Machine learning requires the comparative analysis of data in as large a quantity and as high a quality as possible.
On this basis, automatic recognition of printed texts (OCR) has improved significantly in recent years. However, machine reading of handwritten texts (HCR) is still in its infancy. There is a lack of training data in the form of correct transcriptions with corresponding image sections of individual lines and terms.
Within the framework of source editions and indexing projects, larger text corpora are transcribed. Heterogeneous handwritten documents are, among other things, the subject of palaeography courses or individual local and family history studies. The Transkribus platform will collect the files and data required for the further development of HCR and generate text recognition models for individual languages and comparable writing styles.
In addition, the platform offers many useful functions for reading and editing various documents.

Yizkor Books (ספרי יזכור)

“Yizkor” (יזכור) in Hebrew means to remember something or someone and is used in prayers to the dead. A corresponding literary genre in Jewish culture developed in the 13th century in Eastern Europe and was rediscovered in the 20th century in the aftermath of the Holocaust. These “Memorbooks” were mostly printed and distributed in small quantities by the Landsmanshaft (לנדסמנשאפט), the exile community of the respective town or village.
The New York Public Library has digitized Yizkor books from various collections and makes them available online, sorted alphabetically by place name.
The chronicles, necrologists, maps, photos and illustrations compiled by surviving contemporary witnesses are a valuable source which is difficult to access due to its size, lack of factual structure, indexes and not least due to the Hebrew script/Yiddish language. An ongoing project of JewishGen promotes translation and indexing by volunteers and donations.


RootsTech London 24-26 October 2019

RootsTech, the world’s largest genealogical trade show, has been held annually in Salt Lake City (Utah/USA) since 2011 and attracts a wide audience with lectures, workshops and corporate presentations.
FamilySearch International, an organisation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), is hosting a complementary conference also in Europe for the first time this autumn.
It will take place from 24 to 26 October 2019 at the ExCel Exhibition Center in London, and registration has already begun with an early bird discount. Similar to the RootsTech 19 in Salt Lake City, which ended at the beginning of March, social, regional and migration history topics, computer genealogy, dealing with different types of sources and DNA analysis will continue to figure high on the agenda.

Update: BKG-Database Historical Place Names

For about 16 years, we have been giving hints on useful information in the field of auxiliary sciences of history. The web archive of our “Tips of the Month” now provides a solid instruction manual for getting started with archival research and working with sources.
Older entries, however, require sometimes an update beyond the correction of links and addresses.
In February 2007, we recommended the database “Historical Place Names” of the Federal Agency for Cartography and Geodesy (BKG) for regions formerly belonging to Germany. The search result lists the historical, parallel and current place name in the respective national language and state and administrative district for the years 1939, 1945 and 1992 (see example of use on the screenshot). The application runs with Java applet, thatswhy for modern browsers an exception in the security settings is needed:

  1. Update Java Runtime Environment
  2. Java Control Panel / Security / Exception List: “”
  3. Download and run HistoNameApplet.jnlp