Genealogy in the news

Genealogy when it comes to those not involved in ancestry research

Wednesday, April 2, 200810:11:53 CET
Stephen Fry in WDYTYA episode on show in LA

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Pamela W. of the Jewish Genealogical Society of LA sent a kind invitation to their upcoming meeting on Apr 13 to the H-SIG @ JewishGen. The event is going to include two episodes of BBC's popular Who Do You Think You Are? show. One of them features Britain's celeb actor, writer and host Stephen Fry. "Stephen Fry seems as English as tweed, silver toast racks and the London black cab he can be seen driving around the streets of the capital." On the maternal side Stephen's roots (the Neumann/Newman family) go back to the Jewish community of (Nagy)Surany in the former Nyitra County of Hungary, now Suran in Slovakia.

I've just checked HipCat's extensive catalog of famous Hungarians to see if Stephen Fry is included. He is not.

filed under: Jewish research Genealogy in the news


Saturday, June 30, 200723:08:37 CET
Family Memory Program - paused

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Reading about the pause of the Family Memory Program of Hungary's Ministry of Education in an article about the growing popularity of online genealogy research (Hungarian) prompted me to visit the site. Only to find out that "on May 17, 2007 the operation of the Family Memory Program has been suspended for an unknown period". So what? Is this the end of that service?

The news item of June 29, 2007 on the Hungarian National Archives site offers the relief: the Archives started to fix the technical troubles and they hope to resume to normal operation by 1 August or earlier.

filed under: Online resources Genealogy in the news Education

Sunday, November 5, 200615:44:34 CET
Jordan Auslander - the man of the street on RootsTelevision

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RootsTelevision was launched a few weeks ago. They offer clips to help genealogy research. Family history promoter, Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak (the lady with Rusyn ancestry) is one of staff behind RootsTelevision.

It was refreshing to discover Jordan Auslander as one of the people in the clips. He actually has two clips on the site as of today. (I'm sure there are more to come.)

I know Jordan's name as an ocassional poster on the listserv of H-SIG of Jewishgen, and also for his book Genealogical Gazetteer of the Kingdom of Hungary. Put the surname Auslander and Hungary into the search form of your favorite online bookshop to find a copy of the book. Jordan has ancestry in the Zakarpattia part of the Ukraine, the former NE part of Hungary.

Both of his clips on RootsTelevision were taken in a busy New York street. He talks about how to approach relatives and how important it is to interview them.

To find his appearances go to RootsTelevision, click on the Roots Living tab, then to the Shorts: Heir Jordan, Extreme Genealogy and Extreme Genealogy 2.

Hey, there is even a backdoor to RootsTelevision:
Extreme Genealogy (1), and Extreme Genealogy 2.

filed under: Online resources Genealogy in the news Education

Sunday, August 14, 200509:26:43 CET
Diosdfa.hu

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Similarly to Soroksár, Diósd is an old settlement with Danubeswabian ancestry around Budapest.

Not like the sad news from Soroksár, Diósd has something that would bring a smile on every genealogist's face. Enthusiasts living in Diósd started a website with comprehensive info on the ancestries of their inhabitants. Diosdfa.hu (available in Hungarian and in German) provides B/M/D records from church matricula, hundreds of old photographs showing people, events, buildings - everything connected to Diósd.

Well done!

filed under: Databases Genealogy in the news Clubs, associations

Sunday, August 14, 200507:14:24 CET
Family Memory Program - some thoughts

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As mentioned here, the Family Memory Program was launched late June this year. In short, the core of the program is a web application that allows registered users to enter their ancestry data along with related files, like pictures etc. The program would be promoted in secondary schools to encourage students to collect their family memories.

I'm not sure what direction it will take, so far it seems like a "botched" project. Here are my three reasons why.

Communication. The program received wide media coverage at its launch here in Hungary. The news was met with the latent interest of many (adult) people in their family history. So, instead of the expected audience (secondary school students), many and many fellows from older generations visited the site, registered and started to use it. The site missed its target, at least this is how it looks now. OK, let's give it some time, Autumn might bring students to the service.

Word from the ombudsman. One of the main reasons of the late launch of the project was that the ombudsman (employed to protect privacy) entered the scene and expressed his concerns about handling of the information to be entered into the software. Finally, the Hungarian National Archives was appointed as the repository for the database. So far, so good. But. During the talks between the ombudsman and the National Archives the ombudsman was reportedly adamant in his privacy concerns. As of now, a registered user can only see what he/she enters into the software. Several people on the site's message board voiced their wish to see if there are any connections between the data they entered and that of others. Now they get the distressing answer: not allowed, not possible. Wouldn't it be a major benefit to connect families? Probably would. In my eyes, this could be achieved by a simple step: information related to, say, 4 or 5 generations, or 100 years back might be released, while newer data could be protected. I don't think the ombudsman would oppose it. Of course, making the software capable of that would require further Forints to be passed to the contracted developer.

Technical things. Not counting the minor glitches people report on the site's message board, the main shortage of the software is that it is not gedcom friendly: one can't import and export data in the gedcom format. In this closed system the user is bound both in data entry and then in processing and displaying of the records.

On the bright side: during the first month more than 10,000 people registered for the service, and the director of the National Archives would like to sit down with the ombudsman and seek the solution for the privacy issues.

After all, the above bashing nothwithstanding, I wish good luck for the program and hope to report positive developments in future.

filed under: Online resources Genealogy in the news Education

Monday, July 4, 200517:42:23 CET
Family Memory Program on its 5th day

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As mentioned here, the Family Memory Program here in Hungary finally went online this last week. Family Memory Program is an initiative to foster family history research in Hungary with the main target group of secondary school students. The tool it provides is an online family tree building application with the abilities to attach documents to family members on the tree.

While not 100%, I feel somewhat inclined to call a fiasco - so far. Here is the timeline, an account of what has happened so far.

Having passed the years (2003, 2004) of promise, the program was opened by Hungary's minister of education on June 29, 2005. As almost all the media had some coverage of the event, the server of the project became unavailable after its announcement. (There are still hiccups in its availability.)

I've collected a bouquet of news entries dealing with the subject. Here they come, in no particular order: Magyar Nemzet Online (rightish daily), MTV (Hungarian Public Television), PrimOnline (major Hungarian tech site), Terminal (another larger Hungarian tech site), Radio.hu (Hungarian Public Radio), Múlt-kor (Hungary's most developed popular history site). Surprisingly, one of the sponsors of the project, the Association of History Teachers covered it only on its 3rd day, and what is even stranger is that the sites of the two other main sponsors: Ministry of Education and Hungarian National Archives don't have a shear mention of the project in their news sections.

Apparently the creators wanted to take off before the major summer vacation season would kick off - at offices. School has been over since mid-June, so, not many students might have been hit by this opportunity. Maybe the timing is good, considering that the server is already overwhelmed. Don't know how it'll be able to handle the crowds coming back in September.

OK, 'nugh said for this entry, will continue soon.

filed under: Online resources Genealogy in the news Education

Wednesday, June 29, 200520:27:13 CET
Breaking news... Family Memory Program started

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Just saw it on a news program of the Hungarian Public Television (MTV): the Family Memory Program sponsored by the Hungarian Ministry of Education is finally taking off. It's called "Családi Emlékezet", and is a part of the National Memory program.

The Family Memory Program was first announced in Jan 2003. It was planned to be started in September 2003, followed by several postponed dates.

The homepage of the program is not available at the moment. It might be overwhelmed, or not yet functioning.

I'm watching its development and also the news covering it and will blog about it probably several times these following days.

filed under: Online resources Genealogy in the news Education

Friday, March 12, 200419:07:42 CET
Original matricula of Pilisvörösvár stolen

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AKUFF president forwarded this message from Rudolf Keszler to the Csaladtortenet mailing list

It has been confirmed that the first volume of the R. C. B/M/D church records (starting in 1693) of Pilisvörösvár had been stolen 2 years ago. Authorities had been contacted, but the fate of the old document is still unknown.

Rudolf Keller is working on the genealogy database of this place. As many of the details of the microfilm taken from the original are really difficult to decipher, once some of these data might emerge somewhere they could give a trace to the original.

Anybody having any info on this please contact Mr. Keszler or the AKUFF president.

filed under: Genealogy in the news

Sunday, February 29, 200409:19:11 CET
Pro genealogists working on celebrity trees

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Sorin Fortiu's GenealogRO Group of Timisoara, Romania was asked to do a research of Johnny Weismüller's tree. Johnny was known in the 1920s for his swimming performance, and then, probably even more known for his Tarzan films. Weismüller's autobiography and official papers had that he was born in Pennsylvania. Sorin's research revealed that Johnny was born into a Danubeswabian family in what was then Hungary's Banat region, now Romania. Read the story here.

US presidential candidate John Kerry was believed to have an Irish-American family from Massachusetts. In February 2003, following the research done upon commission from the Boston Globe newspaper Ing. Felix Gundacker reported his findings. According to it, Kerry's grandfather, Frederick A. Kerry was born as Fritz Kohn to Jewish parents in a small town in what is now the Czech Republic (then Austria-Hungary). Read Gundacker's posting.

filed under: Jewish research German research Austria Genealogy in the news Education Clubs, associations

Sunday, January 11, 200413:10:02 CET
"Day of the County" celebrations in Somogy County with a giant chart

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There is a traditional festivity event in Somogy County, called the Megyenap ("Day of the County"). This year it is organized for early January. One of the attractions of this recent one is a 13 meters (29 feet) wide chart showing the genealogies of European royal families since 740. (another link)

filed under: Genealogy in the news

Sunday, January 11, 200400:07:21 CET
Hungary's daily reports on preparations of the "Family Memory" program

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Big thanks go to Steve (the Great) of the index.hu board for this find. Hungary's popular daily Népszabadság writes about the "Családi Emlékezet" (Family Memory) initiative of the Hungarian Ministry of Education - at last!

There has been almost no coverage on the subject. Now, according to the article, plans are drawn to provide a software with the help of which students will be able to record all the things in their families' memory. Something like a genealogy software, it seems. Disputes about privacy issues have been started, and will, for sure, produce more publicity.

filed under: Genealogy in the news

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