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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 11, Number 6 | April 4, 2010

This edition is going to 8,668 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. Makes U.S. Census Available at No Charge is making its U.S. census index and images available at no charge. That is the good news. The bad news is that they have available only 6% of the 1900 census, 4% of the 1910 census, 3% of the 1920 census, 98% of the 1930 census and 100% of the 1860 census. The good news is that the 3% of the 1920 census includes much, if not all, of New York City. The 1910 census data includes Pittsburgh, and the 1900 census includes Chicago.

I use the collection, but the value of another index is that it may not include the errors that exist in the first index. For example, I found a Mokotoff family in the Footnote database that was misspelled in the Ancestry index as Bokotoff.

Footnote still provides Holocaust-related records from the National Archives and U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum at no charge. Both the Holocaust and census databases can be accessed from the home page at

Another Auschwitz Database
For many years the official Auschwitz Internet site at has had a searchable index to surviving records of people interned at Auschwitz-Birkenau. The search engine is located at The list is incomplete because most of the records were destroyed by the retreating German army.

There is now a second list of Auschwitz death certificates that includes the names of 68,864 individuals who died at Auschwitz and Birkenau, about 30,000 of whom were listed as Jews. It is located at There are names on this list that are not at the official site. Furthermore, the second list is not an index but a complete list of the names. This allows the searcher to browse the list looking for spelling variants. For example, searching for the surname Wolfowicz yields three hits at the official site but does not include a man identified as Wolfovicz.

An interesting side note about this second list. It appears to have been created by revisionists, not merely Holocaust revisionists but people who question all sorts of historical events. For example, there is extensive discussion about what really happened on 9/11. It claims that the buildings collapsed not due to the fire from the plane crashes but due to the presence of explosives in the buildings, the implication being that the buildings were deliberately destroyed. There are also numerous anti-Israeli articles. A complete list of articles can be found at This would lead one to conclude that the second Auschwitz list is fabricated. Comparing it with the official list shows the names appear to be genuine. It is likely the revisionist list’s purpose was to show that more Christians (39,000) died at Auschwitz than Jews (30,000). The nature of the site makes it suspect and therefore it would be wise to confirm that a name found in the list also appears at the official Auschwitz site.

Online Education Courses by Family History Library
The Mormon Family History Library is now offering online education courses at no charge. The initial offerings are:
   • England Beginning Research (5 courses)
   • Germany Research (3 courses)
   • Ireland Research (5 courses)
   • Italy Research (1 course)
   • Principios básicos para la investigación genealógica en Hispanoamérica (México) (3 courses)
   • Research Principles and Tools (6 courses)
   • Russia Research (2 courses)
   • U.S. Research (4 courses)

I listened to the first Russian course, given by Daniel Schlyter, and it was a good overview of the history and geography of Russia. The second course, also given by Schlyter, is about records and resources. The Library is reaching out to the professional genealogy community asking for people to volunteer to provide additional lectures for the collection.

The list of courses can be accessed from the home page by clicking “Free Online Classes.” The exact URL is

Review of the New iPad
If you wish to read a review of the much-hyped, much-reviewed iPad from one of our own, read Dick Eastman’s review at Eastman publishes Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter, a popular genealogy e-zine.

Anglo-Jewry Database
The Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain has updated its database of Jews in Britain in the mid-19th century. It now has more than 29,000 people, more than 90% of the estimated total Jewish population at that period. The searchable database is located at

Michael Bernet z”l
One of the unsung heroes of Jewish genealogy died this past week. Michael Bernet was a regular contributor to the JewishGen Discussion Group as well as the Ger(man)SIG Discussion Group. What impressed me about many of Michael’s responses to inquiries is that he did not merely answer questions, but instead used his answer as an opportunity to educate the reader about the subject.

If you go to the JewishGen Discussion Group Archives at and search for “Michael Bernet” you receive a response: “Sorry there were more than 1000 matches - please vary your search (limit the range of message dates if necessary).” In 2001 alone, he contributed more that 200 postings.

While updating the page that describes our journal AVOTAYNU, I noticed that for the past four months, the site stated that “AVOTAYNU on CD-ROM” does not work on the Vista operating system. This is no longer true. It now works on Vista and Windows 7. More information about the CD can be found at

A Race Against Time: Yad Vashem Shoah Victims' Names Recovery Project
Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority located in Jerusalem, is again making its annual appeal for its Shoah Victims’ Names Recovery Project. It aims to memorialize each individual Jew who perished in the Holocaust by recording their names, biographical details and photographs on special forms created by Yad Vashem, called Pages of Testimony. Although more than half of the six million victims are documented in the Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names, nearly half will remain unknown unless people submit their names now.

Confirm that family members who were Holocaust victims are in the Shoah Victims’ Names Database at On the same page is a link to submit additional names.

Join the Global Effort to Recover the Names of Shoah Victims
Join the ranks of Yad Vashem’s worldwide network of volunteers working in one-on-one outreach efforts with Holocaust survivors and members of their generation to recover the names of Shoah victims before they are lost forever. For ideas and resources on how to launch a names recovery campaign in your area, visit Yad Vashem’s Community Outreach Guide for updated program information on the project in Israel and in Russian speaking Jewish communities around the world.

Yad Vashem has provided a 10-minute Pages of Testimony tutorial video to learn how to help survivors and others from their generation to fill out Pages of Testimony. To volunteer for the project or for more information contact

 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.”

Nu? What's New? is published biweekly by Avotaynu, Inc.
Copyright 2010, Avotaynu, Inc. All rights reserved

To be added or removed from this mailing list, go to the Internet site To change your e-mail address, go to the same site and remove the old address and add the new address.

Back issues of
Nu? What's New? are available at

To subscribe to AVOTAYNU, The International Review of Jewish Genealogy, go to

To order books from our catalog, go to

To contact us by postal mail, write: Avotaynu, Inc.; 155 N. Washington Ave.; Bergenfield, NJ 07621