Nu? What's New?
The E-zine of Jewish Genealogy
Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 5, Number 23 | December 19, 2004

New York Public Library Adds Many Yizkor Books Online
The contents of hundreds of yizkor books can now be viewed online at This is the New York Public Library's Digital Yizkor Book Viewer project. The Library stated that 650 of the 700 postwar yizkor books in their collection are now available. The site allows display of any page in a yizkor book through a browser that can advance 1, 10 or 50 pages at a time. Unfortunately, the site does not identify which page of the book you are looking at. These are unimportant constraints because the genealogical community has Stephen P. Morse. To use the yizkor book collection, go to the Morse portal at Morse allows the starting point to be any page within the book by page number. This can be valuable after using the table of contents to go to a particular article in the book. He notes the following other advantages to using his portal: * You can bookmark a yizkor book page and return to it at some later time. Because of the design of the NYPL site, when returning to the site, you must rebrowse the book to locate a specific page. * Faster downloading at the Morse site. As previously announced in Nu? What's New?, the National Yiddish Book Center is making reprints available of the NYPL collection for a cost of $120 each to non-members and $90 to members. The National Yiddish Book Center yizkor book site is Yizkor books are Holocaust memorial books. After World War II, the remnant of European Jewry published these books to memorialize the towns and townspeople destroyed in the Holocaust. More than 1,200 have been published, each for an individual town or region. Most are written in Hebrew and Yiddish. The largest collection is at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. A more detailed description of yizkor books can be found at

New York State Census Finding Aids from Stephen P. Morse
The Stephen P. Morse site at now has a finding aid for determining the Brooklyn Assembly District/Election District in the 1925 New York State census. Previously the site had an AD/ED finding aid for Brooklyn and Manhattan in the 1915 New York State census. Manhattan 1905, Manhattan 1925, and Queens 1915 will be available shortly. Also added to the Morse site is a new Google front end that allows a Google search directly with words written in Hebrew or Cyrillic characters.

Excellent Military Maps of 19th-Century Europe
 Avotaynu will shortly publish a Gazetteer of the Kingdom of Hungary compiled by Jordan Auslander. In the bibliography at the end of the book, Auslander mentions Austro-Hungarian Empire Topographic Maps located at I visited the site and it reminded me that I had reported this site's existence in Vol. 4, No. 20 (November 23, 2003) issue of Nu? What's New?. At that time, I noted it had excellent detailed maps of most of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In revisiting the site this week, I found it has been updated and now includes maps for most of continental Europe: from Strassbourg, France (07° longitude) in the west to Kiyev, Ukraine (30°30' longitude) in the east. From Volkovysk, Belarus (53°30' latitude) in the north to northern Greece (39° latitude) in the south. The maps are typically 3-4MB downloads and show the smallest of towns. The detail is 1:200000. Researchers looking for turn-of-the-20th-century maps of the area that includes their ancestral shtetls, will find these maps ideal. They were created in 1910.

Online Gazetteer of the World Has Moved
In the Vol. 4, No. 12, July 6, 2003, edition of Nu? What's New?, I identified an Internet site that provides the latitude/longitude of any town in the world. It is located at Apparently this site has gone commercial and now provides names of hotels in major cities throughout the world. The gazetteer function has been moved to The initial search produces latitude/longitude of a given town only in degrees, but clicking the town name, expands its description to degrees, minutes and seconds.

Web Site Provides Search Engine to Many Archives in England
An index to the record groups for nearly 400 archives in England can be searched at the Access to Archives (A2A) site at These archives are in the possession of local record offices and libraries, universities, museums and national and specialist institutions across England, where they are made available to the public. In many ways, the A2A search engine does not work like its Internet counterparts. It will search for the specific word or phrase submitted but will not find similar words or phrases or rank search results as a search engine does. Before using the search engine, read the section about how it works at It is very flexible but has rules that may be foreign to some users. For example, I searched for Brighton Jews and got no hits, but a search for Brighton AND Jews got many hits. Apparently, a string of words as keywords requires that they appear together, the equivalent of placing words in quotes using Google. Separating them by the word AND requires that the words only appear somewhere in the document. The results of a search identify the record groups that contain the keywords. It shows the number of hits which can be misleading. Searching for Brighton AND Jews identified a record group that had 666 hits. In analyzing the results, the word Jews appeared 3 times and the word Brighton appeared 663 times. The site includes contact information for all the archives that have participated in the site.

Central Zionist Archives Improves Web Site
The Central Zionist Archives, located in Jerusalem, now has a web site that includes a search engine. It is located at The site is bilingual: Hebrew and English. CZA is the archives of the Zionist movement. Its records cover the years 1880-1970 and document the growth of the Zionist movement worldwide, the development of the Jewish home and in Palestine and various other aspects of the history of the Jewish people in the last 120 years. In particular, the Archives has collections of the World Zionist Organization, Jewish Agency, Jewish National Fund and Keren Hayesod, as well as the archives of the World Jewish Congress and various other bodies. Because Zionism was such a great force throughout the world in the 60 years prior to the founding of Israel, many of our ancestors were members of the movement and CZA may have records pertaining to them. A search of their online system for persons named Mokotow yielded a Hirsch Mokotow, but the site provided no additional information about the nature of the record of this man. The site states that CZA will do research for inquirers. Their posted rate for family research is $20/NIS 30 for each family name. They show separate pricing for lawyers and professional researchers, but the pricing is the same. There are also photocopying and mailing charges. It is best that you get a more specific quote if you request they do research.

Register Now for the Las Vegas Conference
Online registration is now available for the 25th International conference on Jewish Genealogy, to be held in Las Vegas, Nevada, July 10-15, 2005. It is located at The links to tours and hotel registration at the Flamingo Hotel are open; and more pages will be added about programs, restaurants, and various other links to information shortly.

New Book: The Naturalized Jews of the Grand Duchy of Posen in 1834 and 1835: Revised Edition
Avotaynu has just published an revised edition of The Naturalized Jews of the Grand Duchy of Posen in 1834 and 1835, by Edward David Luft. The book provides a list of the original 5,173 persons living in the Grand Duchy of Posen with information on their names, towns of residence, occupation, and additional commentary. The law that created the census and an English translation is included. Genealogists searching for 19th-century ancestors in Posen (today Poznan) will find this work essential. The revised edition adds a number of chapters not in the first edition: * Analysis of persons who are citizens of Prussia and of Posen (dual citizens) * Analysis of the women listed in the book * Detailed analysis of the professions in the book * Lists first names of the persons naturalized * Reproduction of a naturalization patent * Greatly enlarged bibliography Additional information, including the Table of Contents and sample pages from the book, can be found at

Sephardic Dreidels?
In the last issue of Nu? What's New?, we mentioned that a Catholic priest in New Mexico was found to have the Cohanic trait in his DNA, implying he was of Jewish heritage. He also claimed his family had a tradition of shunning pork and spinning tops at Christmas (undoubtedly analogous to spinning dreidels by Jews at Chanukah time). Michael Bernet picked up on the comment and noted there has to be a flaw in that statement. The use of dreidels at Chanukah is an Ashkenazic tradition, not a Sephardic tradition, and the crypto-Jews of New Mexico are descended from Sephardic Jews. Jeffrey Malka, author of Sephardic Genealogy published by Avotaynu, confirmed that dreidels are not part of the Sephardic Chanukah practice. He added that Chanukah is a minor holiday in the Sephardic tradition and gift giving is usually done on Purim.

Nu? What's New is published biweekly by Avotaynu, Inc.
Copyright 2004, Avotaynu, Inc. All rights reserved

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