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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 11, Number 19 | October 24, 2010

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.
Agreement Signed Between JRI-Poland and Museum of the History of Polish Jews
Jewish Records Indexing-Poland and the Museum of the History of Polish Jews have signed an agreement where each of JRI-Poland's “Your Town” pages will have a link to the Museum's Virtual Shtetl pages for the same towns and vice versa. This will enable those reading about their town in the Museum’s Virtual Shtetl site to learn about surviving records for their families by clicking on the link to the JRI-Poland page for the same town. There will be more than 1,000 linked towns and villages. The JRI-Poland site is at It contains an index to more than 4.5 million records of the Jewish presence in Poland—mostly birth, marriage and death records. The Museum of the History of Polish Jews will open in 2012 on the site of the former Warsaw Ghetto. Its Internet site is at More information about the signing can be found at

Call for Papers: 2011 Conference on Jewish Genealogy
 The planners of the 31st IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy have issued a Call for Papers for the event. It will be hosted by the Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington from August 14–19, 2011, in Washington, DC. More than 1,200 genealogists from in excess of 30 countries are expected to attend this annual event. The program will offer some 160 lectures, panels, workshops and breakfast sessions, as well as a film festival, repository fair, vendor showcase, gala, keynote address and more.

Submit a program proposal at, click on “Call for Papers,” read the instructions and FAQ. The submission deadline is January 15, 2011. Accepted speakers will be notified on March 15 and will receive free conference registration. See for a complete list of recommended geographic and topic categories.

Last Chance: Guide, WOWW and CD-ROM Available at Significant Discounts
Next Sunday, October 31, 2010, is the last day to take advantage of a major pre-Chanukah sale Avotaynu is having on three of its most popular products at significant discounts. Until then, you can purchase any of the following items for only $55.00:
    • Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy, normally $85.00
    • Where Once We Walked, normally $85.00
    • AVOTAYNU on CD-ROM, normally $99.95
Furthermore, purchase any two of the above for only $99, or all three for $145.00. That’s a savings of at least 35% on individual items, 42% on two items and 47% on all three.
    • 1 item – $55.00
    • 2 items – $99.00
    • 3 items – $145.00

Ordering information is at

Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy is a 628-page book that is the definitive guide to Jewish genealogical research. Its more than 100 chapters cover all important aspects of the rich body of information available when doing Jewish genealogical research. The Table of Contents is located at

Where Once We Walked, an award-winning book, is a 736-page gazetteer that identifies more than 23,500 towns in Central and Eastern Europe where Jews lived before the Holocaust. It also includes 17,500 alternate names including Yiddish, pre-Word War I, interwar and post-world War II names. Gives latitude/longitude, Jewish population before the Holocaust and cites as many as 50 books that reference the town.

AVOTAYNU on CD-ROM. The 93 issues published between 1985 and 2008 are available on a single CD-ROM with a full-word search engine. By specifying keywords or combinations of keywords, the search engine will locate all articles that include these words.

Take advantage of these price reductions now at Remember! This offer is good through October 31 only. Prices go back to normal on November 1.

FamilySearch has weekly updates indicating projects they have started or completed. I rarely post this information to Nu? What’s New? because I use my judgment as to whether these projects are of interest to Jewish genealogy. Many of the projects are parish registers or databases already on the Internet such as American censuses. If you have used new FamilySearch and gleaned all the information it has for your particular research, it is wise to go back to the site from time to time to see if there is any new data of value to your research. It is located at

I recently discovered the earliest mention of the presence of a member of the Mokotow clan in the United States through the site. They had indexed Milwaukee, Wisconsin, marriages, and a woman named Lillian Dorn married there in 1905 stated her mother was Gitla Mokotow. I was able to determine she arrived in the U.S. in 1885.

If you would like weekly updates of FamilySearch project, subscribe to Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter at

New Version of the Canadian Naturalization 1915–1932 Database
Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has announced the next stage of the Canadian Naturalization indexing project—the addition of images of the index pages for the years 1932-1951 to the LAC website.

In 2003, a list of 206,731 people who were naturalized between 1914 and 1932 was added to the LAC databases. The project was carried out by the Jewish Genealogical Society of Montreal volunteers, initially making available a finding aid to the 2,000+ pages of naturalization index pages. In 2009, a full index was created, allowing researchers to locate specific naturalizations by name and country. The vast bulk of the data entry was carried out by society member Ruth Diamond, with Alan Greenberg managing the project and handling the image processing and database creation. Jewish Genealogical Society of Ottawa funded the original digitization of the images. The database is available at:

The Montreal Society is now leading a new project to create indexes to the 1932–1951 Canadian Naturalizations. All 4,000 pages have been scanned and are now available online. Due to the different nature of the published lists, a finding aid is not possible, but pages can be retrieved by date of naturalization. Data entry of the approximately 400,000 names will be required to make the data readily searchable. Now that they are online, the JGS of Montreal will soon be inviting volunteers to help with the massive indexing project. The project will utilize double-entry to insure the data is accurate. The digitizing of the 1932-1951 images was partially funded by the IAJGS Malcolm Stern Grant.

Site for Volunteers from Abroad Who Fought in Israeli War of Independence
A site,, provides information about non-Israelis who fought in that country’s War of Independence. “Machal” is an acronym for “Mitnadvei Chutz L’Aretz,” meaning “Volunteers from Abroad.” Approximately 4,700 Machalniks from 56 countries—men and women, Jews and non-Jews—volunteered to help Israel. Probably the best known American volunteer was Mickey Marcus, a West Point graduate and U.S. Army colonel during World War II. He was fatally shot when he failed to answer (because of his lack of Hebrew) a challenge from an Israeli sentry.

Judaica Photos
A commercial Internet site claims to have more than 36,000 photographs of synagogues, cemeteries, Holocaust memorials and other Judaica from 81 countries. They are the efforts of a British-American freelance photographer and writer named Jono David who is based in Osaka, Japan. As an example, the site has 5,000 photographs from Australia and nearly 3,000 from New Zealand. The Warsaw section includes interior photographs of the Nozyk synagogue. The site, called HaChayim HaYehudim Jewish Photo Library, is located at

Book on Moravian Jewry
A new book about Moravian Jewry, Rabbis and Revolution: The Jews of Moravia in the Age of Emancipation, is about to be published by Stanford University Press. The author claims it is the first book on Moravian Jewry to be published since Hugo Gold's Die Juden und Judengemeinden Maehrens in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart in 1929 and the first work in English on this Jewish community. The book is scheduled to be published on November 3, 2010, and is available at a reduced price at Additional information can be found at

How to Access FBI Files
An Internet site called “Get Grandpa’s FBI File” walks you through the procedure to request his case file from the FBI as provided by the Freedom of Information Act. The result is the actual form letter to be sent to the FBI. There is a sister site at “Get My FBI File.” They are located, respectively, at and Now Has Records for Three Notorious Federal Prisons
Did any of your relatives spend time in a U.S. Federal prison? Ancestry has added Alcatraz, California, U.S. Penitentiary, Prisoner Index, 1934–1963; Leavenworth, Kansas, U.S. Penitentiary, Name Index to Inmate Case Files, 1895–1931; and McNeil Island, Washington, U.S. Penitentiary, Records of Prisoners Received, 1887–1939 (with mug shots).

If they could include mug shots of prisoners from Sing Sing Prison, I might finally get a picture of my father’s first cousin, Max Mokotoff, whose criminal activities including being married six times: four times consecutively and twice concurrently.

Internet Security – Followup
Apparently few people heeded my advice about never linking to a website from an e-mail until you place the mouse over the link to confirm it is a valid link. With the last issue of Nu? What’s New? we switched to a more feature-filled system to distribute this e-zine and, unknown to me, the new system produces statistics on which links readers use. If you clicked on a link in the last issue, you were first taken to a site that tabulated the link and then forwarded to the requested site. A few readers reported that their malware detection software warned then that the link displayed was not the link where they were being taken. I have removed the feature with this issue.

Again, always place your mouse over a link and confirm it is taking you to the Internet site displayed. Otherwise there is a risk that you are being directed to a malware site.

To submit a Page of Testimony, go to Click the words “Submit Additional Names.”

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 at the site 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
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