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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 11, Number 21 | November 14, 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.
Another Chanukah Present to Nu? What’s New? Readers
There was such great interest in the offers we made recently to purchase at a substantial discount Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy, Where Once We Walked and AVOTAYNU on CD-ROM, that we have decided to make a more global Chanukah present to our readers.

Until Erev Chanukah (December 1) all the items we offer—books, subscription to AVOTAYNU, maps and CDs can be purchased at from a 10–20% discount according to the following schedule:
   • Purchases more than $50 – 10% discount
   • Purchases more than $200 – 15% discount
   • Purchase more than $300 – $20% discount
This applies to everything we sell with the exception of Google Your Family Tree which we are not permitted to discount by arrangement with the publisher.

When you check out, just use the Discount Code CHANUKAH and enjoy the benefits. Order now! The offer will be discontinued after December 1.

   View our more than 50 books at
   View our journal AVOTAYNU at
   View our maps at

NARA Now Allows Ordering of Digitized Images
It is now possible to order digitized images of the holdings of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. This applies to immigration and naturalization records, land files, military service and pension records, court records, World War I draft registration cards, Native American records, census pages, and many other archival documents. The per-image fee is the same as the per-page fee for paper copies. In addition, NARA now offers digitized duplication of its microfilm holdings at an increased per roll rate. The digital copies that result from this new service are delivered via CD or DVD, depending upon file size. In most cases, the files are provided in PDF format. Additional information, including how to order digital images, can be found at

Are You Having Trouble With ITS Inquiries?
There have been rumors that the International Tracing Service in Bad Arolsen, Germany, is going back to the old days of rejecting inquiries for privacy reasons. If you have made an inquiry to ITS in the past year and are having difficulty getting the documents you want because of some ITS regulation, please contact me at It is important when you make an inquiry to ITS for family members that you specify that it is for humanitarian reasons. is a UK-based fee-for-service genealogical records site that states it has “birth, marriage and death records; military and parish records from Australia to England, Scotland and Wales to America and beyond.” They claim to have 300 million records for England and Wales. Pricing is either by annual subscription or per-record. It is difficult to tell the depth of their record collection or which record groups are not available from their competitors. For births 1866–1920, there are 9,510 records of persons named Levy. Their Community Announcements of births for 1910 show only two announcements.

Online Map of Poland
Poland is a country that has gone through an enormous amount of boundary changes throughout the centuries. In fact, from 1795–1918, it did not exist as an independent country. Now there is an Internet site that provides an animated picture of these boundary changes. It is located at Start with the 10th–11th century map (shown as X-XI) and click the Next button to see how Poland’s geography changed at different time periods.

Slovak Jewish Heritage Site
The Slovak Jewish Heritage Center has an Internet site located at that is devoted to providing information about major Jewish sites in the Slovak Republic. The material covers a range of topics including synagogues, former educational and other communal buildings, cemetery chapels, and selected cemeteries.

You can download a brochure, Slovak Jewish Heritage Route, at which provides colorful photographs of Jewish buildings in 21 Slovak towns. There is also a book, Synagogue Architecture in Slovakia: A Memorial Landscape of a Lost Community, which can be purchased at the site. To Have 1911 British Census Online, in collaboration with UK web site, plans to publish online the 1911 England and Wales Census. The records will appear starting in late 2010 and be completed in 2011. already has this census online.

Annual Research Trip to Lithuania
Once again, genealogists Howard Margol and Penny Mosinger Freedman are organizing a group trip to Lithuania from July 5–15, 2011. This will be their 18th annual trip. Included are visits to the various archives, synagogues, former ghettos, Holocaust sites, meetings with Jewish leaders, sightseeing guide/interpreters, and two days to visit and spend time in your shtetl or shtetlach of interest. Trip cost includes meals (except for one dinner and two lunches), accommodations in new and modern hotels, bus transportation, and much more. The tour operators are on a first-name basis with many of the archivists and Jewish leaders in Lithuania. Additional information can be found at or by sending e-mail to

Fall Issue of AVOTAYNU
The Fall issue of AVOTAYNU will go to the printer in about two weeks.

My favorite article is about how to identify seemingly unknown relatives in photographs. I had always been cool to the idea that this aspect of family history research had much significance, but after reading the article in AVOTAYNU, I became a convert. The author, Ada Cohn—who calls herself Sherlock Cohn, the Photo Genealogist—describes how she was able to determine who the people were in a picture given to her by a client, and when and where it was taken.

If your ancestry is Poland or a town that once was in Poland whose records are still in Polish archives, Kahlile Mehr of the Family History Library gives a rigorous description of online resources.

Would you believe there is a Jewish cemetery that overlaps two countries? The entrance is in one country, but the people are buried in the adjacent country. The cemetery, as well as the politics that caused this odd circumstance, is described in one of the Fall issue articles.

Other articles scheduled cover a multitude of countries. They include:
   • Results of a recent genealogical trip to Galicia
   • An update on plans to improve the Shoah Victims Names database at Yad Vashem
   • Researching Jewish Families in Maramaros Sziget region of Romania
   • Initial information about the annual conference being held in Washington DC in 2011
   • Resources to Find Any Location in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Imperial Russia and Imperial Germany
   • The two Jewish communities of Germany today: the actual and the virtual
   • Ashkenazi Cemeteries in The Netherlands Digitization Project
   • What to expect if you plan to visit the Lithuanian State Archives
   • An important Frankfurt am Main resource
   • British Commonwealth Grave Commission
   • Researching a Sephardic family
   • Jewish memoirs and autobiographies as a resource

If there are too many articles to fit in the usual 68-page issue, some may be carried forward to the Winter issue.

You can subscribe to AVOTAYNU at Receive a 10% discount if your total order is more than $50 by using the Coupon Code CHANUKAH.

Wanted: Human Interest Stories for Winter Issue. For the past 25 years, AVOTAYNU has devoted a portion of each Winter issue to genealogy human interest stories. Stories are typically about how genealogy affected people’s lives, whether it be the researcher or the people they are researching. Deadline for submission is December 31, 2010. If you have an interesting story to tell, submit it by e-mail to Wherever possible, illustrations should accompany the article. Avotaynu writing style rules can be found at In 2008, Avotaynu published 72 of some of the best human interest stories in a book: “Every Family Has a Story.”

Wanted: New Family Histories in Print. In the Winter issue of every year, AVOTAYNU lists Jewish genealogical family histories that have been published in the preceding 12 months. Books published earlier are also eligible for inclusion if they have not been previously reported. The format to follow is: author; title of book; years covered; brief description, including family names researched; libraries in which book has been deposited; price and ordering information. Deadline for inclusion is December 31, 2010. Send submissions to

Wanted: Ask the Experts Inquiries. Do you have a tough, thorny research problem whose solution has eluded you? Send it to us and our panel of experts will assist you if at all possible. Our experts will not do the research for you. They will only direct you to sources of information. Answers are supplied by Randy Daitch, coauthor of the Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex System and Eileen Polakoff, winner of the Grahame T. Smallwood Jr. Award of the Association of Professional Genealogists. Send your query to

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
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