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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 9, Number 12 | May 18, 2008

IAJGS Announces 2010 Conference To Be in Los Angeles
The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies and the Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles have announced that the 30th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy will be held in Los Angeles from July 11–16, 2010.

Los Angeles, the entertainment capital of the world, offers significant and varied resources for genealogical research. The conference hotel will be the newly constructed Marriott at L.A. LIVE, located in downtown Los Angeles's cultural, entertainment and gastronomic center. The last time the conference was held in Los Angeles was 1998.

The schedule for IAJGS conferences is:
    2008 Chicago August 17–22
    2009 Philadelphia August 2–7.
    2010 Los Angeles July 11–16
    2011 Washington, DC. Date to be determined
    2012 Paris (tentative)
    2013 Not determined
    2014 Jerusalem (tentative) Divulges Planned Databases claims it now has 7 billion names in more than 25,000 databases. They have announced plans for future databases to be available in the next few months. A partial list includes.
    * Historical newspapers – 20 million additional images and more than 1 billion names.
    * Cook County (Chicago), Illinois Birth, Marriage, and Death Records (1871–1988).
    * Florida State Census (update) – 4 million names added to the Florida State Censuses representing the years 1867, 1875, 1935, and 1945.
    * Drouin Collection of French-Canadian Vital and Church Records (1621–1967) – 37 million names
    * British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards (1914–1920) – 4.8 million names
    * German City Directories (1797–1945) – 32 million names
    * Ontario, Canada Births, Marriages, and Deaths – 10.7 million names
    * Swedish Emigration Records (1783–1951) – 1.7 million names

A partial list of several other international collections to be released within the year includes:
    * Bremen Ships Content (1815–1917) – A detailed collection of more than 20,000 birth, death, desertions, and passenger registrations, which complements the existing Bremen content in the U.S. passenger list collection.
    * British Army Service Records (1914–1920) – Service records for more than 1.2 million British soldiers who fought in WWI.
    * Canadian Passenger Lists (1865–1935) – 8 million names of immigrants and other travelers arriving in Quebec and other major ports during that time frame.
    * Paris Vital Records (1798–1902) – 12 million names found in original parish and civil records dating from the 1700s through the early 20th century.
    * Inbound UK Passenger Lists (1878–1960) – 20 million names of those passengers traveling to the UK.

The complete announcement and list of databases can be found at

British Jewish Marriage Authorisation Certificates Available
It is now possible to order online copies of Marriage Authorisation Certificates for marriages that took place under the auspices of the Office of the Chief Rabbi of England from 1880–1886. Plans call for including the years 1845–1907. The project is a collaborative effort between the United Synagogue and the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain.

Marriage Authorisations granted by The United Synagogue (from c.1845) give permission to a local rabbi to conduct a marriage ceremony. The Authorisation is granted after the authorities are satisfied that both parties are halachically Jewish or that they have an acceptable Certificate of Conversion. Information of the Marriage Authorisation gives among other information:
    - The proposed place and date of marriage
    - The Hebrew and English names of the bride and groom
    - Their addresses
    - Their country of origin
    - The Hebrew names of the bride's father and groom's father
    - The Hebrew names of the groom's unmarried brothers and which ones intend to attend the marriage ceremony

The first batch of records (3,900) within this database are those from 17th February 1880 - 30th December 1886. Records cost £15 for United Synagogue and JGSGB members and £20 for non-members. The site is located at

Index to Jews of Kreis Altenkirchen and Westerwaldkreis
Georg Stockschlaeder of Gebhardshain, Germany, is attempting to reconstruct the population of the German Rhineland from 1750 to the present. To date, he has indexed more than 200,000 persons from Kreis Altenkirchen and Westerwaldkreis. The Kreis Altenkirchen database contains about 125,000 persons for the period 1600–1900. It is a work in progress. The aim is a total reconstruction of the population of about 350,000 persons. Primary sources are church registers and archives. The list includes Jews.

A second database is of the Jews in the Westerwald. The database includes about 2,000 persons; more than 500 were victims of the Holocaust.

The home page of the site is An index to the Jews can be found at Portions of the site are in English; the majority is in German.

Fee-for-Service Program at USCIS Will Start in August
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (CIS), formerly called the INS, will begin its planned fee-for-service program on August 13, 2008. It addresses a complaint of the genealogical community regarding very slow turnaround time for requests of immigration and naturalization documents. Its pricing conforms to the Office of Management and Budget requirement that all government offices charges fees that will recover the full cost of services provided.

Costs will be $20 for a copy of a microfilm document and $35 for a textual record.

The types of historical records available under the new program are:
    * Naturalization certificate files(C-files) from September 27, 1906-April 1, 1956 (from all federal, state, municipal courts and more)
    * Microfilmed alien registration forms from August 1, 1940 to March 31, 1944
    * Visa files from July 1, 1924 to March 31, 1944
    * Registry files from March 2, 1929 to March 31, 1944
    * Alien files numbered below 8 million and dated prior to May 1,1951

You may view/download a complete description of the program at

Database of Jewish Soldiers, Partisans and Workers Killed in Action During the Nazi Era
The Jewish Genealogical Society, Inc. (JGSNY) has made available on its Internet site a searchable “Memorial Database of Jewish Soldiers, Partisans and Workers Killed in Action During the Nazi Era.” Information supplied is name (including patronymic), birth and death year and source. The database can be accessed at Read the FAQ section first to gain an understanding of the source column on the results page.

The project is an outgrowth of work done by Alexander Zaslavsky of Israel, who has undertaken a project to pull together the information from a variety of sources, including memorial books published in Moscow, Kiev, Zhitomir and other cities and regions of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldavia, Khazakhstan and elsewhere, that contain the names of soldiers and officers killed or missing in action. The names of partisans and workers who fell during the Nazi era are also included.

Vatican Opposes Mormon Church Practice of Posthumous Baptism
In an effort to block posthumous baptisms by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Catholic dioceses throughout the world have been directed by the Vatican not to give information in parish registers to the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU), the Mormon Church’s record acquisition arm. The directive informed bishops to keep GSU from microfilming and digitizing information contained in those registers. Additional information can be found at

In 1995 the Mormon Church signed an agreement with certain Jewish organizations to limit posthumous baptism of Jews to ancestors of Mormons. When it was found that individual Mormons continued to posthumously baptize Jews, the Church reneged on the agreement by declaring to the Jewish representatives that it was the Church’s policy to allow members of their faith to posthumously baptize any relative no matter how remotely related. In addition, posthumous baptism of Holocaust victims and other Jews unrelated to Mormons goes unabated.

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 log in 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

Jewish Records Indexing-Poland has added more than 160,000 new entries from 80 towns to the its database. The entries include data from 43 towns in the database for the first time as well as new data for later years from previously indexed towns. There were 8,700 additions to the Warsaw Cemetery database, which now has more than 65,000 entries. JRI-Poland now has indices to nearly 3.4 million records. Its site is located at There are more than 100 towns for which JRI-Poland has data that cannot be uploaded because of the lack of funding. To determine the status of indexing your town, go to

LitvakSIG vital records translation project has added more than 15,000 vital records: births, marriage, divorce and death records to the All Lithuania Database (ALD). The towns include Seredzius, Jonava, Panevezys, Pumpenai, Obeliai, Pasvalys, Birzai, Vandziogala, Telsiai, Plunge and more. The Rabbinate records for Rokiskis and Birzai are also included.

Spring Issue of AVOTAYNU
The Spring issue of AVOTAYNU will go the printer this week, a bit late because of the preparation and trip to the International Tracing Service in Bad Arolsen, Germany. The title of some of the articles that will appear include:
    * Editorial: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
    * Can DNA Confirm Jewish Ancestry?
    * Coming to America through Hamburg and Liverpool Part II: Crossing the Atlantic
    * A Method of Deducing Unknown Surnames of Female Ancestors
    * International Institute for Jewish Genealogy Reports on Its First Two Years
    * Tombstone Identification through Database Merging

All told, there are 19 articles plus the regular columns:
    * From Our Contributing Editors
    * U.S. Update
    * Ask the Experts
    * Book Reviews
    * From Our Mail Box.

The complete Table of Contents can be found at If you have failed to resubscribe for 2008 or want to be a new subscriber, you can do so at

FGS Conference in Philadelphia September 2–6
If you live in the Philadelphia area, you might consider attending the annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, which is being held at the Philadelphia Convention Center from September 2–6. There are many lectures of interest to Jewish genealogists primarily in the area of methodology, European ancestry and the use of computers for genealogy. Lecturers include Stephen P. Morse, Judith Caplan and myself. There is a huge exhibit hall that typically includes about 50 vendors.

The complete program can be found at FGS is the umbrella group of nearly 600 genealogical societies located in the U.S. and Canada. Consequently, the first-day’s program focuses on society management matters.

ItalianGen: A Victim of Success
If you have ancestors who lived in the New York area, you should be aware that the Italian Genealogy Group has indexed a number of very valuable record groups including:
    Naturalizations for Federal and Some State Courts
    New York City Groom and Bride’s Indexes
    New York City Death Index

The organization is running out of funds to pay for the incidental costs of doing new databases that are being worked on by volunteers. New material may be delayed until funds are raised. If you use these databases, I recommend you send a check for $25 payable to Italian Genealogical Group to John Martino; Project Coordinator; 49 Brookhill Lane; Huntington, NY 11743. While you have your checkbook out, if you have not done so already, write a check to JewishGen for $100 as your annual contribution. Send the check to JewishGen; Museum of Jewish Heritage; 36 Battery Place; New York, NY 10280

The Italian site is 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.”

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