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

Volume 5, Number 25 | January 23, 2005

Avotaynu Now Offering Dictionary of Sephardic Surnames
One of the more important books for genealogy not published by Avotaynu is Dicionário Sefaradi de Sobrenomes (Dictionary of Sephardic Surnames). The book won the "Best Reference Book" award of the Association of Jewish Libraries for 2003. It is now available through Avotaynu.

Dictionary of Sephardic SurnamesPublished in Brazil, it is a compilation of 17,000 surnames presented under 12,000 entries. All names were used by the Jews who lived in Spain and Portugal for 15 centuries and later spread across the world as Sephardim, marranos and conversos. The book includes hundreds of rare photographs, family shields and illustrations. In addition to the dictionary portion, there is a 72-page summary of Sephardic history, before and after the expulsion from Spain and Portugal, and a 40-page linguistic essay about Sephardic names, including a list of the 250 most common surnames.

The dictionary itself has 274 pages and appendices: geographic glossary, remissive index (in place of a soundex index), and a detailed list of all 335 bibliographical sources on which the book is based. The period covered by the dictionary is 600 years, from the 14th to the 20th centuries. The researched area includes Spain and Portugal, France, Italy, Holland, England, Germany, Balkans, Central and Eastern Europe, the former Ottoman Empire, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, North America, Central America and the Caribbean, South America (including colonial times), Australia and others. The authors, members of the Jewish Genealogical Society in Brazil, are Guilherme Faiguenboim, Paulo Valadares and Anna Rosa Campagnano.

The book is 528 pages, hardcover and sells for $50.00. Additional information, including the Table of Contents, is at

Online Encyclopedia of Genealogy
Dick Eastman, author of the e-zine, "Eastman's Online Genealogy", is developing an online Encyclopedia of Genealogy. The site, he states, will serve as a free clearinghouse of genealogy techniques: where to find records, how to organize the data found, what the terminology means, and how to plan your next research effort. Within a few months, the online encyclopedia will describe how to research African American, French-Canadian, German, Indian, Italian, Jewish, Polish, and other ethnic groups. In short, the Encyclopedia of Genealogy, Eastman hopes, will serve as your standard genealogy reference manual.

It is located a

The Encyclopedia of Genealogy grows through the addition of articles written by the genealogical community itself; users such as yourself. This is because it is built on "wiki" software: a technique that allows collaborative effort for a website system where, for the most part, -any- person can edit -any- page. An example of this technique is the Wikipedia at and at Wiktionary at The wiki software approach means that if you see anything in the encyclopedia that is incorrect, you can change it. If you see anything that is incomplete, you can add to it. If you note anything that is missing, you can add it or create your own entry.

At present, the encyclopedia has just 200 articles, but new contributions from readers will grow the site.

The license used grants free access to the content in the same sense as free software is licensed freely. This principle, known as "copyleft", means the contents of the Encyclopedia of Genealogy can be copied, modified, and redistributed, so long as the new version grants the same freedoms to others and acknowledges the authors of the Encyclopedia of Genealogy article used (a direct link back to the article satisfies the author credit requirement). Encyclopedia of Genealogy articles, therefore, will remain free forever and can be used by anyone, subject to very minor restrictions, most of which serve to ensure that freedom.

You can subscribe to Eastman's weekly newsletter at There are two version; a free version and an expanded version that costs $19.95.

U.S. Library of Congress Digitizing Some of Its Books
A posting to the Romanian SIG notes that the U.S. Library of Congress has made available online a 1924 Romanian business directory at I went to the LOC site to see what other books might be of interest to genealogists and found a Polish directory at

Start at the European Reading Room Home Page at and browse the subpages. Other services offered include transliteration tables for many languages. There are also detailed descriptions of many of their collections.

Historic Hebrew Newspapers Now Available Online
The Jewish National and University Library in Jerusalem has placed online digitized images of “Historic Hebrew Newspapers.” The first stage of the project, now completed, contains:
* Halevanon (1863-1886) 770 issues, approx. 7,200 pages.
* Hamagid (1856-1903) 2265 issues, approx. 19,500 pages.
* Havazelet (1863-1911) 1857 issues, approx. 14,200 pages.
* Hazefirah (1862-1931) 8,600 issues, approx. 42,000 pages.

The website is at

These newspapers contain a wealth of primary material on Diaspora and Land of Israel history of the period. Access to them has, until now, been limited to a small number of research libraries which held either the crumbling originals or microfilm copies.

The aim of this site is to provide open access to images of the major titles of the early Hebrew press (19th and early 20th century).

Halevanon, Havazelet was published in Jerusalem. Hamagid was the first Hebrew newspaper established in Europe in 1856. It was published initially in Odessa and in 1872 moved to St. Petersburg. Hazefirah was published in Warsaw and Berlin.

That is the good news. The bad news is that searches can only be done in Hebrew. This makes sense since the publications themselves were published in Hebrew. There is an English-language description of the project that can be accessed from the home page.

An Israeli friend who visited the site made the following comments. In Hebrew, you can search (right side of page after you click on the name of one of the papers) according to the civil date, Hebrew date, volume and issue of the paper; or according to subject and author. If you click on the latter, it brings you to a page where you can search according to writer, title or subject; according to words; or according to the number of the issue.

I typed in an expression and came up with the entire issue, even though I clicked on just the one subject. The article containing the expression then had to be located without any assistance as to where it appeared in the newspaper. Sort of primitive, but it works more or less. I wouldn't have patience to play with it unless I was doing some serious searching. Completes Passenger Lists has completed its indexing and digital images of Baltimore passenger lists, 1892-1948, and San Francisco, 1893-1953. It has plans to publish indexes and images for Galveston arrivals, 1896-1948, and has completed the years 1896-1919. Information can be found at The company offers these databases on a fee-for-service basis.

Website Identifies Thousands of Dutch-Jewish Individuals
So you think you have a large family tree. A Dutch child Holocaust survivor, Levie Kanes, has placed on the Internet a genealogy site that includes 170,599 individuals in 62,074 families comprising 13,727 surnames. It is located at (Click Descendancy Pages to access the names). Some of the names go back to the 17th century.

Kanes stated that he started out originally with related families and then decided to do all Dutch-Jewish families. Most of his sources are from the city halls in the Netherlands and from the work of other genealogists.

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