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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

While I Was On the Roof...

I've been busy since last weekend putting a new roof on my great-aunt's garage, but I'm pretty sure I haven't missed any big genealogy news. Except that THE WHOLE FREAKING GENEALOGICAL WORLD HAS CHANGED!

Here's a rundown of the week's biggest announcements:

  • FamilySearch announced a Records Access program that will speed up indexing of digitized records and help archives and heritage societies bring their collections online.
  • More than 4,500 FamilySearch Family History Centers will get free access to WorldVitalRecords.com and FamilyLink.com, and also to Kindred Konnections and the Godfrey Memorial Library website. Selected centers will soon have access to HeritageQuest Online as well.
  • Footnote.com is publishing full Revolutionary War pension files online, and offering free access at Family History Centers.
  • The final obstacles to cracking open the Holocaust archive at Bad Arolsen have been overcome. There is a lengthy article about the archive in this week's U.S. News & World Report that warns researchers to pack a lunch:
    So far, two thirds of the archive has been scanned. Yet genealogists and historians hoping for quick answers may be in for a letdown. Though the Nazis were enthusiastic recordkeepers, their crimes took place in more than a dozen countries, and victims spoke every language on the continent. The ITS has 849 different spellings of the name "Abramovich" alone. Even birthdates are unreliable. "People lied about their birthdays to seem older so they could survive selections at Auschwitz," notes Gabriele Wilke, an ITS archivist.
    Schelly at Tracing the Tribe has blogged about further limitations on access to be imposed by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The Museum responded to criticisms on Wednesday.

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