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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 11, Number 4 | February 15, 2010

This edition is going to 8,602 subscribers

Every government puts value on preserving its history. That is why we have national archives. Genealogy preserves history; the history of a family. It cannot be done without access to records, just as historians cannot preserve a nation's history without access to records. It is a greater good than the right to privacy. It is a greater good than the risk of identity theft.
Last Chance for 25% Discount on Guide and WOWW
Monday, February 15, is the last day for Nu? What’s New? subscribers to take advantage of a 25% discount on two of Avotaynu’s landmark books: Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy and Where Once We Walked. They are a requirement for any basic Jewish genealogy library. To take advantage of the discount, enter Coupon Code “DISC25” at checkout on the page that lists the items bought. It is a $21.25 saving on each book.

Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy is the definitive handbook to Jewish genealogical research. Its 100 chapters comprising 624 pages cover all important aspects of the rich body of information available to do Jewish genealogical research. It is written by more than 60 authors, all experts in their own field. The list of authors is a veritable “Who's Who in Jewish Genealogy.” The book is of immense value to both the novice and the experienced researcher. The reviewer for the American Library Association stated the Guide is “...a beginning and advanced guide for anyone seriously researching Jewish family heritage.”

Ordering information, the Table of Contents and a sample chapter can be found at To get the discount be sure to enter Coupon Code “DISC25” at checkout on the page that lists the items bought.

The award-winning Where Once We Walked is a 736-page gazetteer of more than 23,500 towns in Central and Eastern Europe where Jews lived before the Holocaust. It includes an additional 17,500 alternate names for these towns including Yiddish, pre-World War I, interwar and post-World War II names. The root entry for each town shows these alternate names, the latitude/longitude, often the Jewish population before the Holocaust and citations for as many as 50 books that reference the town.

Ordering information, the Table of Contents and a sample chapter can be found at To get the discount be sure to enter Coupon Code “DISC25” at checkout on the page that lists the items bought.

Act now! The deadline is February 15.

ITS Digitizing Correspondence Files
The International Tracing Service in Bad Arolsen, Germany, has begun digitizing its case correspondence, the so-called T/D files. The files comprise inquiries, letters and witness reports from survivors of Nazi persecution or from their family members. Immediately after World War II people turned to ITS to gain information on the existing documents or search for surviving family members. In many cases, they also required certificates for compensation and pension applications. Approximately three million cases have been accumulated over the course of six decades. Each correspondence file holds an average of 20 pages. The 25-year rule will still apply. Inquiries that are less than 25 years old are only open to the victims themselves and their next of kin—not to researchers

Additional information can be found at

Daniel Mendelsohn Keynote Speaker at Conference
 Daniel Mendelsohn, author of the genealogical memoir, The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million, will be the keynote speaker at the opening session of the 30th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy in July 2010. The book is about his quest to learn the fates of six relatives who perished in the Holocaust. The critically acclaimed book won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the National Jewish Book Award.

The conference is being held at the Marriott LIVE Hotel in Los Angeles from July 11–16, 2010. Additional information can be found at To keep up to date about conference information, subscribe to the newsletter at

Mass Jewish Migration Database
The Mass Jewish Migration Database (MJMD) located at is a database of applications by Jewish emigrants from the Russian Empire through the Jewish Colonization Association (JCA) or Jewish Territorial Organization (ITO) in the early 20th century. MJMD includes records of applications between 1904 and 1914 only. The JCA database is comprised of more than 3,000 applications of Jews who migrated to either the U.S., Argentina, Canada, South Africa or Palestine. ITO's database is composed of about 5,000 Jews who migrated to Galveston, Texas. MJMD is a project of the University of Haifa Data Archive.

The search engine will locate any name that includes the characters presented in the search field. Clicking the View field for any result displays a wealth of information about the immigrant including personal details (name, gender, age, marital status, occupation), country of origin (country city, district), sailing information (port of departure, date, steamship company), country of destination (country, state, city, local relatives and subsidy given) and the name of relatives accompanying, if applicable.

On the results page, click “Original Doc” to get a copy of the extracted document.

National Library of the Czech Republic Digitizing Periodicals and Monographs
A posting to the Austria-Czech SIG Digest on JewishGen notes that the National Library of the Czech Republic has digitized hundreds of periodicals and monographs with a full word-search engine. The search engine is located at Called System Kramerius, the digital library contains nearly seven million pages of which 4.2 million are from 573 periodicals and 2.7 million are from more than 10,000 monographs.

Documents are in Czech, German, Russian, English and other languages. The motivation for digitizing these documents was a flood in 2002 that destroyed or damaged a large number of books. To view the images requires the DjVu plug-in.

The National Library site contains other digitized documents. Browse the site starting at It is in Czech, but I use the Google task bar with theFirefox browser to automatically translate the pages into English.

Cook County Naturalizations Online
An index for Cook County (Chicago) Declarations of Intention for the years 1906–29 is available at The search engine treats the search information as a character string that can appear anywhere in the field. Searching for the surname Tarre produced results for Mattarrese, Starrett, Tarrell and Tarrente, in addition to Tarre. Clicking on a resulting name provides name, occupation, birth date and place, address at time of declaration, emigration port and date of departure, arrival date declaration.

Brooklyn Eagle Online
The Brooklyn Public Library is planning to place all editions of the Brooklyn Eagle online at Currently they have indexed information from the newspaper’s start in 1841 to December 31, 1902. The newspaper was published from 1841 to 1955 and revived for a short time from 1960 to 1963. There is another site that includes the Eagle at which has all issues indexed (along with other New York State newspapers), but the new site has the advantage that it highlights the location on the page of the newspaper where the search words appear.

IIJG Providing Research Grants in Jewish Genealogy
The International Institute for Jewish Genealogy in Jerusalem is once again offering grants of up to $10,000 for original research in the field of Jewish genealogy. It has posted a “Call for Research Proposals” for projects to be carried out in the academic year of 2010–11. Proposals, submitted by May 31, 2010, will be judged by the extent to which they broaden the horizons of Jewish genealogical research and/or create innovative tools or technologies to assist Jewish genealogists and family historians in their work. The successful applicants will be announced on or about September 1, 2010.

The “Call” and “Instructions to Applicants” can be found on the Institute's website at under “Research/Research Grants.” The Instructions should be read carefully, as only applications in correct form will be accepted. Adds More Holocaust-Related Data has added a new database on its search page about refugees in North Africa. The refugees were from various countries including Austria and Germany. They were inmates of French camps in Morocco and Algeria or hosted by local Jewish families. This site now has more than 25,000 Holocaust-related records at their site. It started with a list of Jews from Belgium deported to France and now includes ten other databases. A complete list can be found at The site is available in English, French and German.

JGS Colorado Created Genealogy Video
The Jewish Genealogical Society of Colorado has created an excellent seven-minute video on why we do family history called “Connecting to Your Roots.” It is located at The video is actually an entry in a contest. You can vote for the documentary at the site.

Google Class Action Agreement Under Scrutiny
The October 13, 2009, edition of Nu? What’s New? reported that Google has used the class action mechanism to reverse the permission needed to use copyrighted material. In a class action settlement with a small number of copyright owners, Google acquired the right to publish, without permission, any out-of-print book still under copyright unless the copyright owner came to Google and indicated they did not want the work to be published. Google was given the role to determine if a book was out of print. Copyright law states the potential user of copyrighted material must go to the owner for permission.

Now the U.S. Department of Justice has been reported to object to the settlement because it still raises class certification, copyright and antitrust issues. The DOJ said that “the amended settlement agreement suffers from the same core problem as the original agreement: it is an attempt to use the class action mechanism to implement forward-looking business arrangements that go far beyond the dispute before the court in this litigation.” Among those concerns is the DOJ’s belief that the amended agreement “still confers significant and possibly anticompetitive advantages on Google as a single entity, thereby enabling the company to be the only competitor in the digital marketplace with the rights to distribute and otherwise exploit a vast array of works in multiple formats.”

For additional information, see

Israelis Create Rolltop Computer
First there was the desktop computer, then the laptop, then the netbook. Israeli technicians have taken the next step with a Rolltop computer. A demonstration can be found at

Contribute to the Success of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy
Help support a dynamic institution that in its brief existence already has been the catalyst for such benefits to Jewish genealogy as the Beider-Morse Phonetic Matching System,  Sephardic DNA and Migration project, inventorying the Paul Jacobi Collection of 400 prominent Ashkenazic lineages, the Proposed Standard for Names, Dates and Places in a Genealogical Database, and a system for Integrating Genealogical Datasets.

Visit the IIJG website at and read about these developments, as well as  ongoing and proposed projects.

Make your tax-deductible contribution by credit card or PayPal at 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.

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