Re: My Heritage - Theory of Family Relativity #general

Jeffrey Herrmann

The only reason I signed up for MyHeritage several years ago was the marketing hype about their new Theory of Family Relativity.   I waited and waited and finally after a year or two I was notified about one Theory of Family Relativity generated by their super-duper algorithm.  It said I might be related to a third cousin I had known about for years and had myself posted to my tree on MyHeritage at least a year before their algorithm discovered her.  I haven't received another Theory from MyHeritage since.   
They talk a good game at MyHeritage about the wondrous things their computers can do with their vast data, but for me at least they perpetually underdeliver.

Re: Austria will Allow Descendants of Holocaust Victims to Receive Citizenship Beginning September 1st #holocaust

Veronica Zundel

From a UK viewpoint, this will mean that I can retain much-valued EU citizenship when Britain leaves the EU fully at the end of the year. As we also have substantial savings and investments in Vienna (the remainder of my parents' compensatory pensions from the Austrian government) it may also remove a layer of bureacracy, or even some charges, from the bank.

Re: Data Breach at GEDmatch has Concerns Over Privacy #dna #announcements


Good example why you should think twice of using your DNA for genealogy. I prefer to stick to the traditional ways of research.

Privacy Issues for Federal Judges #usa #records

Kenneth Ryesky

When I submitted my comments to the old JewishGen discussion groups regarding the 2 February 2012 House Ways & Means Committee hearing on the Social Security Death Master File (specifically, the Agin testimony), one SIG administrator rejected my comment as irrelevant.  Fortunately, Jan Meisels Allen was a subscriber on one SIG discussion group where the posting went through.


As a result of that W&M hearing, significant embargoes were placed on the Death Master File (known commercially as the Social Security Death Index); some intense lobbying, including a lobbying entourage on Capitol Hill in which I participated, succeeded in controlling the worst of the damage (the initial legislation would have totally padlocked the DMF/SSDI).


I trust that we in the genealogy community have learned our lesson.


Here is one that may well pop up in some future form:


-- Ken Ryesky

Petach Tikva, ISRAEL


Ken Ryesky,  Petach Tikva, Israel     kenneth.ryesky@...

Ancestry purchased by Blacksone #announcements

Lee Jaffe

Blackstone Group is Buying Ancestry for $4.7B
By Luisa Beltran
Aug. 5, 2020 4:41 pm ET
Blackstone Group will become the latest private-equity firm to own Ancestry, a provider of digital family history services.
Blackstone (ticker: BX) said Wednesday it was buying Ancestry in a deal valued at $4.7 billion. Blackstone will have roughly 75% of Ancestry, while GIC—the sovereign-wealth fund once known as the Government of Singapore Investment Corp.—will have 25%, Barron’s has learned. Bank of America (BAC) and Credit Suisse are providing debt financing.
Blackstone has committed to invest more than $2 billion equity in Ancestry. About quarter of that, or $400 million to $500 million, will come from GIC, Barron’s has learned.
Ancestry uses information found in historical records and family trees to help its more than 3 million subscribers discover their family history. The company also uses DNA tests to give users more data about their family tree and recent genetic ethnicity. The Lehi, Utah, company operates in more than 30 countries. It produces over $1 billion in annual revenue.
Founded in the 1980s, Ancestry still has lots of room to grow. The company, under Blackstone, will expand its focus beyond its core audience to include a younger and more diverse population, Barron’s has learned.
“Our entire leadership team is thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with Blackstone to further accelerate Ancestry’s global leadership in family history and consumer genomics,” said Margo Georgiadis, Ancestry’s president and CEO, in a statement.
Ancestry, which considered an initial public offering in 2019, went up for sale earlier this summer. Final bids for Ancestry were due this Friday, Aug. 7, but Blackstone put its offer in last week, Barron’s has learned. Morgan Stanley (MS) ran the process.
“This is a company that we’ve coveted for a long time. We’re thrilled to have won the asset,” David Kestnbaum, a Blackstone senior managing director, told Barron’s. “We see it as a very strong fit with our themes of focusing on high-quality digital growth businesses.” Blackstone also owns Bumble, the digital dating app, and Vungle, a mobile ad company.
The deal represents Blackstone’s first control acquisition from its eighth flagship fund that raised $26 billion last year. The pool is the largest ever in the private equity industry.
Ancestry has a long history with private equity. Spectrum Equity, a Boston growth firm, first bought a stake in Ancestry in 2003. Permira, a European private-equity firm, led a group to take Ancestry private in 2012. In 2016, Silver Lake acquired a minority. With the sale to Blackstone, Spectrum, Permira and Silver Lake are set to exit.
Silver Lake declined to comment. Executives for Spectrum and Permira didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Write to Luisa Beltran at luisa.beltran@...
Subscriber Agreement & Terms of Use
Copyright © 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Re: Austria will Allow Descendants of Holocaust Victims to Receive Citizenship Beginning September 1st #holocaust

Robert Fraser

It's not a silly question at all. I intend to apply, as I can hopefully regain the Austrian citizenship my Parents had forcibly taken from them in 1939.

Robert W Fraser, Perth, Western Australia
Researcher 6342

Re: Online trees #general

Sheryl Prenzlau

I have found that putting it on ancestry is much better because it remains yours and no one can change it. In geni it’s a public mishmash as you have found, and anyone can add to it or remove things and change it up

Re: My Heritage - Theory of Family Relativity #general

Jeffrey Cohen

In my experience My Heritage’s  “Theory of Relativity” is weak and of not much use. 23 and Me’s “Predicted Family Tree” is deeply flawed and dangerously misleading, whilst Ancestry’s “Thrulines” produces incredible results and has led me to make important discoveries. All depend on the size and quality of the your family tree but I have used the same tree for all three firms.


“Theory of Relativity” only produced a couple of results for me and they were ones where the family connection is very strong and very obvious. “Predicted Family Tree” is limited by the fact that 23 and Me is not primarily a genealogy product. But it seems incapable of distinguishing paternal from maternal predicted connections yet it presents its predictions as very definite discoveries. Then if the user does not remove their “predictions” they are, after a while, taken and set in stone in the list of user matches. I was initially reluctant to delete their predictions that didn’t show people I could identify in case I later discover who they are but then it makes it look as if I have accepted their predictions as true. Some degree of manipulation of their prediction can be done by the user but it cannot, for example, accept marriages of cousins which further limits is accuracy.  I have discussed these issues with 23 and Me and they have not disagreed with my observations and promised improvements.


I have had amazing and significant results with Thrulines with near perfect accuracy in it producing a chart showing how I am connected to a DNA match. It has produced results from matches where the amount of common DNA is very low. I think it is all down to the way its processors analyse individual’s trees and find common information. The only instances where Thrulines has not shown perfect results is where other uses have inaccuracies in their trees. But it is a good way to be able to graphically point out to another user they have an error. There may well be situations where Thrulines might produce inaccurate information but I have not yet encountered them.             

Re: Given name SOSCHE #names


SOSCHE is the Yiddish name for the Hebrew name Shoshana

Re: Where did the term Galitziana come from?#general


At the risk of asking a foolish question: But how are the names Halych and Galicia related?  They don't sound at all alike.
Erika Gottfried
Teaneck, New Jersey

Re: Austria will Allow Descendants of Holocaust Victims to Receive Citizenship Beginning September 1st #holocaust


I would imagine that E.U. citizenship would be one advantage (at least while there's still an E.U.) -- the ability to work and go to college inside the E.U. 

One thing I wonder, since the announcement says "Eligibility is for all direct descendants [emphasis mine] of victims of Nazi-persecution in Austria," is how many generations from the victims can make that claim? Grandchildren and great-grandchildren as well as children?  And into perpetuity? (It should be, by god.)

Erika Gottfried
Teaneck, New Jersey

Re: Taking Photographs of Microfilm Reader Images at NYC Municipal Archives #photographs #general


The last time I was at the Municipal Archives, many of their records had been digitized and were viewable from a PC.
The PC was connected to the internet.
I logged into my gmail account and pasted a screen capture image of the document and emailed it to myself.
You should log in using Chrome in incognito mode, log out in gmail and make sure that you close Chrome before you leave so that your gmail account credentials do not remain on the PC.

Re: Belarus Meeting at the IAJGS Conference #belarus #announcements

Gerry Posner

How does one register for this meeting.

NY ship manifest code questions #general

Sheryl Stahl

There seem to be 2 codes to the left of my ggm's name (Czarna Stahl)
I know that S.I. is for Special Inquiry - but what is the WW?
On the list of  Aliens held for Special Inquiry, I know that LPC is Likely  Public Charge - but what is the "call book?"

RUBIN-ADLER-MARCIANO family of Long Island #usa #general

Neil Rosenstein

Trying to make contact with the descendants of Rubin Rosphitz Dynasty
whose patriarch was Dr. Samuel Rubin (1922-2012), father of Rena
(married Rabbi Dr. Baruch Adler of Lawrence), Dr. Menachem Pinchas
Rubin, a neurologist, living in Riverdale), Sr Sholem Rubin of
Lawrence and Aviva (married Dr. Martin Broker, a radiologist

Census question #bessarabia #records

Yoram Millman

Is there census records of the Jewish residence in Kishinev and Kalarash before and after the pogroms ( 1903-1905)?
Were the names of the victims published someplace?

Yoram Millman

Translation Viewmate Russian #translation

J. Grossman

I have two records for translation on viewmate

Please respond using the form on viewmate.

Thank you very much for helping me.


J. Grossman



Sent from Mail for Windows 10


Re: Taking Photographs of Microfilm Reader Images at NYC Municipal Archives #photographs #general


Jed Brickner asked about the legality of patrons taking personal photos of microfilm images at the New York City Municipal Archives. It's a very good question! And so I hope you will indulge reading a long answer.
As the president of 501(c)3 non-profit advocacy group Reclaim The Records, I can tell you that the Municipal Archives' policy that bans the taking of these images is illegal under New York State law. This past February, just before the pandemic started shutting things down in earnest, I flew from California to New York City specifically to have an in-person meeting with the Archives staff about this exact topic, as well as two other major areas of concern where the Archives has been continually breaking the law for several years.
(The Archives were forced to hold this meeting with Reclaim The Records, because we told them we wouldn't drop our counter-appeal in yet another "Article 78" Freedom of Information lawsuit we had just won against them until they agreed to this meeting. We made them put it in writing in the settlement paperwork. 😏)
Attending this meeting with me were two other members of Reclaim The Records' Board of Directors, both of them also Jewish genealogists whose names you might know, Alec Ferretti and Tammy Hepps, as well as our organization's long-time New York attorney David Rankin of Beldock, Levine, and Hoffman. Sitting across the table from us were quite a lot of people: several staff members at the Archives, the Archives' attorney, a legal intern, as well as three New York City "corporation counsel" attorneys, representing the city's interests rather than the Archives per se. I presume they were there to see what kinds of trouble the Archives had now caused the city by getting sued and losing yet another case -- and thereby costing the city budget some taxpayer money, yet again.
To our surprise, the Archives had laid out a large assortment of muffins and cookies and fruits for our meeting, and I joked that you know it's serious when they not only let you have food in the map room a few feet away from the documents, but they even provide it themselves.
I'll avoid getting into the longer details for some of the topics we all discussed that day, but the first related to our most recent successful lawsuit, and our plans for making many future records requests, and then putting those records online for free public use, which is what our organization is known for. And the second issue related to a potential class action lawsuit we may be launching against the Archives in the future, for years of "copyfraud" and disingenuous licensing of public records that they do not actually own. True to form, that little licensing and "permission" issue has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars out of the hands of genealogists and researchers and journalists, and directly into the budget of the Archives over the years.
But the third issue we discussed in the meeting was the very same issue that Jed just asked about in his e-mail message, the rights of patrons to take photos of microfilm records, or of the computer screens that display the newly-scanned full-color vital records copies. The most senior member of the city corporation counsel there seemed genuinely taken aback when we told him about this issue. "Wait," he said, "you mean you don't just have trouble getting records from afar [under FOIL], you're having trouble in the building?" Yes, that too, we told him.
Sitting at the table, Alec and Tammy both told the corporation counsel their personal stories of being yelled at by Archives staffers and/or being unable to get copies of documents for genealogical clients because they were not permitted to photograph their computer screen or microfilm, and instead were being forced to ask the staff to print -- for money -- the exact same documents.
We pointed out that not only is there an illegal sign paced in the Archives room itself (see photo below, which of course I was not "allowed" to take, and had to do surreptitiously!), but that the Archives also forces all patrons to personally sign into a Google Form when they enter the room, and this form contains the "photography is not permitted" clause in it (see another photo below):
This is, shall we say, highly problematic, because the New York State Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) explicitly says that people may take photographs of state or local government documents that are otherwise made available to the public. You can go see your town's budget documents if you walk into City Hall. Now, it is reasonable to take precautions against damage to any records, even possibly prohibiting the use of a camera flash on very old paper, but photographing a computer monitor or just the light projected through a microfilm onto a white table clearly would not be held to that level of care.
There is really one, and only one, reason that the Archives would so brazenly break the state law in this manner: they want to sell copies of these public records, rather than make the information contained in the documents available more easily to anyone, including those with a camera or cellphone. This attitude is entirely in keeping with their loathsome behavior over the years, which has now gotten them legally slapped down twice. It is an attempt to enforce ownership over historical public records, and to profit from it exclusively. And it's really, really gross.
Anyway. The corporation counsel then told us and our attorney that he would "discuss" these matters with the Archives staff and they would "get current on it". He actually used that interesting phrase a few times in the meeting, and I enjoyed it very much each time. The feeling I got from the meeting was that the city corporation counsel had not been not entirely aware of what the Archives had been up to, and how much legal jeopardy they were potentially facing, and the Archives has been costing the city money by their actions for years now, and they were now being very kindly alerted that they were putting themselves at risk of yet another suit if they didn't fix these problems, too.
So the Reclaim The Records crew left the meeting in good spirits, and hoped to have our official replies about these various could-you-please-stop-breaking-the-law issues soon. We were told we would have official letters from the city on these policy issues, and potential policy changes, within a month or so.
But then the pandemic broke out in earnest, and for obvious reasons, we were not about to start sending polite-but-imminent-lawsuit-threatening letters to New York City government officials during those awful months.
However, those months have now passed in New York, for the most part, and we do intend to pick back up and pursue those "get current on this" outcomes we were being promised.
So, when the Archives building at 31 Chambers Street finally re-opens to the public for research, possibly later this year, will that illegal sign and that illegal Google Form promoting that illegal policy still be there? Or will the Archives have instigated yet another costly legal smackdown, despite having been given ample warning and time to remedy the matter, even with in-person notice to both their agency attorney and three city attorneys?
Stay tuned. 😉
^ The Reclaim The Records crew exiting the NYC Municipal Archives building after our meeting with the city, February 19, 2020. Left to right: Brooke Schreier Ganz, Tammy Hepps, Alec Ferretti, David Rankin
- Brooke Schreier Ganz
President and Founder, Reclaim The Records
Mill Valley, California

Searching : Doreen (BLUMENTHAL) ALT & Descendants #general


I am searching for Doreen (BLUMENTHAL) ALT, and descendants.

Her father, Paul Samuel BLUMENTHAL ALT, and his 2 (known) sibs), Morris &
Benjamin BLUMENTHAL ALT, are children of my grandfather’s 2nd family, and
they have a line of wonderful cousins from my grandfathers’s first wife (my
grandmother) they might not even know exist and I would love to connect.

Additional names in the line of Barnett BLUMENTHAL and Rebekah ‘Bessie’
‘Betty’ (WAGNER) (BLUMENTHAL) ALT: Myer ALT, Edythe (ALT) MURPHY, Timothy

Maybe someone out there will see a familiar name. That would be most


Looking for relatives...Gross from Baktaloranthaza and Zuckerman from Ofeherto #hungary


Anyone with any information would be greatly appreciated.
Gabor Boda (ne Zuckerman)

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