiday in our online Yizkor Books. In some small way, we are keeping up the fond memories of this vibrant Jewish holiday in those multitudes of communities that no longer exist.

As far as the February figures go, we added 8 new projects, and updated 27 ongoing projects. All additions and updates have been flagged at http://www.jewishgen.org/Yizkor/translations.html to make it easy to find them. 

Auschwitz barrack could stay in Washington till next year Auschwitz barrack could stay in Washington till next year

Click here to read the entire article.

Vatican reveals documents on pope Pius XII and the Jews


From the European Jewish Press
The Vatican on Wednesday unveiled secret documents aimed at showing controversial pope Pius XII's attention to the persecution of the Jews and promised the full archives would be opened soon. 
The documents are part of an unprecedented exhibition in Rome of rare Vatican archives spanning centuries of history and include a report from a papal envoy on the conditions inside seven internment camps in southern Italy.   
Another document is a letter from a formerly interned rabbi in 1942 who thanks the then head of the Roman Catholic Church for sending aid to the camp including clothes and linen.   
A third document is from former Jewish detainees who met with the pope for an audience in 1944 and expressed their gratitude for his support.   
They said the pope had sent "substantial and generous gifts and demonstrated his keen and paternal interest in our physicial, spiritual and moral wellbeing" and said he had saved them from the threat of deportation to Poland in 1942.   
The Vatican's second in command, Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, visited the opening of the exhibition on Wednesday and said he had been most struck by the documents relating to the papacy of Pius XII.   
Bertone said the documents were part of efforts for "historical truth", adding: "The research on the period of Pius XII has so far generated more than two million files and information about prisoners of war".   
The head of the Vatican archives, Sergio Pagano, also said the full archive from Pius XII would be made available "within one or two years".   
"The final decision however depends on the pope," he told reporters.   
"Benedict XVI's willingness to accelerate the opening, also as a way of silencing dissonant voices... can only benefit the Church," he said.   
Pius XII has been put on the path to sainthood by German-born Pope Benedict XVI, 85, who briefly served in the Hitler Youth and was later drafted into the armed forces. Jewish groups accuse Pius XII of having failed to speak out against Nazi crimes.   
The Catholic Church argues that Pius in fact saved many Jews who were hidden away in religious institutions, and that his silence during the Holocaust was born out of a wish to avoid aggravating their situation. 
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