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Reclaim The Records launches its biggest FOIA request ever, for BILLIONS of digital images and associated text metadata, from the United States National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) #records

Asparagirl
 

Hello again from Reclaim The Records! We're writing today, to let you know that we just filed the single largest Freedom of Information Act request in our organization's history, for billions of historical records. Yes, billions!

And this time, we're not just taking on a single city or state archive or agency. No, we're trying to get these billions of files from none other than the United States National Archives and Records Administration, NARA.

What kind of files? Oh, you know, basically just everything that was ever digitized through their long-running public-private digitization partnership program.

Like, say, the Census. Immigration records. Military files. Everything.
 
Most of these records were digitized years ago, through NARA's public-private digitization partnership program, but even after the embargo periods ended, NARA never got around to making the data available on their own website. And then they dodged and denied any informal requests that were made for even small parts of that data. For example, we once tried getting a digital copy of the 1910 US Federal Census from NARA, as a test case, a guinea pig. And indeed, despite many back-and-forth e-mails, NARA refused to hand over the files to us, saying just that all the data would go online on the NARA website or through their API access eventually. (Spoiler: it did not.)
 
In other words, all these amazing historical digital records of AMerican history remained available online only through expensive subscription websites, and not through the Archives, even though the files actually belong to the American taxpayers. Not cool.
 
We're working with a great FOIA lawyer on this one, a guy who just won the FOIA case against the US Department of Justice for the unredacted version of the Mueller Report two weeks ago. And now he's helping the genealogists. And when we get this NARA data, and we're pretty sure we're going to get it one way or another, we're going to put it all online, for free. No strings attached. Anyone will be able to do anything they want with the records, both the digitized images and the text metadata that goes along with them.
 
Here's the actual text of the FOIA request we sent to NARA yesterday morning:
 
 
It's really, really long, but there is a lot of background information we need to present, to put the FOIA request in its proper context -- and to help explain the whole situation to the judge, should we need to sue.

Note that this is still a FOIA request, not a full-on FOIA lawsuit just yet, but it very well might become one in the near future, depending on whether NARA chooses to follow the law and release all the records, or not.

We hope they will. But we're ready to sue if they don't.

And if you're as excited about this new FOIA request (and potential new lawsuit target) as we are, we hope you'll consider making a donation to our non-profit organization, so we can keep fighting for open records from every level of our government, from the smallest city clerk's office to the actual no-joke National Archives itself.

Public records belong to the public, and not just to people who can afford hundreds of dollars a year for subscription websites. Help us get these records back and put them online -- for free -- for everyone!

From all of us at Reclaim The Records, thank you for your support! 🤗
 
 
- Brooke Schreier Ganz
Mill Valley, California
President and Founder, Reclaim The Records


Re: Free Webinar: Translating Russian Documents for the Non-Russian Speaker #JewishGenUpdates

Avraham Groll
 

Yes. It will then be available on our Facebook page and YouTube channel.


Re: What is my best approach for finding census data on my family in Belarus born between 1885-1905. #belarus

clucenti@...
 

I have had quite a bit of success using Yad Vashem when families are known to have been residing in Europe during the interwar period, especially if they are believed to have been living there when WWII broke out. Not only are there Pages of Testimony, but other records, such as ghetto lists, lists of the persecuted, etc., are also coming online. You may find related households on Yad Vashem. I used Pages of Testimony this past week, in combination with Lithuanian Internal and Foreign passport applications I found on www.JewishGen.org, to piece together large portions of my extended family.

Best of luck.
Regards,
Cary Pollack


KAUFER family #poland #ukraine #usa

Stuart Kaufer
 

There are a number of branches of my paternal family, Kaufer in the US.  Some in Chicago, PA, Michigan and some of us have DNA connections with other branches but don't know or never heard of one another.  Some came from the area near Rzesow, some from Krakow and some from Lukovica, (now in Ukraine).   Lobl or Leib and Chaya (Chaja) Kaufer seem to be progenitors of family.   Can anyone add knowledge?    Usual searches have come up empty.  Thanks all.

Stuart Kaufer


STEIN family Chicago photos #usa

Stuart Kaufer
 

My GF Sam Stein ran a tavern at 1900 Grand Ave & my aunt and uncle a restaurant attached to the taven at Grand & Damen in Chicago.  Does anyone have memories of this, or photos?   The Tavern remained in the family until the late 60's.  Thanks.

Stuart Kaufer

MODERATOR NOTE: Please reply privately with family information


Re: Ukraine and Belarus births and marriages - what is best approach to find records? #ukraine #belarus

Gerald and Margaret
 

Please contact an organisation based in London UK and Belarus called The Together Plan.  They are helping the remnants of the  Jewish communities in Belarus realise their potential of carrying out research into families who used to make up an important part of pre-20thC European Jewry.  The researchers have huge advantages:  they speak Russian, Belarussian and English;  they live in the area;  they are only too familiar with the bureaucratic ways of this totalitarian State;  they are trained and mentored by Western experts. The Directors can provide you with testimonials.  


Good hunting,
Margaret Levin (London UK)


Re: What is my best approach for finding census data on my family in Belarus born between 1885-1905. #belarus

Gerald and Margaret
 

Please contact an organisation based in London UK and Belarus called The Together Plan.  They are helping the remnants of the  Jewish communities in Belarus realise their potential of carrying out research into families who used to make up an important part of pre-20thC European Jewry.  The researchers have huge advantages:  they speak Russian, Belarussian and English;  they live in the area;  they are only too familiar with the bureaucratic ways of this totalitarian State;  they are trained and mentored by Western experts. The Directors can provide you with testimonials.  
I'm sure they will get through the brick wall !

Good hunting,
Margaret Levin (London UK)


Re: Free Webinar: Translating Russian Documents for the Non-Russian Speaker #JewishGenUpdates

ADELA WEINSTEIN
 

Is this webinar about translating Russian documents going to also be recorded? I regret having missed previous presentations due to time conflicts.


Re: Josef Hermann Lowenthal #austria-czech

Sherri Bobish
 


David,

This may be him, found at https://www.freebmd.org.uk/search

Regards,

Sherri Bobish

Deaths Mar 1975 
LOEWENTHAL  WALTER  14MR1894  MANCHESTER  38 1524


Re: SCHWARTZ/SCHVARTZ family #hungary

George Muenz
 

Hello, I have Schwartz in my family, Marton was hte father of my Great Grandmother, Netti Schwartz

Marton Schwarz 

Gender: Male
Birth: estimated between 1792 and 1848 
Immediate Family:

Husband of Mari Schwarz
Father of Gabor SchwarzSzali WeiszNetti (Anna) MünzMor SchwarczJanka SchwarzSzerena SchwarzBertha Hochstädter and Mathild Schwarz 


George Muenz


Re: Looking for a reliable archivist to obtain family records from Belarus #belarus

Gerald and Margaret
 

Please contact an organisation based in London UK and Belarus called The Together Plan.  They are helping the remnants of the  Jewish communities in Belarus realise their potential of carrying out research into families who used to make up an important part of pre-20thC European Jewry.  The researchers have huge advantages:  they speak Russian, Belarussian and English;  they live in the area;  they are only too familiar with the bureaucratic ways of this totalitarian State;  they are trained and mentored by Western experts. The Directors can provide you with testimonials.  
Please please contact Debra (London-based) and Artur(Minsk-based) and just say the name of the town you are interested in...They will gasp with joy as that is where the whole project started, so that is where their experience lies.

Good hunting,
Margaret Levin (London UK)


Shemini Atzeret custom #galicia

Richard Gilbert
 

It wasn’t just in Bolechow.

In Israel Succot lasts only 7 days. Everywhere else it is supposed to last 8 days, but in the Torah the day after Succot is Shemini Atzeret.

Since Shemini Azeret therefore falls on what should be the 8th day of Succot the Rabbis determined that one should continue to dwell in one’s succah on Shemini Atzeret but without making the blessing of dwelling in the succah. In this way, the uniqueness of Shemini Atzeret was preserved but for those Jews living outside of Israel, they do not lose the custom of keeping an extra day for our festivals.

The last day of Succot is known as Hoshana Rabba (The Great Hoshana). It was the day that seven circuits are made round the bimah asking for G-D’s salvation. The person who leads the service on Hoshana Rabba wears a white kittel. This is replicated on Shemini Atzeret when the prayer for rain is recited during the additional musaf service.

Best wishes,

Richard Gilbert
Hertfordshire, England


Re: Tracing someone in Lithuania #lithuania #records

peggyfreedman@...
 

Hi Jeremy,

My husband is part of the large GLAZIER family from Birz, Lithuania, so perhaps we will find that we are related!

Your question is a little unclear.  I am going to answer in two parts.

Part 1 - The overwhelming majority of Kovno Gubernia records for Jews have been indexed by LitvakSIG.  They are placed on the All Lithuania Database (https://www.litvaksig.org/all-lithuania-database/ ) or on the JewishGen Lithuanian database (https://www.jewishgen.org/databases/#Lithuania )  The two databases mostly overlap, but sometimes using both helps you search with different tools.

Since you have a group of names, a place, and a date range, you should be searching these databases with different parameters to find your family.
You mentioned that you want to use the Lithuanian Archives - the first thing a Lithuanian archivist will do is search these databases because they helped in their preparation.

It is important to read the information about the database that you are searching.  You can find this information by clicking on the link with the name of the record group.  You will click on the number of records to see that list of records.

Part 2 - If you mean that you have found your relatives in these databases, but you want to get original documents from the Archives, you need to learn the codes in the last column of the database results - the column labeled "Microfilm/Item; Image; Archive/Fond".
Here is a snippet of the first few births for GLAZ in Kovno Gubernia in the Birth records:


I have marked the last column with a pink line,  The first two entries are "Not Filmed", so you would need to write to the Archives for a copy of those.  The second two entries have a microfilm number that is underlined on the first line.  These microfilm numbers link to the FamilySearch.org website where you can go through the records yourself and find a copy of the original record.  You can use the image number as a guide, but it will still require patience and the ability to work with other languages.

The Lithuanian State Archives has a website here:
https://www.archyvai.lt/en/archives.html

Information about contacting them for records is on this website. There is also information about the digitization of the Lithuanian Archives and how to find records if you can read Lithuanian.  I have not had much success with this, but hope that others will try it and tell me how it works for them.

Best Regards,
Peggy Mosinger Freedman
Atlanta, Georgia, USA


Re: Free Webinar: Translating Russian Documents for the Non-Russian Speaker #JewishGenUpdates

Sally Bruckheimer
 

"Any chance of a similar talk on Polish documents?"

Judith Frazin wrote a wonderful booklet, now a book, A Translation Guide to 19th Century Polish Language Civil Registration Documents.

Buy it from the Illinois JGS.

I have nothing to gain by telling you about this book. I use it all the time.

Sally Bruckheimer
Princeton, NJ


Looking for a reliable archivist to obtain family records from Ukraine #ukraine

earl zeitlin
 

 
Can someone recommend a reliable archivist who can obtain family records from Semenovka (Chernigov guberniya) and Chernigov.
 
Earl Zeitlin; Monsey, NY 


Re: Hungarian Jewish Women in BREMEN & OBERNHEIDE 1944-5 #hungary #holocaust #poland

Lewis, Megan
 

Shaul-

Search the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's Collections Search catalog at https://collections.ushmm.org to see if we have any memoirs, oral histories, etc. that are available online.  (The USC Shoah Foundation interviews and the Fortunoff Archives interviews are listed in the catalog but cannot be viewed online.)

You may want to also contact our Holocaust Survivors and Victims Resource Center, resource-center@..., to ask them to check the voluntary Registry of Holocaust Survivors to see if any survivors from this camp are listed.  If they have a current address on file they may be able to forward a message for you.

Best,
Megan Lewis, reference librarian
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum


Looking for a reliable archivist to obtain family records from Belarus #belarus

earl zeitlin
 

Can anyone recommend a reliable archivist to obtain family records from Polotsk, Belarus?
Earl Zeitlin; Monsey, NY 
 


Looking for a reliable archivist to obtain family records from Lithuania #lithuania

earl zeitlin
 

 
Can anyone recommend a reliable archivist to obtain family records from Moletai, Lithuania and Svencionys, Lithuania.
Earl Zeitlin: Monsey, NY 


Shemini Atzeret custom #galicia

philafrum
 

A friend's paternal grandfather came from Bolechow, Galicia (now Bolekhiv, Ukraine).  He was wondering whether Jews from that town had a tradition of sitting in the sukkah on Shemini Atzeret (8th day of Sukkot).
 
Granted, this isn't the most conventional genealogical question.  Thanks in advance.
 
Evan Fishman

--
Evan Fishman
New Jersey
MANDELSTEIN, LISNITZER, ADELMAN, PRESSEISEN, BURSTEIN, UDIN--Ukraine
FISHMAN--Terespol, Poland
FINKEL-- Brest Litovsk, Belarus


Re: Free Webinar: Translating Russian Documents for the Non-Russian Speaker #JewishGenUpdates

Carl Kaplan
 

I watched this talk as part of the IAJGS Conference On-Demand Sessions. It was great.
--
Carl Kaplan

KAPLAN Minsk, Belarus
EDELSON, EDINBURG Kovno, Lithuania
HOFFERT, BIENSTOCK< BIENENSTOCK Kolbuszowa, Galicia
STEINBERG, KLINGER, WEISSBERG, APPELBERG Bukaczowce, Galicia

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