IAJGS Achievement Awards 2021

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IAJGS Lifetime Achievement Award 2021: Nolan Altman

In addition to his Lifetime Achievement Award, his local Society, the Jewish Genealogy Society of Long Island (JGSLI), with President Bonnie Birns, was recognized as the IAJGS Member of the Year, and JewishGen’s Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) was recognized as Outstanding Resource. Nolan is Coordinator of JOWBR and Avraham Groll is JewishGen Executive Director.

Altman was recognized for his decades of commitment to excellence in the field of Jewish Genealogy. In leadership roles, he has served the Jewish Genealogy Society of Long Island as President and Treasurer, and for more than a decade, as Vice President and Board Member-at-Large of the IAJGS. Most recently, Nolan was the go-to person for new JGS presidents seeking mentorship. In these roles Nolan has guided many rising leaders in the field of Jewish Genealogy.

Nolan is admired and honored for his countless days, months and years leading major projects for JewishGen as a key member of its Leadership Team. Currently, as Director of Data Acquisition, Nolan coordinates JewishGen’s Holocaust Database, JOWBR (Burial) Database Project and Memorial Plaques Database. All of these endeavors have advanced the research opportunities for Jewish genealogists across the globe. Additionally, recognizing his lifetime work, IAJGS’s Volunteer of the Year Award was renamed in his honor.

Nolan Altman Volunteer of the Year 2021: Russ Maurer

Russ’s accomplishments in support of Jewish genealogy are international in scope. Russ took on the position of Coordinator for Records Acquisitions and Translations for LitvakSIG, a complicated and multi-faceted job. He accepted the challenge of the Vilnius Household Registers of the LitvakSIG knowing that it was an enormous and complicated project. He managed and made outstanding progress overcoming a multitude of obstacles and challenges in this endeavor. Russ also has worked tirelessly for JRI-Poland, Gesher Galicia, the Jewish Tarnow Facebook group, projects related to his ancestral villages, and his home base, the Jewish Genealogy Society of Cleveland.

His certificate points out, “Russ Maurer’s outstanding efforts in support of Jewish genealogy exemplify volunteerism at its finest.”

IAJGS Outstanding Project Award 2021: JewishGen’s Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR), Avraham Groll, JewishGen Executive Director; Nolan Altman, Coordinator of JOWBR

Founded in 2003 and international in scope, JewishGen’s Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) provides an accessible database covering Jewish cemeteries and burial records worldwide. JOWBR links burial records, headstones and information about each cemetery where burial records exist. JOWBR currently contains more than 4 million burial records and 806,000 photos from more than 9,000 cemeteries in 136 countries.

With deteriorating headstones, rampant vandalism, and people moving far from home, the links to our past that JOWBR provides are vital in maintaining our connection to our ancestors and preserving our Jewish heritage.

JewishGen was founded in 1987 and serves as the global home for Jewish genealogy. Featuring unparalleled access to 30+ million records, it offers unique search tools, along with opportunities for researchers to connect with others who share similar interests. JewishGen is an affiliate of the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. Find JewishGen at: www.jewishgen.org and the JOWBR database at: www.jewishgen.org/databases/Cemetery/.

IAJGS Outstanding Publication Award 2021: Australian Jewish Genealogical Society for Kosher Koala, Dani Hashki, editor; Barbara Simon, President, AJGS

The quarterly publication was recognized for its efforts to promote passion for Jewish Genealogy, recognize and encourage engagement in research and educate its members.

Kosher Koala includes both original historical, anecdotal and research related articles by its members and news articles gleaned from other sources related to the field of Jewish Genealogy. It also provides timely information about events of interest to the AJGS community. This quarterly magazine is available digitally on the AJGS website.

The chosen name “we decided to walk a different track, an Australian bush track, with a name reflecting that we are Australian, we are Jewish, and that we live up a familiar gum tree, a menorah with pungent eucalyptus leaves.”. The distinctive logo—that koala hanging off its eucalyptus menorah—was designed by Robert Klein.

Society Member of the Year: Jewish Genealogy Society of Long Island, Bonnie Birns, President

The IAJGS Member of the Year award recognizes a member Society for excellence in the following areas: innovative programming, Jewish genealogical research, use of social media, partnering with other organizations, membership growth, utilizing and advancing technology.

Examples of some of the many JGSLI accomplishments that led to this award were: doubling the number of its public presentations in spite of limitations on in-person meetings; expanding the capability to make presentations available through Facebook Live and YouTube; increasing Facebook membership by 53%, to more than 1,000 members; increasing membership to its award-winning YouTube channel by 50%; recording nearly 50,000 hits by making its YouTube library of more than 40 videos readily available to groups and individuals; providing 12 presenters for the 40th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy; photographing and indexing more than 10,000 headstones from a local Long Island Jewish cemetery for JOWBR; increasing membership from 234 to 273, a growth of 17%, including many new out-of-town members who were able to participate through the use of Zoom technology.

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