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

Volume 8, Number 8 | April 29, 2007

Most of the news of the past two weeks has been small items so they are presented in condensed form.

Miscellaneous Items
Public access to records of the International Tracing Service. Belgium has become the sixth country to ratify the agreement that will give public access to the records of the International Tracing Service located in Bad Arolsen, Germany. France, Germany, Greece, Italy and Luxembourg have not yet done so.

Manhattan Brides Index. The brides’ index for the New York City borough of Manhattan now covers the years 1866–1937. It was developed by the Italian Genealogy Group and the German Genealogy Group. It can be accessed from the Stephen P. Morse site at

Silesian Business Directories. Logan Kleinwaks had made searchable three Silesian business directories recently digitized by the Silesian Digital Library located at They are: 1939/40 Ksiega informacyjna przemyslu, handlu, rzemiosla i wolnych zawodow wojewodztwa slaskiego (Business Directory); 1927 Amtliches Adressbuch der Provinz Niederschlesien fuer Industrie, Handel, Gewerbe (Industry, Trade and Craft Directory); and 1914 Adressbuch fuer die Oberschlesische Industrie (Industry Directory). They are located at At the bottom of the page, click on the link “Looking for the Search Engine for Online Historical Directories?”

Holocaust Victims of Vosges Department, France. A new book titled Juifs des Vosges, 1940–1944 memorializes some 1,200 Holocaust victims of Vosges Department, France. It is 544 pages. Cost is 35 Euros for delivery in France and 41.50 Euros elsewhere. Additional information including how to order can be found at

Montreal City Directories. If you have need to use the Montreal city directories at the Bibliotheque National de Quebec website, Stephen P. Morse has developed a superior portal. At the host site it can be difficult to search for a particular name through the years, going from one alphabetized directory to another. Morse now has a one-step tool that makes this process easier. It's the fourth from the last entry in the "Births, Deaths, and Other Vital Records" section of his website:

Access to New Zealand Vital Records. The New Zealand parliament is considering legislation to restrict access to birth, marriage and death records that are currently in the public domain. The proposal is to restrict access to 100 years for births, 80 years for marriages, 50 years for deaths. Furthermore any individual or organization that has this information in the public domain such as on the Internet or on CDs will have 14 days to remove any reference to any event that could have come from previously published material or face fines of $10,000-50,000 or 3 months in prison. Additional information can be found at

Conference Early Registration Ends Soon. The 27th International Conference on Jewish Genealogy is being held this year in Salt Lake City from July 15–20. If you do not register for the conference by Monday, April 30, it will cost you an additional $45. The conference is the premier event of the Jewish genealogical year and includes lectures, computer labs, meetings of Special Interest Groups, a film festival, free access to databases, vendor exhibits (including Avotaynu), luncheons sponsored by Special Interest Groups, research at the Family History Library and organized pre- and post-convention tours. Complete information about the conference, as well as registration and hotel reservation procedures, can be found at the conference site:

German-Jewish Family Research CD. May 1 is the deadline for AVOTAYNU subscribers to receive a reduced rate on the purchase of the new CD, Bibliography on German-Jewish Family Research and on Recent Regional and Local History of the Jews. It includes citations for more than 32,000 published sources in books, articles from old and current journals, newspapers and collective works. The CD has a full-word search engine. The cost is $65 plus shipping/handling. As an introductory offer to AVOTAYNU subscribers only, the CD is available for $55 plus shipping/handling until May 1. Ordering information can be found at Edward Luft has written a comprehensive review of the CD for the Spring 2007 issue of AVOTAYNU. It is presented at the website.

Spring Issue of AVOTAYNU
The Spring issue of AVOTAYNU is at the printer. It is four pages larger than the usual 68-page issue because of a number of lengthy articles.

The lead article is by Alexander Beider who proposes now is the time to develop name matching systems that are superior to the Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex System. D-M was developed 21 years ago by Randy Daitch and myself and is the standard soundex system for Jewish genealogical databases. It is a system that is very easy for people to use, but we are now in the Internet/computer era, Beider notes, and a more complex system, which he describes, should be implemented.

Carole Vogel and Yitzchok Stroh push past the brick wall that exist for the time prior to the period when Jews acquired hereditary surnames; circa 1800. The authors demonstrate that with sufficient data there are enough clues to identify individuals without surnames. The article is titled “Constructing a Town-Wide Genealogy: Jewish Mattersdorf, Hungary, 1698–1939.”
Stanley Diamond writes about “The Role of the Jewish Genealogist in Medical and Genetic Family History” and Richard Sobel of Harvard University discusses “Guidelines for Respecting Privacy in Jewish Genealogy”; two topics of great interest to genealogists today.

Other articles are: “Family History Research on Sephardic Jewry Through the Ladino Language Archives of the Jewish Community of Salonika,” “One of England’s Oldest Jewish Families,” new resources in Israel, and details of the Salt Lake City conference. In addition to these articles are the usual host of book reviews, news from societies and special interest groups and the “Ask the Experts” column.

If your subscription expired in 2006, resubscribe immediately to get your issue as soon as it becomes available. You can subscribe to AVOTAYNU at or call our offices in the U.S. and Canada at 1-800-AVOTAYNU (800-286-8296).

Need Authors for Planned Avotaynu Book
Avotaynu is looking for authors (or teams of authors) to help compile a major new reference book we plan to publish. The working title is Jewish Resources for Genealogy and Family History in the United States and Canada. We have already received many commitments from people to cover most areas, but help is still needed for the following states:
New York (except Albany and Long Island)
North and South Dakota
Ohio (except Cleveland)
Pennsylvania (except Philadelphia)
Authors share in royalties from the publication of the book. If interested, please contact Sallyann Amdur Sack at

In Their Words Polish Translation Guide Back In Print
After being out of print for more than a year, In Their Words: A Genealogist's Translation Guide - Polish is back in print. The 388-page book includes:
  • More than 60 Polish-language documents and extracts from American and European sources, analyzed and translated. Included are extracts from birth, death, and marriage records of various formats; gazetteer entries; revision lists; obituaries; population registers; military service records; passports; etc.
  • Sections on Polish grammar, phonetics, and spelling
  • Information on how to locate records in America and Europe, including contact information for various archives in Poland and neighboring countries
  • A chapter on gazetteers and how to use them, with 12 maps showing Poland's changing borders and administrative subdivisions
  • A vocabulary list with over 2,500 entries, featuring terms most likely to be found in records, including many overlooked by most dictionaries
  • A 14-page index to facilitate looking up specific items
The cost is $35.00 plus shipping/handling.

The authors, Jonathan D. Shea and William F. Hoffman, have also written two other translation guides: Following the Paper Trail and In Their Words: a Genealogist's Translation Guide - Russian, both available from Avotaynu. Following the Paper Trail is a guide to translating vital statistic records in 13 languages: Czech, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Latin, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish and Swedish. Each section shows the alphabet of the language, sample vital statistic records and their translation, and a list of words commonly encountered. In Their Words: a Genealogist's Translation Guide - Russian, parallels the format of the Polish book in providing a much more detailed translation guide than Following the Paper Trail which covers 13 languages in 256 pages.

Ordering information for all three books can be found at

Help Grow the Shoah Victims’ Names Database
Yad Vashem wants volunteers who are willing to contact local institutions and individuals to grow the Shoah Victims Database whose principal documents are Pages of Testimony. With the aid of promotional materials Yad Vashem has developed, volunteers will reach out to survivors and their families and assist them in registering the names of Jews who they know were murdered in the Shoah. This will be done through synagogues, Holocaust centers, Jewish Community Centers, Jewish student organizations, senior centers and social service agencies. To volunteer send your name, address, phone number and e-mail address to with the subject heading "Names Volunteer"

To submit a Page of Testimony, there is a link on the left portion of the screen from the Basic Search page at Click the words “Submit Additional Names.”

Nu? What's New is published biweekly by Avotaynu, Inc.
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