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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 10, Number 1 | January 14, 2009

This edition is going to 8,263 subscribers

Not many significant items in the past few weeks.

1911 Census of England and Wales Now Online
The 1911 census of England and Wales is now online at Not all counties are available, but when complete, it will identify 36 million people. At present, 27 million people are online. It is anticipated that the site will initially experience a high level of visitors logging on to search the records.

Completed by all householders in England and Wales on Sunday, April 2, 1911, the census records show the name, age, place of birth, marital status and occupation of every resident in every home, as well as their relationship to the head of the household. The 1911 census was the first to ask questions relating to fertility in marriage. Married women were asked to state how long they had been married and how many children had been born from that marriage.

Completed counties are Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Cornwall, Derbyshire, Devonshire, Dorsetshire, Essex, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, London, Middlesex, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Rutlandshire, Shropshire, Somersetshire, Staffordshire, Suffolk, Surrey, Sussex, Warwickshire, Wiltshire, Worcestershire, and Yorkshire West Riding.

Marian Smith
One of the great assets for understanding the process of immigration to the United States is Marian L. Smith, historian of the Citizenship and Immigration Service. For years, Marian has lectured and written articles—some for AVOTAYNU—on the immigration process. Smith now has a new line of communication on the subject; her own personal blog at

Her first topic addresses a question posted to JewishGen recently: Are there missing manifests from Ellis Island? The title of her article is “Fact or Myth: Missing (Cabin) Manifests 1897–1903.” This 2,600 word dissertation does not merely answer the question, but educates the reader in the process on how passenger lists were handled by the Immigrant Service. Marian had other information to share, so please also read “More to the Point: Missing Manifests,” a 2,700 word afterthought.

AVOTAYNU at the Printer
The latest issue of AVOTAYNU is at the printer and should be mailed in about two weeks. One of the unusual articles in the issue is the regular “Ask the Experts” column where subscribers ask help in solving problems and experts Randy Daitch and Eileen Polakoff give suggested solutions. This issue’s column is devoted to only one brief question from a subscriber. It is the problem facing many American genealogists in that an ancestor cannot be found in the Ellis Island records nor in the first census where they should appear. The ancestor also moved from the comfort of Jewish Brooklyn to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Why asks the inquirer? Daitch devotes two pages to answering these questions. He describes the methodology for how he found the ancestors in the Ellis Island Database and how he determined the relationships between families living in Wilkes-Barre. We can all learn from his analysis.

One aspect of family history research that is lacking is standards. I know of only one: standards for citing sources which has been published in a book, Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, by Elizabeth Shown Mills. For the past two years, I have been developing a standard for citing dates, names and places in a genealogical database. My conclusions are published as the lead article in AVOTAYNU. I have submitted my proposal to the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy for approval.

There are 12 other articles in the issue plus the usual columns of Contributing Editors, U.S. Update, Ask the Experts, Book Review and From Our Mailbox.

The latest issue is our “Fall 2008" edition which is very late. We hope to catch up with the Winter issue in the next 60 days. You can subscribe to AVOTAYNU at

JewishGen Continues to Grow and Grow
JewishGen ended 2008 with a number of announcements demonstrating the site continues to grow. The Yizkor Book project reported that in December two new books, two new entries, and six updates have been added to the site:

The JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry—JOWBR—added approximately 50,000 burial records and 25,000 new photos of tombstones to its database at There are now listings of 2,033 cemeteries worldwide and plots in the searchable database, comprising 1,074,427 records. New entries are for cemeteries in Alabama, Indian, Mississippi, Argentina, Israel and Romania.

The ShtetLinks project—web sites that provide information about ancestral towns—has added seven additional towns in December. The list of towns can be found at

JewishGen can grow only through the voluntary monetary contributions of users and sponsors of the organization. If you have not made a contribution to JewishGen in the past twelve months, do so at

Hungarian Death Notices Online
FamilySearch, the genealogy arm of the Mormon Church, has placed approximately 500,000 death notices from Hungary online at;t=browsable;w=;p=2. About 30% represent Budapest, the rest from surrounding areas. They have not yet integrated the names into their central index, so it is necessary to browse the specific web site for the database to retrieve information.

Prague Conscription (Residence) Records Online - Progress Report
The June 17, 2007, issue of Nu? What’s New? noted that the Prague National Archive was in the process of indexing their conscription records collection (1850–1914). Conscription records are residence permits issued at the Prague police headquarters for the Prague region. The Archive now has reported they have indexed more than one million entries. It is complete partially through the letter “L.” Surnames searched beyond this letter will provide results only for married women whose married name starts with A-L.

The entries include the name of the head of household, followed by the name of wife, children and other relatives with whom the family shared the residence, date of registration with the police, number of the house, and job of the man concerned. It may also include year and place of birth, religion, and, in case of a married woman, her maiden name. The sheet may also contain entries concerning marriages and deaths.

The records are located at Click the word “Search” to locate a particular name.

Calendar Trivia
Is it possible for Chanukah to occur before Thanksgiving? No, but they do occur on the same day about once every hundred years. The next time it will happen is in 2013.

Can Purim coincide with Valentine’s Day? Yes. It last occurred in 1995 and will take place again in 2014.

The last time the first day of Passover and Easter Sunday coincided was in 1983, and it will not occur again until 2123.

The earliest Rosh Hashanah can happen on the secular calendar is September 5, but it is rare. It will occur in 2013, but will not take place again until 2089.

These are some of the fascinating discoveries uncovered when using Stephen P. Morse’s latest contribution called “When did...” It allows comparisons between dates of the secular and Hebrew calendar. A more practical use is to determine yahrzeit (anniversary of death) dates for any year.

The feature appears at the Morse site in the “Calendar, Sunrise/Sunset, Maps” section.

Planned Tour of Israeli Archives
Rose Lerer Cohen, a professional genealogist, is planning an organized tour of the major Israeli archives from May 3–13. It will include tours and on-site research to such places as Yad Vashem, Central Zionist Archives, Central Archive of the History of the Jewish People, Museum of the Diaspora, and Atlit—The Museum of Illegal Immigration. Other site vists are planned. This is a privately organized tour. For more information regarding itinerary and cost contact Cohen at

Google Your Family Tree Order Processing Now Current
We are now current with out shipments of Google Your Family Tree. We received nearly 500 orders in the last 30 days which strained our shipping resources. The book was one of the best sellers we have ever had, and the response from purchasers confirmed my opinion that, “is a must for every household, not merely for family history research, but for every family member who uses the Internet to glean information.” Information about the book can be found at

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