Tuesday, August 21, 2018

IAJGS2018 - Part 4 (JewishGen Updates)

This is the fourth in a series of posts about IAJGS2018.  You can read other posts I've made from this and other IAJGS conferences here.

JewishGen held an evening event, where many exciting new developments were unveiled.  Avraham Groll opened the session, presenting JewishGen's Volunteer of the Year.
Avraham Groll of JewishGen

Yefim Kogan was awarded JewishGen’s Volunteer of the Year. He coordinates JewishGen's Bessarabia SIG and has done some great work.

There were also updates highlighting some of the work done by each Special Interest Group (SIG) over the past year.

Avraham Groll then talked about how they are bringing a lot of new content on board. Some of that includes:
  • A partnership with Miriam Weiner. The Routes to Roots collection will allow many of Miriam’s record collection to become available and searchable on JewishGen. Much of this will be coming online over the next months.  The first batch of material is already online here.
  • JewishGen and IGRA are entering into a strategic partnership to allow for searching from each other’s search interface of each organization’s data.  IGRA has over a million records, mostly focused on Israel.  This will be available this fall.
  • There is a new partnership with Jewish Galicia & Bukovina to include their cemetery data on JOWBR.  This will include over 10,000 burial records.
  • There is also a new partnership with Beit Hatfutsot, where some of their trees will be available on JewishGen.  (I'm not such a fan of this one, since they put my 1993-era tree on their website without my permission.  These old trees will be filled with errors, and there's no real way for people to update.)
  • In conjunction with Gesher Galicia, JewishGen will be adding over 8590 names to the Holocaust Database.
Warren Blatt of JewishGen talking about some new features

There will also be lots of improvements to JewishGen itself.  Some of those include:
  • Improvements to JewishGen’s search capabilities. By the end of the fall, researchers will be able to search for a specific town’s cemetery and page through the graves.
  • JewishGen’s discussion groups will be updated to allow for foreign characters and rich text.  This is huge, since it's harder and harder for people to send plain text emails, and those who aren't technologically adept tend to have a hard time posting to discussion groups successfully.
  • JewishGen is also pursuing modernization efforts. There are a number of improvements made in how to interface with the JewishGen databases. They are actively engaged in the next-generation website for JewishGen that will make it more user-friendly.
  • One of the best things mentioned was that JewishGen will now have a Unified Database.  Until now, data was segregated into multiple country- and topic-specific databases, each of which needed to be queried independently.  The new Unified Database that means you no longer need to search individual databases. This allows searching over 20 million records with one search interface. You can also save searches as favorites to easily repeat it later.
There will be even more implements rolling out over the next year.  Exciting things are happening at JewishGen!

Note:  I'm on Twitter.  Follow me (@larasgenealogy).

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  1. The unified search interface is what I am starting to get excited about. I hope that includes the results page too.

    1. Its up and running (on a computer—I can’t get to it on my phone yet).

  2. WOW, sounds like a LOT of fantastic improvements for genealogists, and the less tech savy folks (myself included!) out here. I,for one, can hardly wait for all these improvements & additions/partnerships to take effect. Thanks for the updates.

  3. Thanks for this post. Much more to come!