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September 17, 2009 - Image 56

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2009-09-17

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No Dusty Archives?

As we approach the NewYear
we are filled with joy as we begin
our new journey, together.
Thank you, community,
for your support and
good wishes throughout the ye ar

Ma/aim Qoictiondit kanila

Technology shifts genealogy research.

Hillel Kuttler
Jewish Telegraphic Agency


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September 17 2009

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modern tools make learning about the
past cooler.
"Definitely, technology plays a very
important role in bringing young
people into genealogy:' Horowitz said.
n genealogy research, crumbling
"Once the computer and technology
documents and high-speed
are used to research or share informa-
Internet connections often go
tion, young people are attracted to it.
hand in hand.
The amount of young people getting
So it goes for Schelly Talalay
involved in things like Facebook — it's
incredible. In Israel, there's a Facebook
At a workshop she ran a few years
for kids 12-15 years old. That's a very
ago in Barcelona on the role of tech-
good catch to bring young people into
nology in conducting genealogy
research, Dardashti met a former
While few teenagers and 20-some-
attorney, Maria Jose Surribas. Surribas things attended the conference, some
now works as a freelance archivist
spoke of their young children catching
and has helped Dardashti research her the genealogy bug.
roots in the Colombian town of Lerida.
Barbara and Richard Wissokur
Dardashti now can trace her fam-
came from Boston with their daughter,
ily there to 1353, to Moshe Talalaya, a
Amy Wissokur Graham, a Philadelphia
kosher winemaker.
librarian. When Barbara periodically
"If not for technology, we'd be
updates the family database, she e-
doing what we used to: dealing with
mails Amy, who shares the informa-
the dust and the creepy-crawlies, like
tion with her three children for their
Maria does in Spain, wearing a face
class assignments.
mask:' said Dardashti, of Tel Aviv.
"They've been working on this so
"Technology has made it possible for
long," Amy said of her parents, "that
people interested in the same topics to my mother is counting on me to move
share, collaborate and learn."
this forward."
The ever-expanding research oppor-
And new opportunities continue to
tunities enabled by technology was a
open up.
central theme at the recent conference
The International Tracing Service
in Philadelphia of the International
archives in Bad Aronson, Germany, is a
Association of Jewish Genealogy
font of newly declassified information.
Societies, which drew nearly 900
My Heritage now links researchers to
1,536 databases around the world.
Last year's conference session on
Ancestry.com says it spends mil-
using Google for genealogy research
lions of dollars per year digitizing
proved so popular that three Google
records that can be searched online.
sessions were held this time.
Even before records are indexed, said
Speakers, including representatives
the company's indexing manager,
of companies specializing in technol-
Crista Cowan, Ancestry.com users can
ogy-assisted genealogy, covered such
browse such digitized documents as
matters as constructing digital family
naturalization papers much like scroll-
trees and sharing them online, search- ing microfilm spools.
ing databases, choosing genealogy
Many software programs also
software, collaborating with other
enable the posting of family trees
researchers via social networking
online, which allows relatives to share
sites and utilizing face-recognition
and edit each other's information. For
technology to identify relatives in pho- privacy reasons, users can restrict
access to the trees; some sites limit
"Until now, history and genealogy,
what information can be viewed.
which are related, are things that old
"What all this means is, if you have
people were said to be doing," said
an Internet connection and are sit-
Daniel Horowitz, manager of geneal-
ting in a yurt in Mongolia, you can
ogy and translations for My Heritage,
find out information:' Dardashti said.
an Israeli software and Web company
"What we always say is, `If you don't
that operates in 36 languages.
find what you're looking for today, try
That reality is changing, he said, as
tomorrow" Fl

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