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

Volume 8, Number13 | July 1, 2007

A Milestone
Nu? What's New? now reaches more than 7,500 subscribers.


The latest software that permits collaborative genealogy is PhpGedView. Collaborative genealogy is the term for the environment where many people—usually your relatives—have access to and can update data in a shared genealogical database. This is possible because PhpGedView is installed at a website such as your personal website. You, as the creator of the site, can create the level of collaboration permitted by those who have access, including the extreme situation where only you can update the database.

PhpGedView is available in 25 languages, including Hebrew. This allows relatives all over the world to use the site in their native language. Because the data is stored on the Internet, it is accessible independent of the users operating environment, be it Windows, Macintosh, Linux or other.

The creators of PhpGedView state that the system includes full Hebrew translation, Jewish calendars with yahrzeits; and the ability to specify dates, names, and titles in Hebrew or other languages. It allows soundex searches using either the American or Daitch-Mokotoff soundex system.

There is a demo version of the system at An excellent description can be found at Dick Eastman’s e-zine at

I plan to download the system to my private domain and will report at some future date about its functionality. Initial reports are enthusiastic. Browsing through the demo version indicates it is a full-function system with a host of reports and screen displays.

JewishGen Holocaust Database Now Has 1.6 Million Entries
Recent additions to the JewishGen Holocaust Database have increased the collection to more than 100 datasets containing 1.6 million entries about Holocaust victims and survivors. It is located at The additions cover a wide spectrum of data:
   * 152,000 Jewish refugees from the Soviet Union who were evacuated to Tashkent and other localities in Uzbekistan in 1941–42.
   * 135,000 Hungarian Jews collected by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany
   * 140,000 Romanian Jews collected by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany
   * 18,334 prisoners interned in the Flossenberg concentration camp in Germany.
   * 2,000 Jewish medical personnel in Galicia and surrounding areas in 1940–42
   * 700 Jewish refugees attempting to get to Palestine who perished when the Struma sank.
   * 707 Hungarian Jewish survivors from Buchenwald concentration camp
   * 567 deportees who boarded a transport train ambushed on the way to Auschwitz from Belgium in 1943.
   * 200 Jews who arrived at the UNNRA refugee camp in Philippeville, Algeria, in 1945

Access to ITS Records Update
Two more countries, Luxembourg and Greece, have given their consent to public access to the records of the International Tracing Service located in Bad Arolsen, Germany. Only Italy and France have yet to give consent. In France, the process was delayed by elections, which ended recently. Lack of approval by all 11 countries has not delayed ITS plans to make the records available to the member countries.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has received a $1 million gift from Norman and Irma Braman of Miami, Florida, designated to support the Museum’s efforts to open and copy the International Tracing Service (ITS) archive and make it available to Holocaust survivors and scholars.

Canadian Census Battle Looms—Again
As a concession to those who wanted the Canadian census to be kept private forever, genealogists and historians gave approval to a law that the 2006 census information would be released after 100 years if the provider of the information consented to its release. A question regarding consent was asked on the census questionnaire. Specifying "no" or failing to answer the question meant the information would not be released. The opponents of release held hostage the 1911 census stating if the compromise was not made they would not make available the 1911 census.

Less than 56% of respondents said "yes," and now representatives of the Canadian Historical Association and a representative of the Canadian genealogical community will meet with government officials on July 15 to discuss modifying the rules in time for the 2016 census.

News from the SIGs
SIGs are Special Interest Groups primarily focusing on geographic areas of ancestry. You can subscribe to their Discussion Groups at A login is required. You can link to the SIG home pages from There are also more than 80 Jewish Genealogical Societies throughout the world. A list of societies can be found at

Austria-Czech SIG. A list of burials in the Czech Republic is located Go to the "List of Cemeteries" and look for those that include the word "Zidovsky,"the Czech word for "Jewish." As an example, the Jewish burials for the town of Vamberk appear to have hundreds of entries, some dating back to the period before Jews had hereditary surnames. Click on an individual and the exact date of death and sometimes the date of birth are displayed. There is a comparable site for Slovakia burials at It seems to have much fewer Jewish burials.

German Jewish SIG. At the beginning of the 19th century, Jews in Germany were required to take hereditary surnames. These name adoptions were recorded in books, and Wolfgang Fritzsche, a German professional genealogist, has placed many of these name adoption lists on his website at

Rom-SIG. Two Internet sites provide the ability to translate Romanian into English. They are and sells translation software for many languages. They offer free dictionaries in a multitude of languages at

Addendum About Polish Maps
Ron Arons notes that the detailed map of Polish towns described in the last edition of Nu? What’s New? is actually part of Google’s mapping facility. It exists for many countries in addition to Poland. Arons will be giving a lecture titled "The Internet Beyond JewishGen and Steve Morse's Website" at the IAJGS conference where he will discuss, among other sites, both Microsoft's and Google's mapping facilities.

Final Reminder: Pre-order Books If You Are Coming to the Conference
In a few weeks, the annual IAJGS conference will take place. As in previous years, Avotaynu will be one of the vendors. In most cases, we will be bringing only one sample copy of each of our books and taking orders which will be filled after the conference. It is strongly suggested that attendees (especially non-U.S. ones) who plan to purchase books order them ahead of time. You will be able to pick them up and avoid the shipping charges. Please place orders before July 6; that is the day we plan to ship our books to Salt Lake City. A complete list of books we sell can be found at

As of May 14, 2007, the U.S. postal system has revised its rates, eliminating surface mail to countries outside the U.S. This has resulted in a significant increase in postage rates; therefore, resulting in an increase in the postage rates Avotaynu must charge our non-U.S. customers. In addition, rates within the U.S. have increased.

A Political Comment
Governments collect taxes from its citizens and then return the monies in the form of benefits. But something different is evolving in the United States. Government departments are becoming profit centers rather than citizen service centers.

It has impacted genealogy in a number of ways. The U.S. National Archives is now charging for copies of records based on its estimated cost to make the copies. The Citizenship and Immigration Service could not get budgeted the manpower necessary to service requests of its citizens for records of their ancestors, so the solution was to create a fee-for-service system. It costs considerable amount to get a copy of someone’s Social Security application; it was once available for a token fee. The U.S. Postal Service has eliminated the service of shipping letters and parcels by surface mail to other countries; they will only ship by air. Avotaynu used to pay $11 to ship a copy of Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy to England. USPS now wants $46. (We have come up with an alternate solution).

It appears the U.S. government feels its main function is to place its troops in other lands. There is a U.S. military presence in Germany 62 years after the end of World War II. There are American troops in South Korea 54 years after the armistice. Troops are in Afghanistan six years after Bin Laden was not captured and in Iraq four years after weapons of mass destruction were not found.

Of course, some would argue that having these troops worldwide decreases the likelihood that the U.S. will be invaded. But at the rate that government services to its citizens are declining, who would want to invade us?

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.
Copyright 2007, Avotaynu, Inc. All rights reserved

To be added or removed from this mailing list, go to the Internet site To change your e-mail address, go to the same site and remove the old address and add the new address.

Back issues of
Nu? What's New? are available at

To subscribe to AVOTAYNU, The International Review of Jewish Genealogy, go to

To order books from our catalog, go to

To contact us by postal mail, write: Avotaynu, Inc.; 155 N. Washington Ave.; Bergenfield, NJ 07621