Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento www.jgss.org June 4, 2006 Mark Your Calendars for June 19: Our next meeting, at 7 p.m. Monday evening, June 19, willMessage 1 of 4 , Jun 4, 2006View Source
June 4, 2006
Mark Your Calendars for June 19: Our next meeting, at 7 p.m. Monday evening, June 19, will feature area genealogist Pam Dallas on "Making the Most of Cemetery Research." Pam will share tips on how to conduct cemetery research from home, how to prepare for a cemetery visit and how to obtain more information during your visit. Related records will be discussed as well as how to understand and use all the clues from your research.
Genealogy Interest Growing: According to a recent national survey, 73 percent of Americans are interested in finding out more about their roots, up from 60 percent in 2000. Use of the Internet is increasing as a basic genealogy search tool: a quarter of those surveyed became interested after looking for a family surname online. The survey was done by Market Strategies Inc. For more info: http://myfamily.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=press_releases&item=50
Can't Find Uncle Harry in the Census? This recent story reported in RootsWeb Review offers one overlooked reason that someone cannot be located in a particular census.
"Check the Hoosegow: Robert Hendrickson does not appear in the 1890 census? According to a newspaper article in the Decatur, Illinois Review on December 20, 1890,
Hendrickson was arrested and charged with refusing to answer the questions of a census enumerator. Hendrickson also assaulted the enumerator when urged to give the required information. Makes you wonder what he was hiding or hiding from."
What Century? And from the Daily Astorian in Oregon, an excerpt from a notice of an upcoming speaker at the Clatsop County Genealogical Society. Doug Sailor, a resident of Morgan Hill, CA and South Bend, WA will share examples of his own published 300-page personal genealogy. His wife's family history traces back to 100 A.D. …."
May 15 Meeting Notes
New Officers Elected: Vice-President Burt Hecht called the meeting to order in Mark Heckman's absence. He then noted that elections should take place at this time.
Burt Hecht was nominated for president, with the motion seconded. The other officers on the slate were Mort Rumberg, vice president; Allan Bonderoff, treasurer; and Susanne Levitsky, secretary. The slate was elected by a majority vote of those present. Many thanks to Mark Heckman for his service during two terms as president.
Allan Bonderoff presented the treasurer's report: there is $1,530.55 in our account.
Marv Freedman noted that in going through the holdings in our library, there is definitely use for a laptop computer. It is also used for speaker presentations (such as the last meeting, where Mark Heckman brought in his own) and goes along with a projector. Marv moved that we look into buying a laptop. The motion was seconded. Bob Wascou said the purchase would likely be less than $500.
Bob noted that for the last few weeks, he has joined Mark Heckman, Burt Hecht, Marv Freedman and Lester Smith in working on organizing our library collection. We have changed from a Dewey Decimal system approach to a categories approach -- travel, "how to," Holocaust, history, fiction, maps, name of country, etc.
We are still missing some books -- members are urged to search their home libraries to see if they may have inadvertently kept a volume or two.
Only paid members can borrow books, and they are due at the next meeting.
Lester Smith showed several books that are being donated to the library: Polish Jews: A Pictorial History; Pioneer Jews of the Far West; Belarus and Moldova; Genealogical Gazetteer of Hungary.
The Einstein Center was thanked for allowing us to have our meetings and library holdings housed at the Center. Les Finke, executive director of the Einstein Center, responded that the screen purchased last year by the JGSS and shared with the Einstein Center, "is one of the greatest things you've done for us."
Art Yates noted that death records from the State of Missouri are available for $1, but it has generated a request for more than 1/2 million records. The processing time is now 12-14 weeks.
May Speaker -- Les Finke
Les Finke of the Einstein Center presented the May program, "Creating Family Video Documentaries." Due to technical difficulties, he was not able to show any videos, but discussed successful techniques he has used over the years.
Les said he came to the Einstein Center Residence Center in 1981. Growing up, he said his grandmother lived with the family and he was exposed to the "wonderful art of storytelling."
"So many seniors were taking their stories to the grave," he said. He made a video of one resident, Sonia Hornstein, who lived to be 100. "It was incredible watching her watching her own photos and related film footage such as Ellis Island. I thought 'wow," I'm really on to something."
So in 1985, Les starting taping people and putting together videos. He used photos from family albums, but then intertwined them with family members sharing their thoughts. For one resident in a hospice, Les was able to produce a personal video just days before the person passed away. "It generated a dialogue for the family that flowed afterwards, just priceless," he said.
A video is one way to convey your appreciation to a family member, he said, if maybe you don't feel comfortable face-to-face.
Les was involved in the 2005 production of a video featuring a concert of the Sacramento Youth Symphony playing music of the Holocaust, together with taped memories and photos.
How do you capture someone? Les says he puts the camera on a tripod and uses a lapel microphone for good audio quality --"don't use the mike on the camera." He said you also want good lighting.
"Don't ask too much of an open-ended question" or the person can go off on many tangents, making the piece hard to edit. Les also holds up numbers for each question as he asks them, making it easier to edit.
Les does a lot of researching trying to find file footage related to what the individual talks about, along with including photos of letters, snapshots, jewelry
and other items that enhance the person's story.
"When you combine narratives with music and pictures, it's a powerful chemistry, very moving," he said.
He talked about a video he did for Sylvia Fahn's 90th birthday. "The very first thing I lay down on the tape is music," he said. "Then I take what she talks about and go to combining the words and music."
He tries to keep each topic within a two-minute time-frame by using specific questions, such as "tell me about the house you grew up in."
"I have about 25 pages of questions (the war, raising your kids, and more) -- a lot of people out there have great stories to tell. You should not wait to do this."
Les said the Einstein Center will be 25 years old this year with a celebration set for December 10. He will create a presentation with Richard Glazer using stories of the Center and its residents with music and interviews.
Les said that www.dpreview.com reviews cameras for those who want to buy one; Access Sacramento at 47th and T (456-8000) offers great courses on editing with a Mac. Picasa is a simple editing program available free through Google:
Bob Wascou noted that the JewishGen Web site has questions for oral interviews.
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See you Monday the 19th for our June meeting with Pam Dallas.
Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento _www.jgss.org_ (http://www.jgss.org) No July Meeting Next meeting: Monday, August 20, 7 p.m Report From the July SaltMessage 1 of 4 , Jul 3, 2007View Source
No July Meeting
Next meeting: Monday, August 20, 7 p.m
Report From the July Salt Lake City Conference
June 18, 2007 Notes
The meeting was called to order by President Burt Hecht in the Einstein parlor. Allan Bonderoff presented the treasurer's report -- we have a balance of $1,743.15. A very generous donation of $300 was received from the Mort and Susan Rumberg Family Fund.
Mark Heckman noted that we will have bar codes in our library for both our books and our members, making it easier to track our collection and what's been borrowed.
Mort Rumberg gave a brief overview of upcoming meetings. We won't meet in July due to the Salt Lake City conference, but the August meeting will feature a report back from the four members attending: Mark Heckman, Lester Smith, Bob Wascou and Art Yates.
In September, we'll hear from Gary Froelich of Los Angeles about DNA as a Diagnostic Tool. In October Pam Dallas will return and focus on Beginning Genealogy Research. In November, Carol Baird will discuss German Jewish genealogy. And in December, Aaron Kornblum will tell us about the Western Jewish Center at the Magnes Museum.
Burt talked about his success, through the Carnegie Library Web site, in finding the Jewish Criterion newspaper for the Pittsburgh, PA area. Online are editions from the 1910s to the 1940s. He found a story about the police commissioner related to his family.
Mort Rumberg and Bob Wascou also praised the site -- Mort found a photo of a young cousin accepted to med school in the 1940s; Bob also found information on a cousin active in the Pittsburgh area.
Teven Laxer serves on a Public Records Access committee and is tracking legislation in California, New Jersey and Florida, relating to access to birth, death and marriage records. Nothing major is happening currently in the U.S., but there are efforts of various kinds underway in Canada and New Zealand where some of us do research.
In a vote taken at the meeting, the group voted to reelect all of the officers for an additional year, with Burt Hecht continuing on as president.
June Program -- Linda Katz Mendoza
The Art of Storybooking and Digital Scrapbooking
JGSS member Linda Katz Mendoza presented our June program on "The Art of Storybooking and Digital Scrapbooking." Linda works a consultant for Heritage Makers which publishes a variety of scrapbooks, journals, calendars, posters and more using your photos and text.
"It's online publishing, helping you take your information, graphics and photos and put them into volumes you can pass on to your family," Linda said. "This is a way to capture your family's legacy and send it forward, so it won't be forgotten."
"You were there, you mattered and you're remembered," she said.
Linda said people often assume they can always ask their parents about the family history, but they won't always be around to share it. Linda lost her mother when she was 12, so had even less opportunity than most of us to learn about her family's history.
Linda said she learned about Heritage Makers publishing system through a presentation to the Roseville Genealogical Society, to which she belongs.
She showed a video produced by Heritage Makers and also numerous samples of books in various formats. "Here's the first book I ever wrote, G.I. Jamie," she said, holding up a book about her son's military journey from boot camp to Korea and back home. "It took about two hours to do."
And anyone can put together a book, Linda said, including children. "It's even simpler than I thought it would be, whether you're computer-savvy or not."
She said once you begin putting together the books, it's hard to quit. "I started doing this a year ago and haven't slept since!" Linda said.
The publishing site can be accessed through the Internet, and you can do it while you're on vacation or back at home
Linda said she has helped people produce the books for special events, such as a baby shower that was being held on two coasts. She took photos of guests in both places, asked them for advice to include and produced a wonderful keepsake. Other events where the books could be used include graduations, reunions, birthday parties and weddings.
To begin the process using the Heritage Makers site, you activate your account, log in and begin the publishing section. There are four steps: to create a project, finalize it, place an order, select the items you want and submit the order.
When selecting your product, Linda said you have options for size of the book, type, color, "an amazing number of background layouts" and more. You can stop your work on the book and return to the project at any time. You can order just one copy, or many.
Once you complete your project and order, the file is sent to Heritage Makers for publishing, binding and shipping back to you.
"Wouldn't it be amazing that the heroes of the book your children are reading are right in your family?"
Linda said your projects can turn into creative masterpieces that will be enjoyed by generations to come -- "it's a pay-it-forward kind of opportunity."
Linda does a presentation for the Einstein Center residents once a month -- "there are fabulous stories from people who live right here," she said.
She said the books aren't limited to photos -- you can include your poetry, writings and more. "Anything flat and scannable can be put into the books."
She also mentioned that having the file with Heritage Makers gives you a secondary safe place to keep your photos archived for life. When you sign up, you get a lifetime account; there are no renewal fees.
Heritage Makers do not edit what you send -- what you submit is what gets published. You can choose to do a classic storybook or create your own layouts through digital scrapbooking (with no cutting or pasting involved). Among other choices is a templated "roots" book that goes back four generations and includes a pedigree chart at the end.
The books can range from 26 to 78 pages and have acid-free paper. There are many tutorials to help guide you through the process. Linda's role is to help facilitate the process by providing workshops, and also "I do housecalls!"
There is a $9.95 "navigation fee" to check out the site, which Linda waives if you work with her. She will be doing workshops this summer at the Einstein Center.
For more information, the Web site is www.heritagemakers.com. Linda's personal site as a consultant is www.mytreasuredkeepsakes.com.
Hamburg Museum Opens
The Hamburg, Germany emigrant museum opened June 28 and showcases the lives of emigrants awaiting passage to the U.S. between 1850 and 1939. The BallinStadt Emigrant City, named for shipping executive Albert Ballin who built inexpensive housing for the emigrants, is housed in three re-created emigrant buildings. For more information and links to emigrant passenger lists and databases, visit www.ballinstadt.de.
From Avotaynu's E-Newsletter
The latest software permitting collaborative genealogy is PhpGedView. Collaborative genealogy is the term for the environment where many people—usually your relatives—have access to and can update data in a shared genealogical database. This is possible because PhpGedView is installed at a Web site such as your personal Web site. You, as the creator of the site, can create the level of collaboration you want to allow, including the extreme situation where only you can update the database.
PhpGedView is available in 25 languages, including Hebrew. This allows relatives all over the world to use the site in their native language. Because the data is stored on the Internet, it's accessible apart from the users' operating environment, be it Windows, Macintosh, Linux or other.
The creators of PhpGedView state that the system includes full Hebrew translation, Jewish calendars with yahrzeits; the ability to specify dates, names, and titles in Hebrew or other languages; and soundex searches.
There is a demo version of the system at http://www.pgvhosting.com/demo. An excellent description can be found at Dick Eastman’s e-zine at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2007/02/phpgedview.html
JewishGen Holocaust Database Now Has 1.6 Million Entries
Recent additions to the JewishGen Holocaust Database have increased the collection to more than 100 datasets containing 1.6 million entries about Holocaust victims and survivors. It is located at http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/Holocaust. The additions cover a wide spectrum of data:
* 152,000 Jewish refugees from the Soviet Union who were evacuated to Tashkent and other localities in Uzbekistan in 1941–42.
* 135,000 Hungarian Jews collected by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany
* 140,000 Romanian Jews collected by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany
* 18,334 prisoners interned in the Flossenberg concentration camp in Germany.
* 2,000 Jewish medical personnel in Galicia and surrounding areas in 1940–42
* 700 Jewish refugees attempting to get to Palestine who perished when the Struma sank.
* 707 Hungarian Jewish survivors from Buchenwald concentration camp
* 567 deportees who boarded a transport train ambushed on the way to Auschwitz from Belgium in 1943.
* 200 Jews who arrived at the UNNRA refugee camp in Philippeville, Algeria, in 1945
Canadian Census Battle Looms—Again
As a concession to those who wanted the Canadian census to be kept private forever, genealogists and historians gave approval to a law that the 2006 census information would be released after 100 years if the information provider consented to its release. A question regarding consent was asked on the census questionnaire. Specifying "no" or failing to answer the question meant the information wouldn't be released. The opponents of release held hostage the 1911 census saying if the compromise weren't made they wouldn't make available the 1911 census.
Less than 56% of respondents said "yes," and now representatives of the Canadian Historical Association and a representative of the Canadian genealogical community will meet with government officials on July 15 to discuss modifying the rules in time for the 2016 census.
News from the SIGs
SIGs are Special Interest Groups focusing on geographic areas of ancestry. You can subscribe to their Discussion Groups at http://lyris.jewishgen.org/ListManager. A login is required. You can link to the SIG home pages from http://www.jewishgen.org. There are also more than 80 Jewish Genealogical Societies throughout the world; a list of these can be found at http://www.iajgs.org/Member-Index.htm.
Austria-Czech SIG. A list of burials in the Czech Republic is located http://www.cemetery.cz/english/. Go to the "List of Cemeteries" and look for those that include the word "Zidovsky,"the Czech word for "Jewish." As an example, the Jewish burials for the town of Vamberk appear to have hundreds of entries, some dating back to the period before Jews had hereditary surnames. Click on an individual and the exact date of death and sometimes the date of birth are displayed. There is a comparable site for Slovakia burials at http://www.cemetery.sk/. It seems to have much fewer Jewish burials.
German Jewish SIG. At the beginning of the 19th century, Jews in Germany were required to take hereditary surnames. These name adoptions were recorded in books, and Wolfgang Fritzsche, a German professional genealogist, has placed many of these name adoption lists on his website at http://www.a-h-b.de/AHB/links_e.htm.
Rom-SIG. Two Internet sites provide the ability to translate Romanian into English. They are http://www.dictionare.com and http://www.babylon.com/define/117/Dictionary-English-Romanian.html. Bablyon.com sells translation software for many languages. They offer free dictionaries in a multitude of languages at http://www.babylon.com/gloss/glossaries.php
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Tourism officials rooting for library
Genealogy center a nationwide draw
By Emma Downs
The Journal Gazette
June 22, 2007
New York City has the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge. Fort Wayne has the Genealogy Center.
Not quite as dramatic. But just as impressive.
With nearly 345,000 text items and 370,000 microforms in its catalog, the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center is the second largest genealogy department in the country, second only to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.
Add those figures to the center’s updates – a second floor suite at the renovated 367,000-square-foot building at 900 Library Plaza and a slew of technological enhancements – and you get one of the city’s busiest tourist destinations.
Currently, the genealogy department sees an average of 89,000 to 93,000 visitors each year, based on door count and material usage. But thanks to a partnership with the Fort Wayne/Allen County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the library hopes to raise that number to 130,000 people within the next few years, Curt Witcher, manager of the genealogy and rare books departments, says.
“Right now, we’re just working on getting the word out,” Witcher says. “About what else there is to do in Fort Wayne and what an absolutely fantastic facility this is.”
The Genealogy Center moved into its new headquarters in January and has already seen an increase in usage, Witcher says.
“There are a number of reasons for that,” he says. “The biggest impact for both the institution and for the entire library system has been the technological advancements. It’s totally wireless throughout the building. So patrons can bring their own computers and use our licensed data bases. It sounds pedestrian, but it’s golden for researchers.”
Improvements have also included scanners, digital reader printers for the microtext collection and plenty of room to spread out, Witcher says.
“It’s not that genealogists are all claustrophobic,” he says. “But it’s hard to do your research when you’re elbow to elbow. Our patrons use a lot of books and bring papers and handwritten notes with them, so they need to spread out.”
The facility offers thousands of completed family trees and access to the Salt Lake City holdings, via computer or interlibrary loan. Patrons of the library’s genealogy department have used up to 4,000 books in a single day, Witcher says.
“But most importantly, the center’s collection now has room to grow,” he says. “We’re getting close to acquiring our three-quarter-of-a-millionth item. Our collection never shrinks, it always grows. And the older it gets, the more valuable it gets. And that’s what attracts people and keeps the tourists coming back.”
In May, Witcher and library senior managers met with Dan O’Connell, president of the visitors bureau, to discuss possible ways to increase the Genealogy Center’s national profile – beginning this summer, up to 1,000 genealogists will attend the National Genealogical Society conference at the library.
“We’ve found that a lot of genealogists do their promoting by word of mouth,” O’Connell says. “So we’re hoping to position the Genealogy Center as the best place to do research east of the Mississippi.”
Recently, Family Research Magazine, a national genealogy publication, rated the local genealogy department’s staff as the “friendliest and most helpful public library employees in the nation,” O’Connell says.
“When people experience a knowledgeable staff, that’s a gold mine for genealogy research,” he says. “You can only do so much digging into local records before you run into a dead end. That’s where the staff steps up and helps out.”
O’Connell hopes to educate the population about the library through direct mail, Web sites, conferences and advertising in genealogy-focused publications. Despite the library’s reputation, there are still hurdles to getting people to Fort Wayne for the first time, he says.
“Market research has shown that everybody has a library,” he says. “So, why would we go to the library in Fort Wayne? Also, Allen County is an innocuous name. Allen County? Where? Ohio? There must be about 50 Allen counties in the nation. So we really just want to educate people about what a fantastic facility we have here.”
On average, a person who comes to
Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento www.jgss.org June 23, 2009 Upcoming Meetings: Monday, July 20 Joel Weintraub – Search Tools for the 1940Message 1 of 4 , Jun 23, 2009View Source
Jewish Genealogical Society
June 23, 2009
Monday, July 20 Joel Weintraub – Search Tools for the 1940 Census
Monday, August 17 Ron Young – Converting 35mm Slides to Digital
Monday, September 14 Jerry Unruh – Using the Internet for Genealogy
Notes from June 15, 2009 Meeting
President Mort Rumberg called the meeting to order and welcomed members and guests. He passed around the latest catalogue of genealogy-related books published by Avotaynu. “We have a lot of these books in our library, and one of the benefits of membership is you can check them out for a month at a time,” Mort said.
Mark your calendars for Saturday, October 10 -- that is Family History Day at the State Archives in Sacramento . We’ll have a table at the annual event, held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Galitzianer, the quarterly magazine of the Galicia Special Interest Group, or SIG, is looking for articles to publish. Mort says he’s submitted two and one has been published.
June 26-38 is the 40th annual Southern California Genealogy Jamboree.
Bob Wascou gave an update on the cemetery project, begun 10 years ago by Judy Persin and Iris Bachman, to document the headstones in Sacramento ’s Home of Peace Cemetery. Data collected over the years has now been transferred to an Excel format, but JewishGen also wanted photos. Mort, Bob, Mark Heckman and Burt Hecht photographed all the headstones, although not yet the nameplates on the crypts.
Bob noted that Home of Peace has now renumbered its grave sites.
Burt handed out a brochure on the DNA Shoah Project, headquartered at the University of Arizona . The effort is aimed at building a database of genetic material from Holocaust survivors and their descendants.
Mark Heckman spoke about the upcoming Philadelphia conference, and a show of hands indicated four people are planning to attend. Mark is one of the program chairs as well as the technology chair. For more information, go to www.philly2009.org. Next year’s conference is a bit closer, in Los Angeles .
Gary Sandler encouraged members to check out “The Shtetl Book” from our library. He said it uses documents from Poland to paint a picture of shtetl life. “It’s a wonderful read and full of color.”
A bank account update from Allan Bonderoff: as of June 15, we have $1400.77 in our account.
Our speaker was Anna Fechter of Utah , community operations manager for the Generations Network which oversees ancestry.com. She has been with the organization for about four years and oversees Rootsweb. She also oversees about 60 message boards.
“We are the largest online genealogy site,” Anna said,” with thousands of databases and one billion names submitted.”
Anna demonstrated some of the newest features of the ancestry.com site, including the personalized home page. New records are added pretty much every day. The “Publish” feature allows you to create your own books and posters. Check out the 1940 Census Substitute.
Anna said Ancestry.com has offices around the world, including San Francisco , Seattle , the UK , France , Germany , Australia and China .
She encouraged people to take advantage of the online webinars, hosted on a regular basis. Gary Mokotoff of Avotaynu did one recently.
Anna said last year Ancestry joined up with JewishGen, providing access to their databases. “They’ve seen a huge increase in visitors” in just a short time.
Anna highlighted the value of Ancestry’s “Card Catalogue” to get a list of all the different collections. “You can type in the word “free” and find 345 free databases, if you don’t have a subscription.”
Anna was asked if you can “weight” a search to emphasize something you know. She suggested using the “exact” box.
“Always search by individual databases, rather than just putting a name in a general search on the home page. “Then, if you find the name’s not there, you can check that one off.”
Sort through things 50 items at a time -- or if you want to do 100, you can change the number 50 to 100 in the url at the top.
“If you research with other people, here, or across the country, you’ll want to put your tree on line,” she said. It can be either public or private.
And trees are a free access item, you don’t need a subscription, but you do need to have a registered guest account.
Anna said genealogy.com was bought by Ancestry -- at the time it had better census data. It hasn’t been updated in recent years, just maintained.
The Ancestry Library Edition -- free in many libraries -- allows you to get all of the world’s records, not just U.S. records. But you can’t do personal trees or message boards from the library.
There are about 750-1,000 Ancestry staff, including contractors, at any one time, with about 600 people headquartered in Provo , Utah .
Message boards -- (“they’re wonderful,” said Mort) -- there are probably more than 60,000 total, many being surnames. And Anna said every county has a message board.
The lifesaver icon you’ll see on Ancestry means “I’ll help you,” -- the feature was added last year.
Anna mentioned the World Archives Project which encourages people to volunteer to key in records. If you key in a certain amount, you’re eligible for a discount on your Ancestry subscription.
Anna is reachable by e-mail afechter@....
From June 21 Avotaynu E-Zine
U.S. National Archives to Get Alien Registration Records
During World War II, all persons over the age of 14 residing in the United States who were aliens were forced to register. They include people who immigrated decades earlier never bothered to become naturalized citizens. These records have been in the possession of the Citizenship and Immigration Services and are now in the process of being turned over to the National Archives. These Alien Case Files (commonly referred to as A-Files) will be sent to the National Archives when 100 years have passed since the birth date of the subject of a file. At that time, they will be available to the public. The files include information such as photographs, personal correspondence, birth certificates, health records, interview transcripts, visas, applications and more. Additional information can be found at http://www.archives.gov/press/press-releases/2009/nr09-90.html.
Museum of the History of Polish Jews Creates Virtual Shtetl Site
In 1996, the Jewish Historical Institute Association in Warsaw undertook a project to build a Museum of the History of Polish Jews. It will open in 2011 on the site of the former Warsaw Ghetto. The museum will be a multimedia narrative museum and cultural center presenting the history of Polish Jews and their civilization over almost 1000 years.
The museum now has developed a Virtual Shtetl site at http://www.sztetl.org.pl/?lang=en_GB. The site development is in its infancy but already there is information about many Polish towns. Potentially each town will have subsections identifying the town’s location through maps, general history of the locality, Jewish history, demography (general and Jewish population through the years), Jewish cemeteries, places of martyrology (sites that memorialize the Jews of the town), location of archival material, bibliographies and links to other sites with information about the town. Viewers are encouraged to contribute information about the Jewish presence in the town either as text, photographs, audio or video recordings.
Using the search engine requires a bit of training. In the area just below the word Search there is a place to key in any word or portion of a word. The result is any place at the site that contains the characters in the search argument. Below the data entry field is another field to search for information about a specific town; it requires the correct spelling in Polish. Possibly to help those unfamiliar with the Polish spelling, as each character is typed, all towns at the site that start with the letters are immediately displayed. Therefore typing “Bia” is sufficient to determine they have a site for Białystok. This scheme does not work, of course, for towns whose initial letter starts with a letter that has a diacritic mark such as Łańcut.
Details can be found at http://www.jewishmuseum.org.pl/index.php?lang=en.
British Library Places 19th-Century Newspapers Online
The British Library has launched the public version of its 19th-century British Library Newspaper Web site, located at http://newspapers.bl.uk/blcs. There are some two million digitized pages with full-word indexing. Searches of the site are free and downloads of full-text articles are available by purchasing either a 24-hour or seven-day pass.
Canadian Censuses 1851–1916 Now Online
Ancestry.ca, in partnership with Library and Archives Canada, has completed the first online launch of the Canadian censuses, 1851-1916. The censuses are fully indexed and include original document images. Included are more than 32 million names and 1.3 million images of original records. Additional information can be found at http://blogs.ancestry.com/circle/? Ancestry.ca is a fee-for-service site.
Israel Genealogical Society Places Mount of Olives Cemetery Data on Internet
The Israel Genealogical Society has placed on their Web site an index to burials at the Mount of Olives cemetery in Jerusalem. The source is the book, “Helkat Mehokek,” which was published in 1913. It is a bilingual (Hebrew-English) searchable database of 8,092 tombstones, mostly covering the period between 1740–1906, although the earliest inscription dates from 1646.
The database was originally made available at the 2004 International Conference on Jewish Genealogy on CD. The English version is located at http://www.isragen.org.il/siteFiles/1/153/4977.asp. The Hebrew version is at http://www.isragen.org.il/siteFiles/13/79/5778.asp.
The actual search function is at the very bottom of each of the pages named above. These pages start with a lengthy description of the history of the index followed by guidelines for using it; scroll down the page to find the results.
New York State Newspaper Site
A number of New York State newspapers have been digitized and indexed at http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html. Of greatest interest to Jewish genealogists will be the Brooklyn Eagle. There are even more recent editions of this newspaper than on that newspaper's own Internet site. I could find no place at the site that listed which newspapers and years have been indexed, but there are Brooklyn Eagle pages into the 1950s and New York Times pages into the 1920s.