A year on from introducing the B&F Compendium of Jewish Genealogy

The B&F Encyclopedia of Jewish Genealogy just passed 13,000 resources. As I added a bit over a hundred new resources last night, I realized that I had launched the encyclopedia just about a year ago. Today I looked up the first article I posted to introduce the encyclopedia, Introducing the B&F Encyclopedia of Jewish Genealogy, and I saw it was posted exactly a year ago today.

For those unfamiliar with the encyclopedia, it is a guide to Jewish genealogy resources online, covering over 200 countries, over 80 regions (in Canada, Poland, UK and US), and in Poland roughly 1,000 towns. At launch, the resources for those 1,000 Polish towns added up to over 10,000 resources, while the country and region-level resources added up to about 1,200 resources. As of last night, we passed 13,000 total resources, so an increase of nearly 2,000 resources since last year. For more information on the encyclopedia and how it works, see About the Encyclopedia.

There’s still a lot that can be added to the encyclopedia. Adding the city-level resources to more countries is a huge task. Historical regions is another area where I want to expand into, grouping together resources for former territories such as Galicia, Courland, and the Pale of Settlement. Another area I want to expand into is non-geographic topics, such as names, rabbinical genealogy, Sephardi genealogy, etc. Available time is my scarcest resource, however. The same month I launched the encyclopedia I was elected President of the Israel Genealogy Research Association, and I started a new job as well. Add to that four children under the age of ten, and it’s amazing I’ve managed to update the site at all.

Overall though, I’m proud of what I managed to put together and what I’ve been able to add over the past year. It’s a great starting point for those looking for Jewish genealogy resources, and makes it easy to see at a glance what is available for the area from which one’s family originated. I use it myself whenever I am researching a particular location, and thousands of others are using it every month.

If you have suggestions for new resources, please send them to me. The best way to do so is to go to the topic you want to add a resource to, and click on the Add a Resource link at the bottom of the page. If you have a suggestion for ways to improve the site, please post a comment on the Improve the Site page.

Lastly, if you’re reading this now, go to the main page and click on some random countries and see what Jewish genealogy resource are available. Visit sites you’ve never seen before. Maybe you’ll be inspired to create new resources for areas that you know about, so you can share your knowledge with other researchers around the world.

Stolpersteine in memory of Mindel and Aron Salzman

A couple of months ago I wrote about how, after someone contacted me about installing Stolpersteine memorial blocks for cousins of mine, I had done further research into what happened to them during the Holocaust (Tracking down a couple that disappeared during the Holocaust).

Those Stolpersteine (stumbling blocks) have now been installed in the sidewalk near where the couple, Mindel and Aron Salzman, lived in Cologne, Germany. Someone photographed the installation ceremony and posted the photos to Wikipedia, which can be viewed in a kind of album there.

Below are a few photos from that album:

By Geolina163Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

By Geolina163Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

By Geolina163Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

By Geolina163Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Lastly, it’s worth pointing out two things that seem to be wrong (or at least not clear) in the information in Mindel’s Stolperstein.

It says that she was deported to Bentschen/Zbaszyn as part of the Polenaktion, the first deportation of Jews from Germany to Poland, which took place in October 1938. While there is clear evidence that Aron was part of that deportation (see my previous article on this couple), there does not seem to be clear evidence that Mindel was part of that deportation as well.

Second, it says both were killed in ‘Occupied Poland’. I don’t know when Aron died, but I do know that while Mindel was killed during the war, she was in fact killed after the occupation of Poland ended (although perhaps one might argue it was then occupied by the Soviet Union instead). As described in my previous article, she was murdered along with a dozen other Jews participating in a Passover Seder in her birth town of Kańczuga, after having come out of hiding during the war.

The first is unproven, and the second is a technicality, so maybe I’m being too critical.

Overall, I’m happy to see these memorial blocks put into place.

TreeSync end-of-life announced, with under two weeks left of service

TreeSync, for those who don’t know, is the feature of Family Tree Maker (FTM) that allows it to sync with family trees on Ancestry.com. At least, it was. Ancestry stopped selling FTM in 2015 (see Ancestry just killed off Family Tree Maker and Managing the FTM transition), then sold it to Software MacKiev (their existing partner for publishing FTM on the Mac) in 2016 and announced that RootsMagic would also sync with Ancestry family trees (see Ancestry comes up with solutions for FTM users).

The about boxes of that last version of FTM by Ancestry, and the first version by Software MacKiev

Over the past year that Software MacKiev has owned FTM, they’ve come out with a single small update that mostly fixed things behind the scenes, and updated the software so it showed Software MacKiev as the publisher. If you look at the above About boxes, you’ll noticed that as it is the Mac version, both were actually created by Software MacKiev, although they were the publisher only in the newer version.

I haven’t had a CD drive for my computer in years, but apparently you can get the new version on CD if you want

Yesterday, Ancestry announced that TreeSync would cease to work on March 29, just 9 days later, and would be replaced by a feature called FamilySync in FTM. In order to use FamilySync, however, you would need to upgrade to a new version of FTM. That upgrade costs $29.95 if you order in advance of the release, and will cost $39.95 when the software is released (expected to be on March 31).

While I am an owner of FTM, and even upgraded to the latest version just a couple of months ago, I still have not received an e-mail from Software MacKiev about the upgrade. They now have two pages on their web site, both updated today, about the upgrade – Family Tree Maker 2017 FAQ and FamilySync to replace TreeSync in FTM 2017.

MacKiev says the upgrade was announced simultaneously with Ancestry yesterday, although that’s strange since I haven’t received an e-mail yet. Who did they announce it to if not their customers? Were they planning to wait until after the $10 discount is over?

In any case, it is strange that they’re only giving customers 9 days to do a paid upgrade in order to keep a major feature of FTM. This reminds me of the way a lot of people felt when Ancestry first announced that they were stopping the sales of FTM back in 2015 without giving customers any kind of transition plan.

Also strange is that Ancestry did not mention the status of RootsMagic’s integration with Ancestry. Both FTM and RootsMagic were supposed to be using the same method to sync with Ancestry, and while it’s not up to Ancestry when RootsMagic releases its version with support for syncing, one would think they would at least mention that it would be supported by RootsMagic soon as well. It’s especially strange since RootsMagic previewed their sync feature, called TreeShare, on their blog earlier this month.

In addition to the ‘new’ FamilySync feature, the new version of FTM (dubbed FTM 2017) also includes integration with FamilySearch, a ‘color coding’ feature and a photo editor.

If you’re interested in upgrading to the new version, and like me have not gotten an e-mail yet, you can get the upgrade by going to one of the following geographic-based edition links – United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia. Apparently these editions correspond to which version of Ancestry you are subscribed to, and you need to have the correct edition that matches the version of Ancestry to which you subscribe. I’m not sure what would happen if you bought the US version (the cheapest by the way) and tried to connect to a different version of Ancestry.