Nu? What's New?
The E-zine of Jewish Genealogy From Avotaynu

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 8, Number 19 | October 14, 2007

New Ukrainian Research Service Launched
The Alberta (Canada) Community Development has announced they have received funding for an Alberta-Ukraine Genealogical Project that, in part, will provide genealogical research services in much of western Ukraine. David Makowsky, office coordinator for the project, has informed me that the service is not limited to persons in Alberta but is available to anyone, worldwide. The project evolved from the signing of Memorandums of Understanding on Cooperation between the Government of Alberta and the Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv oblasts. Alberta is a region of Canada where many Ukrainians settled.

The announcement stated “It will...strengthen affiliations between Alberta and archival institutions and record depositories in Western Ukraine, particularly in the oblasts of Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopil, Chernivtsi and Lviv.”

Their application form shows a CAN$30 charge for “Assessment of Resources” in Ukraine and CAN$20 for copies of each record found. (At present the Canadian and U.S. dollars are approximately equivalent.)

Inquiries may be sent to the Alberta genealogical research office by e-mail, at Additional information can be found at

Family History Department Develops Wiki-Like Web Site
The Mormon Family History Department has developed a new research tool along the lines of Wikipedia. It is at There is a lot of good material, some based on printed pamphlets that have existed at the Family History Library for years. Use the Search engine in the upper right corner to search for the keyword "Jewish." It will locate more than 40 sites that have information on Jewish topics. Be sure to search the FamilySearchWiki site for general information. They have a section that describes resources by country that can be linked to from the Home Page.

Fall Issue of AVOTAYNU
We are currently working on the Fall issue of AVOTAYNU. I do not understand how editor Sallyann Amdur Sack does it, but she constantly comes up with articles of great interest to the Jewish genealogical community. A major reason is that she has personal contacts throughout the world with people that affect Jewish genealogical research. When it was obvious that Paul Shapiro of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum was a mover and shaker in the controversy about public access to the records of the International Tracing Service, she went to Shapiro’s office and interviewed him. The article appeared in the Summer issue of AVOTAYNU. When Dr. Sack goes on her annual trip to Israel to gather the latest information for publication in AVOTAYNU, she always meets with the director of the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People. Do you know what they talk about? Their grandchildren. That is the personal rapport she has with many of her contacts.

Kahlile Mehr of the Family History Library has been the source for many years of the AVOTAYNU notices that describe the latest acquisitions of Jewish records from Eastern Europe by the Library. In an article in the Fall issue, Mehr writes about the web sites of the national archives of Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Russia, Serbia/Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine. Mehr gives the URL for each archives and identifies what portion of each site would have relevant genealogical information.

Have you ever wondered how Steve Morse does it? How he is capable of getting into an existing web site and extracting information in a better format than that which is available using the site’s search engine? Morse reveals the variety of ways he accomplishes his task in an article about “deep linking.”

One of the most prominent persons in American genealogy is Thomas W. Jones, PhD, who is a Certified Genealogist and has been on the Board of Directors of the Board on Certification of Genealogists and the Association of Professional Genealogists. He also serves on the faculty of Samford University’s Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, and the National Institute on Genealogical Research. Dr. Jones was invited to the first Symposium of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy in September 2006 to discuss what should be the content of a curriculum for genealogy in colleges and universities. He has taken his talk and converted it into an article that will appear in the Fall issue of AVOTAYNU.

They say that every Jew has a relative that lives in Israel. It appears to be equally true that every Jew has some ancestor or collateral relative that once lived in Odessa, Ukraine. Consequently, an article will appear in the Fall issue—written by Lilia Belousova, vice-director of the Odessa State Regional Archives—about Jewish genealogical resources there. The article is so long and comprehensive that it may have to be published in two consecutive issues of AVOTAYNU.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of articles that will appear in the issue. As usual, there are more articles than space permits, so we may hold over some for the Winter issue.

Just as Nu? What’s New? provides its readers with tidbits of information about the latest happenings that affect Jewish genealogical research, AVOTAYNU provides in-depth articles of these topics of interest.

Subscribe to AVOTAYNU
Arthur Kurzweil stated a number of years ago in his book, “From Generation to Generation,” that “The single most significant development in the field of Jewish genealogy over the past decade has been the appearance of Avotaynu...(It) is essential for all Jewish genealogists. You must subscribe to it.” Subscriptions are on a calendar basis. Since we are halfway into the year, we offer a six-issue subscription to the AVOTAYNU—the Fall and Winter 2007 issues plus the four issues of 2008. Alternately, you can order a one-year subscription receiving the Spring and Summer 2007 issues immediately and Fall and Winter issues when they are published. You can subscribe to either plan at

Latvian Cemetery Database Now Online
Alexandrs Feigmanis, a professional genealogist in Latvia—and AVOTAYNU Contributing Editor for Latvia—has posted to his web site,, a Latvian cemetery database. It includes about 70 percent of Latvian Jewish tombstones from the period 1760 to 1950. The database includes more than 4,200 Jewish tombstones from Aizpute, Auce, Balvi, Bauska, Cesis (Wenden), Daugavpils (Dvinsk), Demene, Jaunjelgava (Friedrichstadt), Gostini (Dankere), Griva, Grobin, Ikskile, Jekabpils (Jakobstadt), Karsava, Kraslava, Krustpils, Kuldiga, Piltene, Limbazi (Lemsal), Livani, Ludza (Lutzin), Piltene, Preili, Rezekne, Riebini, Riga, Rujena, Sabile, Saldus, Skaistkalne (Schoenberg), Smiltene, Subate, Talsi, Tukums, Valdemarpils (Sassmaken), Valka, Valmiera, Varaklani, Ventspils (Windau), Vilani and Zilupe. The tombstones from the large Liepaja (Libau) Jewish cemetery are not included in this list, but are available on the website

ITS Ratification: One Down, Two to Go
Italy has now ratified the agreement which will allow public access to the records of the International Tracing Service. Only France and Greece have not ratified the agreement.

Lodz Ghetto Work ID Cards to Be Indexed
JewishGen is looking for volunteers to help index an estimated 23,000 Work Identification Cards from the Lodz ghetto. These cards are on microfilm at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. When completed it will become a part of the JewishGen Holocaust database at which currently has more than 1.8 million entries from more than 100 data sets. If you are interested in volunteering for the project, contact Roni Seibel Liebowitz at Additional information about the project can be found at

Gravestone Inscriptions for Frankfurt and Prague
Logan Kleinwaks reports that two books showing gravestone inscriptions of Frankfurt-am-Main and Prague are available on Google books. The 1901 work Die Inschriften des alten Friedhofs der israelitischen Gemeinde zu Frankfurt a. M., contains thousands of gravestone inscriptions from Frankfurt. It can be seen at An 1856 work Grabsteininschriften des prager isr. alten Friedhofs mit biographischen Notizen, is viewable at Kleinwaks notes that if you do not see a button to "Read this book" or "Download PDF," it is probably because Google is blocking you due to country-specific copyright concerns.

Now Shipping New Book: Until the 'Final Solution': The Jews in Belgrade 1521–1942
Avotaynu is now shipping to purchasers copies of Until the 'Final Solution': The Jews in Belgrade 1521–1942, by Jennie Lebel.

This book is a well-documented history of this great city from the 16th century to the Jewish community’s tragic end in 1942. The history of the community under Ottoman rule, Serbia, Yugoslavia and finally the German occupation and the “Final Solution” is told in great detail—always based on documentary evidence. It was the quality of this research that motivated Avotaynu to publish the book.

Additional information including the Table of Contents can be found at The Hebrew version of the book was published by Hakibbutz Hameuchad Publishing House. Information about the Hebrew version can be found at

Wanted: Human Interest Articles for Winter Issue of AVOTAYNU
The Winter issue of AVOTAYNU is our human interest issue. Many years ago, Sallyann Sack and I wanted to recognize that there is more to genealogy than ancestor hunting. There is the human side of genealogy. The emotional reactions of a genealogist to discoveries in his/her family's history can be both happy and upsetting. There is the pride a researcher feels in successfully breaking down a brick wall. The discovery of long-lost family or linking to the family tree of another genealogist can be exhilarating. Our solution was to reserve a portion of the Winter issue each year to articles about the human side of genealogy.

Articles should be submitted to AVOTAYNU editor, Sallyann Amdur Sack at by December 1.

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.”

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