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  • 11 Sep 2023 7:48 PM | Anonymous

    The letter was dated July 17, 1939, and signed by a man named Joseph Gross. He was writing from New York to thank the Forward for helping to find his relatives. Alongside it in the digital archive was a letter written in Yiddish, dated the following week, sent from Brussels and signed by Avrom Gross, Joseph’s cousin.

    “I read the letter with such great astonishment,” Avrom wrote. “I have no way of thanking you.”

    I stumbled across these letters online, in the digitized archives of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and Museum in Jerusalem, while searching for references to a column called Seeking Relatives that ran for decades in the Forward.

    They were part of a collection donated, upon Yad Vashem’s founding in 1953, by a man named Isaac Metzker, a Forwardeditor who oversaw the column for years. I soon discovered that Metzker’s files included some 15,000 documents relating to Seeking Relatives, letters and notes that hinted at the way the newspaper connected thousands of Eastern European Jews with family in the U.S. before, during and after World War II.

    The Yiddish letter written by Avrom Gross on July 26, 1939, thanking the Forward.  

    I had been looking for information about Seeking Relatives in June 2022 for what I thought would be a fairly straightforward article to help commemorate the Forward’s 125th year of operation. Instead, Metzker’s files would lead to more than a year of painstaking reporting in partnership with the Forward’s archivist, Chana Pollack.

    You can read more in an article written by Andrew Silverstein and published in the web site at: 

  • 11 Sep 2023 2:35 PM | Anonymous

    Here is a list of all of this week's articles, all of them available here at                               

    A Short Update on My Medical Condition

    Chilean-American Adoptee Reunites with His Family 42 Years After He Was Stolen From Them

    Book Review: Weaker Vessels, The Women and Children of Plymouth Colony

    7 Reasons You Need the Reimagine App

    Chinese Scientists Have Developed a New Gene-Editing Tool That Doesn’t Use CRISPR

    Nova Scotia Marriages From 1947 Now Available Online

    The Digital Library of Georgia Has Made Its 3 Millionth Digitized and Full-Text-Searchable Historic Newspaper Page Available Freely Online

    UCR California Digital Newspaper Collection Receives Grant to Archive Regional Newspapers Serving Black Communities

    Register of Qualified Genealogists Conference 2024

    Find the Final Resting Place of Your Norfolk Ancestors with Findmypast

    Libby Is Making It Easier to Access Magazines for Free With a Supported Library Card

    Google Flights Will Tell You the Cheapest Time to Book a Ticket

    Malaysia Mulls Rules for Google, Meta to Pay News Outlets for Content

  • 11 Sep 2023 10:15 AM | Anonymous

    In case anyone is interested:

    As mentioned in a previous article last week (at, I am back at home after my recent hospitalization. As I mentioned in that update, "I am not back to 'my old self' but I do feel better than I did for the past week or so."

    Indeed, the recuperation has been slower than I expected. Maybe that is because my body is getting older. (I celebrated a birthday a few days ago.)

    In any case, I am now planning to work on this newsletter every day. In other words, I now plan to revert to my regular schedule.

    For anyone who didn't read my earlier update, after taking a rather long automobile trip, I went to get out of the automobile but I stumbled and fell, hitting the back of my head rather hard on the pavement. I immediately saw stars and all sorts of other lights. Being a typical male, I shrugged it off as "a minor incident." However, upon walking into the house a few minutes later, I fell twice on the living room floor. Maybe it wasn't so "minor."

    Three days later, things were not improving so I went to a walk-in medical center. They gave me a quick once-over evaluation and immediately sent me to a nearby hospital emergency room. After a more extensive evaluation, I was admitted to the hospital.

    Three days later I was discharged with a warning that a full recovery would take at least 2 or 3 weeks. Since then, I haven't left the living room couch for more than a very few minutes.

    Do you know how BORING daytime television is?

  • 11 Sep 2023 7:42 AM | Anonymous

    From Gail Dever's blogNova Scotia Archives last week added marriages from 1947 to its website, and they are searchable by name.

    In May, the provincial archives updated its online death records, adding deaths from 1972. 

  • 11 Sep 2023 7:34 AM | Anonymous

    A team of scientists in Beijing say they have developed a new gene-editing tool that is more efficient than CRISPR technology, as the threat of US export restrictions looms over China’s biotech sector.

    The researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology reported their modular gene-editing system – called CyDENT – in the journal Nature Biotechnology on August 28.

    It works a little differently to CRISPR/Cas9, which is patented in the United States. That gene-editing tool splits double-strand DNA in order to make edits to the base pairs that make up the strands, according to CRISPR Therapeutics. The DNA is cut and then repaired by a natural cell process, meaning it could lead to imprecise editing and even undesirable mutations.

    But CyDENT can be used to perform strand-specific gene editing without any cuts, according to the paper.

    Kevin Zhao, one of the study’s authors and co-founder of Suzhou-based Qi Biodesign, said CyDENT used modules to perform different parts of the editing process. The design allows researchers to “find the best bespoke application” for the variations that emerge.

    You can read the full story at:

  • 11 Sep 2023 7:24 AM | Anonymous

    There is a fascinating story involving a stolen infant. Thanks to a DNA kit from MyHeritage, the infant (now an adult) was reunited with his birth mother. You can read the full story in the MyHeritage Blog at:

  • 6 Sep 2023 4:13 PM | Anonymous

    UC Riverside’s California Digital Newspaper Collection, or CDNC, has received a $321,282 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, or NEH, to participate in the National Digital Newspaper Program, or NDNP, which is managed by the Library of Congress. The CDNC is one of several digital humanities projects within UCR’s Center for Bibliographical Studies and Research, or CBSR.  

    The grant will be used to digitize a collection of newspapers serving Black communities in the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay areas between World War II and 1963. UCR’s project is part of the NEH initiative American Tapestry: Weaving Together Past, Present, and Future, emphasizing the role of the humanities in tackling contemporary social challenges. 

    “The NEH awards provides the Center for Bibliographical Studies and Research with funds to ensure that students, scholars, and the broad American public have high-quality, free-of-charge, and open access to the press archives of Black California,” said Daryle Williams, the dean of UCR’s College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. “Within the digitization of various newspapers, we have on our screens the voice, vibrancy, and turmoil of African American communities in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, from the interwar period through the Civil Rights era.” 

    Brian Geiger, director of the CBSR, said this will be the first NDNP project to focus on the Black experience after World War II and “the Second Great Migration.” 

     “These papers will be invaluable resources for anyone studying 20th Century American history,” Geiger said.  

    The award is among $41.3 million in grants announced in August by NEH to support 280 humanities projects nationwide. UCR’s award is one of 12 NDNP grants that will aid in digitization of local newspapers. 

    The NDNP started in 2005, with UCR one of the initial participants. Past UCR digitization projects have included for pre-1923 papers such as the San Francisco Chronicle and the LA Herald; Gold-Rush Era papers; Borderland papers from Imperial County;, and the Spanish-language newspaper La Opiníion. 

  • 6 Sep 2023 3:54 PM | Anonymous

    The title page of the first edition of the May 22, 1917, issue of the Atlanta Georgian reports on the destruction caused by the Great Atlanta Fire of 1917 and the city’s effort to control the damage.

    This issue marks the 3 millionth page digitized by the Digital Library of Georgia.

    The newspaper circulated daily from 1906 to 1939, was the first Hearst-owned newspaper in the South, and is the most prominent example of sensationalist yellow journalism in Georgia. In its first year of publication, the paper infamously printed stories intended to inflame racial tensions that contributed to the start of the Atlanta Race Massacre of 1906.

    Famed newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst purchased the Atlanta Georgian in 1912. Under his ownership, the paper printed increasingly scandalous headlines and illustrations that dramatized local crimes, including its coverage of the Leo Frank case in Atlanta.

    The digitization of this title was funded through a grant from an anonymous donor as part of their mission to provide resources that promote a greater understanding of Georgia’s history during this important period.

    We have developed an online press kit, available at includes:

    • An image, description, and link out to our 3 millionth page;
    • A link to our press release;

    Since 2007, the DLG has provided access to the state’s historic newspapers, with the majority having been digitized from microfilm produced by the Georgia Newspaper Project (GNP).

    With the launch of the Georgia Historic Newspapers (GHN) site in July 2017, the DLG has maintained that tradition by bringing together new and existing resources into a single, consolidated website where newspapers dating from 1763-2023 are full-text searchable and can be browsed by city, title, date, keyword, or region.

    Annually, DLG digitizes over 400,000 historic newspaper pages with funding from GALILEOthe University of Georgia LibrariesGeorgia Public Library Servicethe National Endowment for the Humanitiesthe Institute for Museum and Library Servicesthe R. J. Taylor, Jr. Foundation, and dozens of cultural heritage institutions across the state. The DLG also microfilms more than 200 current newspapers. Historic newspaper pages are consistently the most visited of any DLG site.

    You can read more at:

  • 6 Sep 2023 3:47 PM | Anonymous

    Malaysia said on Tuesday (Sep 5) it is considering regulations that will make internet giants Alphabet's Google and Facebook parent Meta Platforms compensate news outlets for content sourced from them.

    Malaysia is in discussions with Google, Meta and other major online platforms over the regulatory framework, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) said in a statement after meeting with officials from both companies.

    The proposed regulations will be similar to rules in Australia, which in 2021 made it compulsory for Google and Meta to compensate media outlets for content that generates clicks and advertising dollars, the MCMC said.

    The MCMC is also mulling rules similar to Canada's Bill C-11, which aims to regulate streaming platforms and requires them to support Canadian content.

    It said the rules were part of government efforts to address "imbalances" in income for digital platforms and local media, and to ensure "fair compensation for news content creators".

    The MCMC said it was also in discussions with the social media platforms to address online harm such as child sex abuse material, online gambling and financial scams.

    Malaysia has increased scrutiny of online content under Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, who came to power in November.

    Earlier this year, Malaysia said it would take legal action against Meta for failing to act against harmful content on its Facebook platform, but later dropped the plan following meetings with the company.

  • 4 Sep 2023 10:59 AM | Anonymous

    The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

    Vessels, The Women and Children of Plymouth Colony

    By Donna A. Watkins. Publ. by American History Press (Staunton, Va.), 2021. 317 pages.

    The author hWeakeras a sympathetic sense for the women and children of the Massachusetts Plymouth Colony. She wishes them remembered and commemorated as important and vital members of the first community, despite their immutable roles of subservience and struggles on a daily basis made arduous by the men who at least could feel in charge of their destinies and not under the rule and thumb of another class of citizens.

    The prologue offers a brief overview and history of Plymouth Colony. Then on to the first chapter, where “Martyrs of the Mayflower,” describes the voyage with emphasis on the toll for the women, and relates the fate of the More Children, four children whose father paid enough to a stranger-merchant to take the children off his own negligent hands into the harsh, cold dangers of the sea voyage. Additional stories about other women and children of the Mayflower populate the chapter.

    In “Laws and Standards,” we read about the setup of the colonial government and courts, and how the appointed custodians, all male of course, settled egregious punishments upon the women for such transgressions as “for her uncivil and outrageous railing words and carriages to the Deputy Governor, and afterwards before the whole court.”

    Chapters cover marriage, fidelity, divorce, and “Danger and Desperation.” There are chapters about “Children’s Deaths,” and “Children in Service.” It’s not new news that women for generations have endured the yoke of male domination, but Weaker Vessels does present the situation in a fresh and different perspective. And of course, we all love to read history, and this is a specific history, and a well-written book, not just a rehash of an ancient theme. It’s a good book to read, and a good book to have.

    The book is not all doom and gloom. In “Notable Women of Plymouth,” we read about some courageous and notable women. Mary Brewster had been with the Pilgrims from the beginning. Katherine Carver was the wife of the first governor. Alice Bradford offered warm hospitality to the bureaucrats as wife of Governor William Bradford. Other biographies present more of the Colony women in a distinguished light.

    The author researched original court records, diaries and journals, and first-hand accounts, and those who are acquainted with her previous publication, Diverse Gashes, about her ancestors’ settlement and tragedy in Plymouth Colony, know the research is substantial and the storytelling is compelling.

    Vessels, The Women and Children of Plymouth Colony is available from Amazon at from and from American History Press

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