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

Volume 6, Number 9 | June 26, 2005

Canadian Census Bill May Not Pass Until Fall
The Canadian House of Commons has extended its legislative calendar instead of recessing for the summer, but the evidence is that only two of the bills remaining on its agenda will be considered. Neither one is Bill S-18 which only needs to pass Third Reading before the House votes on it to become law. If Parliament recesses for the summer, the bill will not be considered earlier than September 19 when the House returns from its recess.

If S-18 becomes law, information in the 1911 census will be released immediately, and other 20th-century censuses will be released 92 years after they were taken. However, effective with the 2006 census, persons participating in the census must indicate they want the information they provide made available 92 years later. Failure to so indicate would keep the information private forever.

Annual Conference Starts July 10
If you are still wavering whether to attend the 25th International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, time is growing short. The conference will start on Sunday, July 10, at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas. For those who have made a serious commitment to researching their family histories, the annual conference is a must. It is where the various Special Interest Groups (SIGs) hold their annual meetings, where people gather for informal Birds of a Feather meetings to discuss items of mutual interest, Breakfast with Experts sessions allow one-on-one problem solving with the scores of experts attending the conference, and people network to advance their knowledge of genealogical research. The lecturers are drawn from the top talent in Jewish genealogy and extend to notable speakers on the America genealogy scene.

Many people have plans to arrive early or stay late to take in the fun aspect of Las Vegas which extends well beyond its reputation as a gambling city. The nightly entertainment, excellent (and inexpensive) restaurants, local sight seeing and the gaudiness of Las Vegas at night will add to the enjoyment of the conference. This, in addition to very reasonable room rates, make for a winning situation.

Information about the conference can be found at the host society's web site

Avotaynu Taking Orders Only at Las Vegas Conference
We'll ship!! Don't schlep!! Avotaynu has decided its strategy this year will be to bring a sample copy of each of the books we sell and take orders rather than sell books at the conference. At past conferences, we offered free shipping anywhere in the U.S. for books purchased at the conference, and most purchasers took advantage of the offer rather than schlep books in their luggage. This year we will ship any books ordered at the conference free anywhere in the U.S. and at 50% of our shipping costs outside the U.S.

A Bit of Stephen P. Morse Humor
Stephen P. Morse, author of the numerous One-Step aids to online genealogical databases, wrote to me, "I'm not that much into pranks, but I do have the following for people who write to me asking to find their grandfather."

Avotaynu Offices Closed July 2-25; Place Orders for Books Now!
Avotaynu's offices will be closed from July 2-July 25. We are going to the 25th International Conference on Jewish Genealogy being held in Las Vegas. The following week, we will be closed for vacation. If you are interesting in ordering books from us, place your order now at our site We will stop processing orders on Friday, July 1. Any orders received after that date will be shipped the week of July 27.

New Book by Avotaynu: German Name-Change Gazetteer
Name-change gazetteers can be very valuable to persons researching their family history in Europe. The name of a European town on an old document may not be the name as it exists today. With every change in political systems there is usually a change in town names. My favorite statement that describes this circumstance is that there are people living today who were born in Lemberg, Austria-Hungary; married in Lwów, Poland; divorced in L'vov, USSR; and are currently living in L'viv, Ukraine. Yet they never have left the town in which they were born. This great city has had four political changes in the past 87 years!

After World War I, the map of Central and Eastern Europe was redrawn to reflect the fact that Germany and Austria-Hungary lost the war. New countries named Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia were created. Poland, which did not exist since 1795, was reconstituted. With these new countries came new names for towns. In 1931, a name-change gazetteer was published in Germany titled Deutsch-fremdsprachiges Ortsnamenverzeichnis (The best translation I can get is "German--Other-Language Gazetteer"). Its 1,172 pages list all the German names for towns that were once part of the German and Austria-Hungary Empires and their name changes after World War I.

Many years ago I found this extremely valuable book at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. The Library's copy was merely a poor photocopy of an original. For years I searched the Internet for a copy to buy through an antiquarian book dealer. Finally, in about 1999, I was able to purchase a copy. I gave the original to the Library and allowed them to cut it into individual pages so they could make high-quality copies for their internal use.

Avotaynu has now reprinted this gazetteer in two volumes. Towns are listed alphabetically within new country in two sequences: Old German name to new name, and new name to old German name. The names are for towns in the interwar countries of Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Yugoslavia. Also Belgium-Holland, Denmark, Estonia, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Soviet Union and Switzerland. Also German names for selected towns are shown for Albania, Bulgaria, Finland, Greece, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey.

Avotaynu had reprinted the book in two volumes and it is sold only as a set. Ordering information can be found at Also located at the site is a sample page from the original book. We will accept orders now, but will not have the books to ship until late July.

New Book: Soft Cover Version of Sourcebook for Jewish Genealogies and Family Histories
Your genealogy may be done already...or, at least, part of it. A number of years ago, Avotaynu published Sourcebook for Jewish Genealogies and Family Histories. It lists some 20,000 compiled genealogies for more than 10,000 different surnames. Some have been published in books, others are in manuscript form in archives throughout the world. This hardcover book is now out of print. We have reprinted it in a softcover version at a lower price. The hard cover version listed for $69.50. The new softcover version is only $35.00.

A complete list of surnames described in the book is at There is also ordering information at the site.

Out of Print: How to Document Victims and Locate Survivors of the Holocaust
How to Document Victims and Locate Survivors of the Holocaust is now out of print. There are no immediate plans to create an updated version. Published in 1995 just before the Internet became popular, the book focuses on principal non-Internet sources for locating information about individuals caught up in the Holocaust; sources such as yizkor books, Pages of Testimony and the records of the International Tracing Service located in Arolsen, Germany.

An updated version should include the growing number of Internet resources for Holocaust research. As the author of the book, I do not have the time at this moment to do a proper job. If some Nu? What's New? reader is interested in co-authoring a revised edition with me, which would require doing the work to identify and describe these Internet resources, they should contact me at

Major portions of the book, especially the chapters describing the above-named resources, has been on the Internet since the book was published. They are located at

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