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July 2005

Powerful tools to assist in the effective management and growth of every JGS.
IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee
By Jan Meisels Allen, PRAMC Chairperson
JGS Checklist
The Public Records Access Monitoring Committee (PRAMC) was
created by the IAJGS Board of Directors in 2002 after recognition
of increasing areas worldwide with government agencies and Share the IAJGS ECHO with
legislation restricting access to birth, marriage and death records. your local officers and members.
Due to IAJGS limited resources we have to limit ourselves to a
few issues per year that require a major campaign to work on Identify and communicate worthy
reducing the impediments to public records access. Issues that issues to the IAJGS Public
do not require a major campaign are addressed without limitation. Records Monitoring Committee.
Consider making a bid to host a
The PRAMC meets by CHAT conference call 4 times a year – 2008-2010 annual conference.
more if a “hot button” issue requires, and one face-face meeting
Help find volunteers to assist on
at the annual IAJGS conference. There are currently 6 committee
the IAJGS Cemetery Project.
members-all of whom volunteered to serve on the committee.
Utilize the IAJGS chat facility for
The IAJGS is also represented on the Federation of Genealogical JGS and other meetings online.
Societies/National Genealogical Societies Records Preservation
Read the eighth annual IAJGS
Access Committee. The groups comprising this committee
Jewish Genealogy Yearbook for
represent the genealogical community across North America.
ideas to implement in your JGS!
Working together with this committee affords the IAJGS, with its
limited resources, access to what is happening with records Plan now to attend the annual
access and strengthens each of the representative organizations IAJGS conference in New York!
efforts by working collectively to retain open access to
genealogically relevant documents and records.

The issues the PRAMC address are truly international in scope! Welcome to our newest JGS
In the past year we have addressed the problems with records member society:
access in:
Jewish Genealogical Society of Hamilton
· Canada- the release of future censuses, (Ontario, Canada)
· Romania- access to Jewish vital records, President Barry Springer
· Transcarpathian area of the Ukraine- access to records

-continued July 2005
W elcome to the IAJGS ECHO. This
publication serves as a periodic update
from the IAJGS Board of Directors. We use this
PRAMC continued

· United States—
format to provide information about the activities vital records access in California; and
of the IAJGS and also to share useful ideas that US HR-10/SB 2845 which was included as
can be implemented at the local level. Topics part of the 9/11 Commission
include operations such as budget, leadership Recommendations Implementation Act also
structure, volunteer recruitment, publicity, known as The Intelligence Reform Act-
programming, and local projects. Member a restriction as to whom may access
societies are encouraged to contribute original or birth certificates issued by the states.
reprint articles that provide exemplary examples
of local JGS management. The PRAMC has taken action on the issue of the
Canadian release of censuses working with our
Canadian JGS members and by writing letters on our
WHAT? Information about IAJGS and local concerns with the proposed S-18 which would permit
JGS operations and activities. release of future Canadian censuses (92 years after
being taken) but contains the provision requiring each
WHY? To provide better communication person to sign an “opt-in” provision, if they want their
between the IAJGS Board and information released after the 92 years. At the time of
member societies. writing this ECHO article S-18 is still in the Canadian
Senate and has not yet been heard by the House of
WHO? For JGS leaders to share with Commons.
officers and members at the local
level. During the debate by the United States Congress on
The Intelligence Reform Act, the IAJGS wrote letters
WHERE? Posted in PDF format at the IAJGS to each Congressperson and Senator serving on the
website. A link emailed to JGS various committees the bills were heard in, including
Presidents for each new issue. the final conference committee. The law as enacted,
is not self-executing on the provision of concern, but
requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services
Submit articles to: to promulgate regulations addressing the issue of
Ellen Shindelman Kowitt, Editor whom the states may permit access to birth
7933 East Maple Avenue certificates. IAJGS, working with the other
Denver, CO 80230 USA organizations in the genealogical community, will be addressing the issue with the Secretary of Health and
Human Services to get the genealogical interest heard
and responding to the proposed regulations when they
are available.
July 2005
Annual Committees (2005):
Nominating - Sonia Hoffman, chair, Linda Cantor, Howard Margol
Achievement Awards - Sylvia Nusinov, chair, Florence Elman,
Mark Halpern,Jan Meisels Allen
Stern Award - Karen Franklin, chair, Paul Armory, Ellen
Shindelman Kowitt

PRAMC continued

With the change in government in the Ukraine, the Committee decided to wait one year before pursuing
greater access in the Transcarpathian area. It is believed that with the new government we may have a
better chance to effect change, but want to wait until the government has time to address a number of

The Committee has been advised that there has been some relief for researchers searching Jewish records
in Romania. The committee has also been advised that others are also addressing the problem access.
With the apparent loosening of the archives restrictions for Jewish research the PRAMC is waiting to see
the progress before taking any further action.

With the concern of identity theft increasing across the globe, and in some parts of the world the concern of
release of records for other reasons, the various governments are responding by increasingly limiting access
to records of genealogical value. The PRAMC role, therefore, has become more important to maintain
access open for genealogists. If you learn of such impediments to access of records, please let us know by

By Howard Margol
IAJGS Board member liaison for the Cemetery Project

THE NEED FOR VOLUNTEERS – Ellen Sadove Renck has been the volunteer coordinator for the IAJGS
Cemetery Project for a number of years. For the past two years, she has become involved in a business
venture, which severely limits her available time to maintain the cemetery project. For the past year, Kitty
Cooper has been helping Ellen but she too, is quite busy and has a minimum amount of time to spend
maintaining the cemetery project. Two or three additional volunteers would greatly help to spread the workload
and enable the cemetery project to be kept up to date in a timely manner.

THE WORKLOAD – Over 22,000 Jewish cemeteries from around the world are listed in the cemetery
database. Ellen receives requests for additions, deletions, and various updates on almost a daily basis.
The frequent use of the cemetery listings testifies to its value to researchers around the world. Making the
necessary changes is not a simple matter because HTML is involved.

WHAT A VOLUNTEER CAN EXPECT – Several hours per week to make changes to the cemetery listings
would be required. If you are not familiar with HTML, Kitty Cooper and Ellen Renck will be glad to train you
via email and the Internet. July 2005
Conference Calendar
August 13-18, 2006
– Marriott Marquis, New York, NY

July 15-20, 2007
– Hilton Salt Lake City Center, UT

Jewish Genealogy Yearbook
By Hal Bookbinder

The first Jewish Genealogy Yearbook was published in 1998. Prior to this, the only central reference to
Jewish genealogical organizations was an annual listing published each spring by Avotaynu containing only
the most basic of contact information in three to four pages. The Yearbook has grown to encompass
reports on 120 organizations in about 140 pages. This valuable resource is freely available online at the
IAJGS website. Additionally, a printed copy has been provided each year to participants at the IAJGS
Conference on Jewish Genealogy. This year's edition is the eighth in the series.

The Yearbook serves as a reference to Jewish genealogical societies by providing convenient contact
information, not only of the various JGS's, SIG's, projects, and support organizations, but also to several
hundred leaders in the avocation of Jewish genealogy. Soceity leaders can use the reports of projects and
programming to identify opportunities for efforts by their own society and to dialogue with others about
efforts of common interest. Leaders have used the information to coordinate and share expenses for
"name" speakers.

Leaders use the information on publications to arrange for exchanges of journals and newsletters. Addi-
tionally, the Yearbook contains historical information on all of the conferences, past and planned, all IAJGS
achievement awards, and IAJGS Stern Awards. And, this year, for the first time, the Yearbook contains
information on the libraries maintained by many of the IAJGS member societies and how visiting genealo-
gists can access them.

The series of Yearbooks can even provide a history of each society, its activities and leaders, for use by
subsequent generations of genealogists.

IAJGS Chat Room
By Hal Bookbinder

The IAJGS Chat Room is a little known, and thus far little advertised resource. IAJGS members can freely
use it to conference together via their fingers on the web. It has been regularly used by the IAJGS Board to
meet in a no-cost manner, and has been used by other groups as well. Local societies can use it for closed,
private meetings, as well as public ones in which anyone is welcome to drop in. The IAJGS plans to make
it available on a more public basis for presentations and discussions bringing experts from distant locales
directly to your computer for live chats. Watch for future announcements. July 2005