Genealogy

Ancestry.com researches

I mentioned yesterday that I signed up for a 14-day trial period with Ancestry.com. It has proven very useful so far, turning up various census and death records. If it continues to be useful, I will have to consider paying the very expensive membership fee--more than $300 a year or about $40 a month for access to their worldwide databases. I'm going to try to get as much use of it as I can in the trial period.

JewishGen-Ancestry deal called an alignment of interests

The big news at this year's IAJGS meeting was the Tuesday night announcement of an alliance between JewishGen.org and Ancestry.com. While an announcement was expected, the details of the relationship go deeper than I had imagined.

Under the deal, Ancestry will make much of the content of JewishGen databases freely available on the Ancestry site, develop new search capabilities that will make that data more accessible, and take over the hosting of JewishGen's site. Except for technical services, JewishGen will continue to operate independently.

A translator's cautionary tale

On August 4, I received a reply to my inquiry from Miriam Samsonowitz, the translator of Toledot Yitzhak. She wrote:

Wild goose chase

Walt, Sorry you had to take time for a mission that came up empty. I guess that comes with the genealogy territory. You have to be careful not to jump to conclusions. In this case we had a Joseph and Lena Rabinowitch buried together in a Queens cemetery, with no additional data other than their burial dates. Now of course there were many, many Joseph Rabinowitzes in New York in the relevant years, and there were quite a few Lena Rabinowitzes as well. Where I went wrong was in assuming that a married Joseph and Lena would automatically be our family.

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