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  • 10 Dec 2021 8:15 AM | Anonymous

    The following is a message posted to the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring mailing list and is republished here with permission:

    Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on December 8, 2021 that Russia will return to Greece the Jewish Holocaust archives that were moved to Russia following World War ll. The largest part of the archives relates to the once-thriving Jewish community in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city.

    During the Nazi regime and occupation of much of Europe, the Nazis plundered the documents and culture a treasures of Jewish organizations which they deemed to be enemies of the Reich. According to official figures, on July 11, 1942, the Nazis, led by the Austrian head of the SS Alois Brunner, surrounded the Jews of Thessaloniki in order to deport them to concentration camps. The community paid 2.5 billion drachmas for the freedom that they had been told would be given to them, but they only managed to delay the deportation until March 1943.

    When the Nazis were crushed, many of these looted collections, as well as records of Nazi state agencies that persecuted and murdered Jews, were discovered by the Soviet Army, then transferred to Moscow and held for decades in closed, secret archives.

    More than 44,000 Thessaloniki Jews perished in the Nazi death camps. Most were sent to Auschwitz. The few Greek survivors who returned to the country in the early 1950s found most of their sixty synagogues and schools destroyed, their cemeteries looted and their own homes occupied by other people. Once part of thriving communities in several Greek cities, approximately 59,000 Greek Jews were victims of the Holocaust — at least 83 percent of the total number living in Greece at the time of World War II and the German Occupation.

    To read more see:

    To read more about looted art and Russian State Military Archives go to:

    Jan Meisels Allen
    Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

  • 10 Dec 2021 8:09 AM | Anonymous

    If you are using one of the new Macintosh M1 systems, you might want to pat close attention to this. According to an article by by Tim Hardwick and published in the MacRumors web site:

    "Apple's built-in Time Machine backup solution for macOS appears to be causing problems for some Mac users running the latest versions of Monterey and Big Sur, based on a steady trickle of reports on both the MacRumors Forums and Reddit.

    "While some users are complaining of different issues with Time Machine on different Macs and versions of macOS that are hard to replicate, one common complaint in particular has surfaced regarding Time Machine backups not completing for M1 Mac users running Monterey 12.0.1 or Big Sur 11.6.1.

    "The issue seems to occur when Time Machine runs its first backup after either Monterey/Big Sur is first installed or the operating system is updated to the latest point release. Time Machine says it is "Waiting to Complete First Backup," but as it appears to be reaching its conclusion, Time Machine suddenly reports "Oldest backup: None" and "Latest backup: None," and then fails to offer any notice that the initial backup has successfully been performed at all."

    Details may be found at:

  • 10 Dec 2021 8:00 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by Aliza Leventhal, Head, Technical Services, Prints & Photographs Division, at the Library of Congress:

    When the Annenberg Space for Photography closed in June 2020, they offered the Library of Congress more than 900 high quality prints from ten of their exhibitions. We responded enthusiastically to this rare opportunity to add work by 329 contemporary photographers to the collections. In a year when we organized and described 350,000 items using the standard archival description and housing techniques that work well for large collections, we also rose to the challenge of providing intensive, special attention for what is now the Annenberg Space for Photography Collection of Exhibition Prints.

    To provide the public with a way to experience the timely subject matter and modern photographic techniques in the Annenberg Collection, the Prints & Photographs Division (P&P) digitized each photo, created item-level descriptions, and worked closely with the Conservation Division to make custom housing for the sensitive surfaces of the prints. Here’s the story of a lively and successful year—from a gift agreement to online access.


    The 49 oversize wood crates filled with carefully wrapped prints traveled safely across country in several tractor trailer shipments. Stringent security and pandemic health requirements added unique complications that were overcome by careful coordination among the Annenberg Center; P&P; the Library’s acquisition, conservation, and off-site storage departments; and the art shipment company. The crates filled a lot of floor space and pallet racking in the warehouse receiving area, which meant that P&P had to move quickly to reduce the footprint. In only 10 months, each crate was brought to our work space on Capitol Hill. After we unpacked and inventoried the collection, most prints fit on the tops of map cases. But they couldn’t stay there.

    The full article is much longer, describing the Housing, Digitization, and Developing a Description of this huge collection at:

  • 10 Dec 2021 7:52 AM | Anonymous

    The New York City Police Department’s use of a controversial Virginia-based tech company for criminal investigations remains in effect more than a year after City Hall announced the arrangement was terminated.

    The privately-owned Parabon NanoLabs uses DNA samples to create “virtual mugshots” of crime suspects using “Snapshot DNA Phenotyping,” with criminal defense advocates questioning its reliability.

    The lab is one of two certified by the State Department of Health for investigative genetic genealogy, which can help determine a suspect’s eye color, hair color, skin color, freckling, face shape and other clues to their identity.

    Mayor de Blasio’s office, in a statement late Wednesday, confirmed the NYPD maintained a relationship with the company despite an announcement in September 2020 that the police would not be working with Parabon and had “no plans to do so.”

    “The state has certified only two labs to perform investigative genealogy, and NYPD uses Parabon for this limited purpose,” City Hall said in the new statement.

    Details may be found in an article by Rocco Parascandola and Larry Mcshane published in the New York Daily News at

  • 10 Dec 2021 7:42 AM | Anonymous

    The double murder conviction of a Seattle-area man found guilty in the cold-case homicide of a young British Columbia couple has been overturned due to juror bias. William Earl Talbott was arrested in 2018 on the strength of DNA genetic genealogy tracing, 31 years after the bodies of Tanya van Cuylenborg, 18, and Jay Cook, 20, both of Saanich, B.C., were found in northern Washington state.

    In 2019, Talbott was found guilty by a jury of two counts of aggravated murder in the first degree and given two life sentences, which he appealed on the grounds that his right to an impartial jury was violated because a biased juror deliberated his case.

    In a decision handed down Monday, the Division 1 Court of Appeals in Washington state said a woman identified as Juror 40 exhibited "actual bias" during her comments in voir dire. A voir dire is a legal procedure in which the admissibility of evidence and jurors is discussed.

    Talbott was the first ever person to be convicted as a result of genealogy research. Police in Washington state used information from public genealogy websites to pinpoint him as a suspect, then arrested him after getting a DNA sample from a cup that fell from his vehicle.

    Details may be found in an article in the CBC News web site at:

  • 9 Dec 2021 12:06 PM | Anonymous

    The following was written by the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA):

    The eagerly anticipated 1921 England and Wales Census release date is almost here. Its secrets have been hidden for over 100 years. But on 6 January 2022 all will be revealed.

    AGRA genealogists, like family historians across the country, cannot wait to unlock its treasures: From seeing family members in a census for the first, or last, time, to finding out the impact the Great War had on family and community structures; to discovering the employment, and possibly employers, of their ancestors especially in this period of industrial strife, to where they were - and who they were with - on census night. Then there’s societal changes at the start of the Roaring Twenties, like the increase of divorce, and changes in the work of women from previous censuses. And not forgetting the inevitable disentangling of truth from mistakes and pure fiction in the entries of our ancestors

    AGRA Chair, Antony Marr, said: “The release of any major set of historical records is always an exciting time for family history researchers. The 1921 Census is no exception and will allow us to find out so much about the lives of our ancestors, many of whom we may have known as elderly relatives, but will appear listed as young children. An AGRA researcher will be able to help find the correct records, interpret them and use them to connect to other, older records.”

    Our membership is now busily drawing up lists of those must-see records, for their own family and local history research, as well as for the research wish-lists of their clients. Many AGRA genealogists will be already preparing for visits to The National Archives at Kew to minimise cost. In fact, because of this, combined with their expertise, it might prove more cost-effective to employ a professional researcher with the experience to view, disentangle, interpret and link these records.


    For further information about AGRA and the 1921 Census please contact Jane Roberts, on tel 0771 4203891 (09:00-17:00hrs) or via

  • 9 Dec 2021 11:57 AM | Anonymous

    The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission (PHMC) has awarded almost $2 million in Cultural and Historical Support Grants to 154 eligible museums and official county historical societies from 56 Pennsylvania counties. In addition, PHMC awarded more than $175,000 in Historical and Archival Records Care (HARC) Grants to 34 organizations in 24 Pennsylvania counties.

    The goal of the Cultural and Historical Support Grant program is to strengthen Pennsylvania's museum community by supporting the general operations of eligible museums and official county historical societies that are not supported by other state agency funding programs. An eligible museum must have an annual operating budget exceeding $100,000 (excluding capital and in-kind services) and at least one full-time professional staff person (or approved equivalent).

    Award amounts are determined using an equation based on a percentage of the eligible museum's previous year's operating budget. The maximum any museum could receive is $40,000. All official county historical societies receive a $4,000 minimum grant.

    Details may be found at: including a list of Cultural and Historical Support Grant awards by county.

  • 9 Dec 2021 11:52 AM | Anonymous

    The following is from the Digital North Carolina Blog, maintained by the maintained by the staff of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center:

    "In following with our collaboration with, we have another large batch of newspapers this week! These images were originally digitized a number of years ago in a partnership with That project focused on scanning microfilmed papers published before 1923 held by the North Carolina Collection in Wilson Special Collections Library. While you can currently search all of those pre-1923 issues on, over the next year we will also make them available in our newspaper database as well. This will allow you to search that content alongside the 2 million pages already on our site – all completely open access and free to use.

    "This week we have over 5,000 issues of The Wilmington Morning Star. The paper was founded in 1867 by former Confederate Major William H. Bernard and played a role in stoking the Wilmington Massacre of 1898. In November of 1898 a biracial government was legitimately elected in Wilmington, which the paper claimed to be fraudulent."

    The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center has a huge collection of online historic newspapers. The full list may be found at:

  • 9 Dec 2021 8:38 AM | Anonymous

    The Cherokee Nation is celebrating the grand opening of their new National Research Center in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The nation's state-of-the-art facility will provide the public access to cultural collections, genealogy services, archives, as well as artifacts from the 1700s through present day.

    Just over a year ago, the items were declared to be in a state of emergency due to aging infrastructure and the need for updated environmental controls necessary for proper preservation.

    Thanks to efforts made through the Cherokee Heritage Act of 2020, the public will be able to explore the Cherokee National Research Center and experience firsthand some of the tribe’s most treasured items.

    Details may be found in an article by Cassidy Mudd and published in the KTUL web site at:

  • 8 Dec 2021 9:19 AM | Anonymous

    The following press release was written by the South Dakota State Historical Society:

    More than 3,765 women’s suffrage items from the John A. and Alice Pickler Papers are now available on the South Dakota Digital Archives of the South Dakota State Historical Society.

    In 1991, 65 boxes of Pickler family records were donated to the State Historical Society-Archives at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre, including photographs, political papers, business records, and more than four boxes of suffrage-related correspondence, speech notes, meeting minutes, and booklets.

    Recently, to improve access to the collection and to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Women’s Right to Vote, the suffrage portion of the Pickler Papers was selected for digitization and cataloging. These records are now available to the public on the South Dakota Digital Archives at

    Digitization of this collection was made possible by a generous donation from the F.L. Clarkson Family Foundation.

    State Archivist Chelle Somsen said, “We appreciate the F.L. Clarkson Family Foundation’s support that allowed us to make this selection of nationally significant records from the Pickler Papers available online.”

    Major John A. Pickler and his wife Alice moved to Faulkton, Dakota Territory, in 1882 and became prominent citizens in the area. John was elected to the territorial legislature in 1884 and introduced suffrage legislation in 1885, which was unsuccessful. In 1889, John was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, making him part of South Dakota’s very first congressional delegation. He served in this capacity for eight years and actively advocated for women’s right to vote. Alice was also active in the suffrage movement as a member of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and the South Dakota Equal Suffrage Association.

    Please contact the South Dakota Historical Society Foundation at 605-773-6003 or if you are interested in supporting digitization efforts. For information about membership in the State Historical Society call 605-773-6000 or email

    About the South Dakota State Historical Society

    The South Dakota State Historical Society is a division of the Department of Education. The State Historical Society, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is headquartered at the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre. The center houses the society’s world-class museum, the archives, and the historic preservation, publishing, and administrative/development offices. Call 605-773-3458 or visit for more information. The society also has an archaeology office in Rapid City; call 605-394-1936 for more information.

    About the South Dakota Historical Society Foundation

    The South Dakota Historical Society Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and serves as the fundraising partner of the South Dakota State Historical Society. The Foundation assists in securing funds to collect, preserve, research, exhibit, and interpret history for the lifelong education and enrichment of present and future generations. For more information go to or call 605-773-6003.

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