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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 10, Number 5 | March 18, 2009

This edition is going to 8,386 subscribers

Economic Downturn May Benefit 2010 U.S. Census
The economic downturn may benefit the 2010 U.S. census. For years there have been rumors that the 2010 census of the U.S. would not be a complete enumeration but just a sampling to cut costs. The primary function of the census is to determine the makeup of the House of Representatives and to provide statistical data about trends in the country. These goals could be accomplished by using proper sampling techniques. With the economic downturn, the new information is that there will be a complete census, because it will create an estimated 600,000 temporary jobs for persons who must track down those who did not respond the the mailing to all households. The total operation and analysis of the 2010 Census will cost more than $14 billion by the time of its completion in 2012, making it the most expensive head count in American history. Additional information can be found at,2933,345928,00.html.

Chicago Jewish Newspaper Online
Digitized images of the Chicago Jewish newspaper, The Sentinel, are now online at covering the years 1911–1949. The search engine includes an any-word index. When an image is displayed, the words searched are highlighted for easy location of the information sought. I was able to get the maiden name of a woman who married into the family from a 1930 engagement announcement. The search engine is very quick, but retrieving the actual page from the edition of the newspaper take a while apparently because the edition is searched again to find the data.

Ancestry Adds 1940-Era City Directories has added to its collection more than 2,000 U.S. city directories for 1940 and surrounding years. Forerunners of phone books, city directories typically list head of household with address and occupation. New York, Los Angeles and Philadelphia are not included. It is possible there were no city directories for those cities at that time. The collection does include such cities as Baltimore, Boston, Cleveland, Hartford, Miami, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, San Diego and San Francisco. Although Los Angeles is not included there are directories for a number adjacent suburbs. The directories can be accessed at

In the next few weeks, will be adding to their U.S. Public Records Index database more than 525 million names, addresses, ages, and possible family relationships of people who lived in the United States between roughly 1950 and 1990.

Life Magazine Photos on Google
One the great photo news magazines was Life. It existed from 1936–1972, then intermittently until 1978 when it was a monthly until its demise in 2000. Google has obtained the rights to publish the magazine’s photos which are available at Searching the site for “Warsaw ghetto” produced 34 pictures. Dachau has 99 images, but Auschwitz only one.

The photos are not limited to the time period the magazine was published. The one illustration for Czestochowa, Poland, is a reproduction from a book of the siege of the town in 1605. All told, there are approximately 2 million photos. Search the collection using the names of ancestral towns or events important to your family history.

IIJG Starts Fund-Raising Drive

[A letter from Sallyann Amdur Sack]

Dear Fellow Genealogists,

While many of you know me as the Editor of AVOTAYNU, I’m addressing this letter to you as the Chair of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy in Jerusalem.

It has been a long-time dream of mine, and of several other veteran Jewish genealogists, to have Jewish genealogy accepted as a full-fledged academic pursuit and as a recognized branch of Jewish Studies within the many programs that have developed in recent decades in universities throughout the world.

Three years ago, with the help of two far-sighted and generous Jewish philanthropists, we opened the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy and Paul Jacobi Center, affiliated with the Jewish National and Hebrew University Library in Jerusalem. Since then, the Institute has really gotten off the ground as can be seen from the extraordinarily distinguished group of personalities who have joined its new Advisory Board, announced in Nu? What’s New on January 26, 2009.

Those who read AVOTAYNU will remember the impressive report by IIJG Director, Ambassador Neville Lamdan, summarizing the Institute’s first two years (Vol. XXIV, No. 1, pp. 4–7). Following a remarkable inaugural symposium in Jerusalem in September 2006 that put the Institute on the academic map, ten on-going projects have been launched, s
ome in pure research and some designed to provide tools and technology for non-professional genealogists. Take, for example, the ground-breaking Beider-Morse Phonetic Matching System and Gary Mokotoff’s important proposal for standards in genealogical recording, which were reported in the Fall 2008 issue of AVOTAYNU. The Institute has recently upgraded its website . In an unprecedented move, the prestigious World Union of Jewish Studies has invited the Institute to present a panel on Jewish genealogy at its forthcoming conference in summer 2009. We’ve done a lot in a short time.

Unfortunately, the recent financial tsunami has struck the Institute as well. There is, however, some good news. A benefactor has challenged us to demonstrate that the Jewish genealogical community worldwide supports the Institute’s work: he has offered to make a donation to match whatever sum we can raise from within our ranks.

So here is your opportunity to support a recognized place for Jewish genealogy within the Jewish world. Please donate whatever amount you can–it is extremely important. No amount–$18, $36, multiples of $18–is too small. I would be fibbing if I were to say that the cash amount doesn’t matter (it always does, doesn’t it?), but an equal challenge is in the NUMBERS of you who step forward. This means that EVERYONE’s contribution, no matter how modest, will count—doubly so.

To make your tax-deductible contribution by credit card or PayPal go to and click the donate link. If you prefer, mail it to the Friends of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy, 155 N. Washington Ave., Bergenfield, NJ 07621. Make the check payable to “Friends of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy.” Donations are tax deductible for U.S. taxpayers.

                                                                        Sallyann Amdur Sack
                                                                        Chair, IIJG Founding Committee

Vital Record Registers of Algeria for 1832–1904 Are Online
The Sephardic SIG Digest of JewishGen reports that the vital record registers of Algeria from 1832 to 1904 are now online at When an item of interest is found, it is possible to retrieve the actual document. Information provided in the index is name, town, year, type of record (birth, marriage, death divorce, stillborn). In the case of a marriage, both names are given. The site is in French.

Trips to Lithuania and Salt Lake City
For the 16th year, Howard Margol and Peggy Freedman are organizing their group trip to Lithuania, June 30 to July 10, 2009. For the 17th consecutive year, Gary Mokotoff and Eileen Polakoff are organizing their group trip to Salt Lake City from October 22–29, 2009.

Lithuanian Trip
If you are interested in tracing your roots in Lithuania, Latvia, Eastern Poland close to Lithuania, or Belarus, now is the time to sign up. This year the group will be limited to 25 persons. The trip includes visits to various archives, synagogues, ghettos, Holocaust sites, meetings with Jewish
leaders, sight-seeing, guide/interpreters, and two days to visit and spend time in your shtetlach of interest. Margol and Freedman are very familiar with the archives, are on a first-name basis with the archivists, and know all the main places of Jewish interest. While this is a group trip, every effort is made to tailor the trip to your personal interests. Group members leave from their individual towns and come together in Vilnius on July 1, 2009.

For details and a full itinerary, contact or

Salt Lake City Trip
For the 17th consecutive year, veteran Jewish genealogists Gary Mokotoff and Eileen Polakoff will be offering a research trip to the LDS (Mormon) Family History Library in Salt Lake City from October 22-October 29, 2009. To date, more than 400 Jewish genealogists from the U.S., Canada, South America, Israel, Australia and Europe have taken advantage of this program. The group size is limited to 40 people.

The program offers genealogists the opportunity to spend an entire week of research at the Library under the guidance and assistance of professional genealogists who have made more than a three dozen trips to Salt Lake City. Each attendee has access to trip leaders every day except Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Library for on-site assistance and personal consultations. There is also a planned program that includes a three-hour class on day of arrival introducing the participants to the facilities and resources of the Family History Library in addition to a mid-week informal group discussion of progress and problem-solving. For those new to genealogy, a beginners’ workshop on the first morning of the trip will introduce them to the wonderful world of Hamburg immigration lists, U.S. passenger arrival lists, naturalization records and census records.

Social events include a mid-week Sunday brunch for camaraderie and discussion of successes (and failures); attendance at the Sunday morning broadcast of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir; informal group dinners; and group planning parties.

Additional information can be found at It includes a picture of the Class of 2008.

Avotaynu Offers Maps
Are you aware that Avotaynu sells 18th- and 19th-century maps of Central and Eastern Europe? The size of each map is 18"x24" (46cm x 61cm). They are reproductions of maps that were made during the period they cover. The maps are sold in groups—a few are sold separately.

The map groups are:
19th Century Austria-Hungary: East-Central Provinces 1844 , Hungary and Part of Siebenburgen 1825, Austro-Hungarian Empire 1875

Baltic States (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia): Baltic States 1845 , Russian Baltic Provinces: 1914

Eastern Europe in World War I: Eastern Europe 1915, Carpathians, Romania and Part of the Balkans 1916, Russian Baltic Provinces 1914

Czechoslovakia: East-Central Provinces; Kingdom of Bohemia, with Silesia, Moravia and Lusatia

Poland: Poland 1799, Poland 1817

Russia: Russia in Europe 1845, Black Sea Settlements Prior to 1918, Russia in Europe (West) 1835, Southwest Russia and Kingdom of Poland-1860

Germany: Germany Circa 1760, Two Views of 18th Century Germany (2 maps); Map of Germany Divided into its Circles (1805); German Empire Circa 1875

More detailed descriptions can be found at

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