Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wishing You a Sweet New Year

Dear Friends.

As we approach Rosh Hashanah (which begins at sundown on Wednesday, September 4th – the earliest it has been in 115 years!) we are excited to share with you some of the latest news at JewishGen.

Here are some brief highlights from the past half year (please read all the way down):

Spring Brunch
• Karen Franklin and Gary Mokotoff were “Guests of Honor” at JewishGen’s inaugural Spring Brunch.
• Lance Ackerfeld (from the Yizkor Book project) was recognized as
the our first ever “Volunteer of the Year.”
• Pictures and speeches can be accessed elsewhere on our facebook page.

International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) Conference in Boston.
• The IAJGS recognized our KehilaLinks project for its “outstanding contribution to Jewish Genealogy.” Special Mazal Tov to KehilaLink coordinators Susana Leistner Bloch and Barbara Ellman.
• JewishGen had a strong presence at the conference with more than 80 JewishGen related presentations.
• JewishGen debuted its new video “This is JewishGen” to favorable reviews. Click here to watch the video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nASSn4rDXh4

French SIG
The French SIG, for the first time, has received permission to index a large cemetery in France, and they are working with the Cercle de Genealogie Juive of Paris to incorporate records they have obtained over the years.

Hungarian SIG
• 36,000 new records have been added from 16 towns throughout present day Hungary, Romania and Sub-Carpathia.
• Maramaros Tax Census Records from 1815, 1820-1821, and 1826 are almost all complete and should be online within the next couple of months.
• Work on the Szatmar (Satu Mare – presently in Romania) is almost complete.
• Received the first batch of records from the Miskolc cemetery. Photographs will be included in JOWBR.

JOWBR (Cemetery Registry)
75,000 new records (with 21,000 photos) have been added. This means that the JOWBR project now contains more than 2 million burial records!

KehilaLinks
More than 90 new webpages were created, and 6 orphaned pages were adopted.

Memorial Plaque Project
In its initial year, the database includes close to 30,000 records from the US, Israel and British Columbia. These records come from 46 different Synagogues and other institutions.

German SIG
More than 20,000 records from Peter Lande’s German Town project have been added.

Education
We conducted 8 classes and taught more than 150 students. Courses included: Basic Genealogy, New York Genealogy, Independent Study, KehilaLinks, and Exploring the JewishGen website.

Bessarabia SIG
• 12,495 vital records were added to the database.
• More than 5,000 records from the Bendery cemetery were added.
• 788 records from the Beltsy cemetery were added.
• Work has been completed on creating a Geographical Dictionary of towns and Shtetlakh where Jews lived in Bessarabia.
• 15 translations have been completed from the “Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities in Romania, Vol.2”
• 2 Books (out of 20) have been translated from the “Bessarabia Annual Books, 1862-1914” collection.

Romania SIG
The ROM-SIG is celebrating its 20th year, and they are “on a roll!” The ROM-SIG has now added 180,600 records to the database.

Yizkor Books
• 8,500 records were added to the Necrology database.
• 17,000 records were added to the Master Name Index.
• 10 translations were completed.
• 20 new books were added
• 36 new entries were added
• 25 projects have been updated monthly

And this is not even covering half of it!

We have our work cut out for us the remainder of the year, and into next. There remain millions of records throughout the world that have yet to be digitized, indexed, and made searchable on JewishGen. Some for-profit companies seek to obtain these records, and then charge to access them. It is our belief that Jewish family research should be freely accessible, and we are doing everything we can to keep it that way.

As always, major and significant improvements (with the rapid advance of technology, these improvements are always significant) have continued to be made “behind the scenes” to help ensure an easy, powerful, and secure web experience.

Finally, and most importantly, our loyal users continued to provide us with a strong base of financial support – we received nearly 8,000 donations last year – allowing us to operate within our budget despite global economic uncertainty.

This feat was possible only because our users made a conscious decision to participate – each according to their ability – in the important service we are providing. Every single financial donor has a share in any success that results from JewishGen. While we received some donations in excess of $1,000 or as modest as $5, each was significant and important to us, and we are grateful.

As the New Year approaches, we remain confident that you and other JewishGen users will once again help support our important work to the best of your ability. Each donation makes a difference, and helps us to continue offering a service that has connected thousands of families over the past two decades.

If you are in a position to make a financial contribution to JewishGen, please click the following link- it will be greatly appreciated.
(
http://www.jewishgen.org/JewishGen-erosity/v_projectslist.asp?project_cat=55)

Regardless of your level of financial support, we are glad that you are part of the global JewishGen community – the JewishGen family – and we wish you and your family a happy and healthy new year, a Shana Tova and a K'siva V'chasima Tova.

Sincerely,

Warren Blatt - Managing Director
Michael Tobias - Vice President of Programming
Avraham Groll - Director of Business Operations

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