Friday, May 4, 200715:41:20 CET
DNA testing available in Slovakia

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I paid a short visit to the Slovak Genealogical-Heraldic Society and saw that society members could claim discount of 20% should they want to order a DNA test from DNAtest Ltd. (Bratislava). They offer various tests. The price of a 17 marker Y-DNA one is about 115 US$, and the list price of an mtDNA is the same.

filed under: Slovakia DNA and genealogy

Friday, May 4, 200715:29:22 CET
Archives days in Hungary and Slovakia

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Similarly to the timing of the (re)new(ed) websites of archivists, the Day of Hungarian Archivists and Archives Days in the Republic of Slovakia go almost parallel. The event in Budapest took place yesterday, May 3, 2007, and the conference in Zilina, Slovakia is scheduled for May 23-25, 2007.

The core subject of both conventions is digitization in archives.

I was about to register for the Budapest event, but then decided that the morsels of info I could get from the speeches covering general issues from speakers at high levels of bureaucracy would probably not worth it. Of course I missed an opportunity to socialize.

The Zilina conference looks like more promising. Little is known (at least I don't know much) about the digitization efforts of archives in Slovakia. There are some presentations with the trash words "vision", "concept", "problem", "perspective" in their titles. Now these are the ones that I'd miss. Researchers aren't expecting concepts, we'd rather see some real stuff :-).

The presentations that I'd be interested in are these:
- digitization of medieval charters (Maretta)
- digitization of large format documents (Kasiarova, Kalnovicova)
- Badatelna - archival findings aids (Bily)
- Slovakian National Archives on the web (Vimmer)
- digitization in the Banska Bystrica archives (Horvathova, Latoova).

The Slovakian association invited panelists from abroad, too. There will be speakers from Austria (Styria), Germany (Baden-Württemberg), Budapest (Budapest City Archives), Poland (Poznan), Czech Rep. (Prague), Slovenia (Ptuj).

filed under: Archives, libraries, museums Slovakia Events

Friday, May 4, 200714:36:36 CET
Archivists sites in Hungary and Slovakia

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Revisiting the previously empty site of the Association of Hungarian Archivists I notice with pleasure that the site is taking shape and starting to fill up with content. There are all kinds of news and notices about upcoming and past events etc.

Surprisingly, the website of the Association of Slovakian Archivists started also these very months. Just like its Hungarian peer, that one is full of info, too. Besides the organizational stuff one can read about the annual "Archives Days" (1997-2006), and the newsletter issues of the association (Fórum Archivárov, 2000-2001, 2005-). There is a link to the programme of the 2007 Days of Archives to be held in Zilina later in May. Perhaps that event might deserve a separate blog entry. Stay tuned.

filed under: Archives, libraries, museums Slovakia

Wednesday, May 2, 200718:30:41 CET
A couple of resources and links from Croatia

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I happened to crank up my browser and go down crossing the Drava River to see what was up in Croatia. I could find quite a few remarkable things down there.

Genealogy fans founded the Croatian Genealogy Society named after Pavao Vitezovic in June 2005. They seem to be an active group, consisting of both academic and hobby researchers. During their annual meeting in March 2007 their president announced their coming journal Rodoslovlje (Genealogy). They organized a presentation of the 2004 Slovenia made reference book Rodoslovje in April 2007. The society hosts a genealogy forum on their site, too.

I'm not quite sure following what links I found my way to Moja Bastian (My heritage). This is a Croatian firm run by young people offering printing services for family trees and heritage, biographical books. Besides their flagship products they also provide research services, done either by themselves or by their research associates.

Would they reach for international markets? Could they become competitors for's coming AncestryPress?

The last part of my virtual Croatia trip took me to the Zagreb City Cemetery website. If the visitor clicks on the "English" (s)he will be presented with an English language brochure about the cemetery. It's better not to fear to enter the Croatian (hrvatski) page and to click on the "Trazilica" link on the right menu. This will bring up a search form. Well, one can search the database of not only the main cemetery, but all the Zagreb ones. My sample searches brought up burials back from the 1910s, so, the database might cover the records from the opening of the cemetery (1876). The English brochure mentions 300,000 burials. How to search? Put the surname into the "Prezime" field, and hit "Pretrazi!". One thing I notice is that it's not possible to jump further from the 1st page of hits. To truncate the search one can use the % sign to stand for several characters or the _ sign for one character. The system requires the use of proper Croatian accented letters. If you are to lazy to produce them, just use the % or _ characters.

filed under: Databases Cemeteries Croatia Clubs, associations

Wednesday, May 2, 200717:36:09 CET
How to identify Jewish families in the period before surnames were acquired?

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The Apr 29, 2007 issue of Nu? What's New? provides a list of articles to appear in the Spring 2007 issue of Avotaynu. According to the newsletter, "Carole Vogel and Yitzchok Stroh push past the brick wall that exist for the time prior to the period when Jews acquired hereditary surnames; circa 1800. The authors demonstrate that with sufficient data there are enough clues to identify individuals without surnames. The article is titled “Constructing a Town-Wide Genealogy: Jewish Mattersdorf, Hungary, 1698–1939.”"

That could easily be an interesting read for family historians seeking Jewish ancestry in the Habsburg Empire.

filed under: Jewish research

Wednesday, May 2, 200712:06:59 CET
19th mapping of the River Danube online and on DVD

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Continuing from the previous entry.

Digitized 1819-1833 map sheets of the River Danube from Devin near Bratislava - Pozsony down to Novi Sad are now available online on the Duna-Mappáció site, thanks to the joint efforts of the Ethnography Dept of the Univ of Pécs and the Hungarian National Archives. There is also a DVD that can be ordered for about 50 US$ from the publisher.

To see the sheets Internet Explorer is needed, and also an ActiveX control, Autodesk's MapGuide. No luck for FireFox, Safari etc. users.

With the proper setup one can navigate between the sheets either using the icons on the screen (zoom, pan) or use the list and descriptions of the sheets' contents.

filed under: Online resources Books, mags, CD-s, DVD-s Paragenealogy

Wednesday, May 2, 200711:31:17 CET
Arcanum stepping up with the DVDs of the 3rd Military Survey and OSZK maps

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Timed to the annual Budapest Book Festival - and as expected for this year - Arcanum came out with the DVDs of the maps of the 3rd Military Survey. They now offer DVDs with two series of the originals: 752 sheets of the 1:75,000 scale series, and 1333 sheets of the 1:25,000 scale series are both available for purchase. The 1:25,000 one covers historical Hungary (Transylvania and Croatia included), while the DVD cover of the 1:75,000 series suggests that it has the maps for Bosnia, as well. (sample of the 1:25,000, sample of the 1:75,000) Both versions are georeferenced.

The DVDs are not cheap. List price of the 1:75,000 is about 200 US$, that of the 1:25,000 is about 330 US$. However, Arcanum does offer discounts at special events, periods or they throw in some free stuff every now and then.

Anyway, there is a shift in their target market. Their relatively cheap (when compared to contents) genealogy and local history publications have been popular with genealogists and other individuals. I can't imagine the situation, though, that someone interested in 4-5 places would buy the map DVD for $200. So, Arcanum is probably selling them to institutions like libraries, agencies and authorities. A couple of years ago I approached Arcanum SEO, Mr. Biszak, letting him know about my interest to licence Arcanum materials to be provided to RadixIndex subscribers. He didn't believed in the profitability of the online service, some way, though, they launched Arcanum Online. Using this service all the textual publications of Arcanum was available for individuals for a monthly fee of about 25 US$. I can't find it on their website now, it seems to be gone (remodelling?).

The other novelty at Arcanum these days is the box with two double-layer DVDs containing the digitized manuscript maps of the National Széchényi Library. Some 3000 maps can be found in the 16 GB capacity of the DVDs. Maps of the Danube and Tisza rivers are not on the DVD, because they are to be published separately. And the next blog entry will reveal the mapping of Danube. Stay tuned.

filed under: Books, mags, CD-s, DVD-s Genealogy industry Paragenealogy

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