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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 10, Number 2 | January 26, 2009

This edition is going to 8,301 subscribers

January has been a lean month for news.

JewishGen Relocating to Servers
Hopefully, by the beginning of February, the poor response time often experienced when using JewishGen will be a thing of the past. Interest in using JewishGen in recent years has expanded to the point that it has outgrown its servers’ capacity at times. The organization’s recent association with included the benefit that JewishGen is moving its web site to the servers. The migration is scheduled to start on Tuesday, January 27. It will be necessary to completely shut down JewishGen until it is functioning in its new environment. It is not possible to predict how much time this crossover will take, but it should not be more than a few days.

IIJG Forms Advisory Board
The International Institute for Jewish Genealogy has moved to formalize its organizational structure by setting up an Advisory Board. An extraordinary group of twelve distinguished Jews from Israel, Canada, UK and US are voicing their strong support for the Institute's goals and activities. Nothing like this line-up has been seen in modern Jewish genealogy.

Now in its third year of existence, the Institute is already having a positive effect on Jewish family history research. The Beider-Morse Phonetic Matching System was a direct result of the IIJG project, “Reconstituting the Destroyed Jewish Communities of Eastern Europe.” In the latest issue of AVOTAYNU (which is now in the mail), I describe a “Standard for Names, Dates and Places in a Genealogical Database.” This project was motivated by work of IIJG. The Institute has eight other projects in hand, some pure research and some designed to produce tools and technologies for Jewish family historians. One of the goals of IIJG is to have family history as a recognized academic discipline. Toward this end it has been invited to present a panel on the subject at the World Union for Jewish Studies conference in Jerusalem in August 2009.

Information about IIJG can be found at their website:

The Advisory Board consists of:
    • Irwin Cotler, member of the Canadian Parliament and former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
    • Baroness Ruth Deech, member of the British House of Lords; former Principal, St. Anne’s College, Oxford
    • Alan M. Dershowitz, Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
    • Abraham Foxman, National Director, Anti-Defamation League
    • Stuart Eizenstat, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Treasury and Ambassador to the European Union
    • Sir Martin Gilbert, historian and author, Oxford
    • Arthur Kurzweil, author and a founding father of contemporary Jewish genealogy
    • Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, Chairman of Yad Vashem and Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv. Former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel
    • Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, U.S. Senator and former vice-presidential candidate
    • David G. Marwell, Director, Museum of Jewish Heritage, New York
    • Sir Malcolm L. Rifkind, Member of Parliament and former UK Foreign Secretary
    • Henry A. Waxman, Member U.S. House of Representatives and Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Web Site for 29th International Conference on Jewish Genealogy
The 29th International Conference on Jewish Genealogy will be held in Philadelphia from August 2–7. The conference web site is now operational at For persons interested in sharing their knowledge about family history research with the attendees, there is a Call for Papers whose deadline is January 31. Registration for the conference and a Conference Discussion Group will be activated soon. Adds Search Engine
Steve Lasky’s Museum of Family History web site is a potpourri of Jewish-genealogy-relevant information from throughout the world. To gain an understanding of what is available required going to the Site Map page. Lasky has now added a Google-powered search engine at which makes it much easier to determine if there is information of value at the site.

Using the search engine, I discovered that there are Mokotoffs buried in Warsaw society burial plots in the 
New York City area. Prior to the search engine, the data was buried in Cemetery Project > New York and New Jersey Burials > Town List: Warszawa > (Letters) L-R. I knew this information, but the search was valuable because it demonstrated there are no Mokotoffs buried in town society plots for any of the other 200 towns that are listed at the Museum of Family History site.

Searching for my ancestral towns, I discovered there is a Warka (Poland) society burial plot. It included a photo of the gateway to the plot. The picture shows there are virtually no tombstones, almost as if the society disbanded and the burial area is unused. This was confirmed by the site’s list of surnames at the Warka plot. Only five surnames exist.

Top Sellers of 2008
Avotaynu has closed its accounting books for 2008. The top selling books for 2008 were:
A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Russian Empire: Revised Edition
Google Your Family Tree
Every Family Has a Story
A Dictionary of German Jewish Surnames
Sephardic Genealogy
Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy

A complete list of books offered by Avotaynu can be found at

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