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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 11, Number 23 | December 12, 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.
Index to Online Searchable U.S. Naturalization Indexes & Records
In the last issue of Nu? What’s New? I asked readers if there was an online source for U.S naturalization indexes and/or records. A number of people identified sites that have specific naturalization information, but Bette Stoop Mas of Miami notes that the most complete list is at http://www.germanroots.com/naturalization.html.


Members of the British Palestine Regiment
It sounds like an innocent enough database on Ancestry.com: “UK, Military Campaign Medal and Award Rolls, 1793–1949.” The database contains lists of more than 2.3 million officers, enlisted personnel and other individuals entitled to medals and awards commemorating their service in campaigns and battles for the British Army between 1793 and 1949. It not only includes soldiers from UK but other units such as the Palestine Regiment of the British Army during World War II. If you had relatives who served in the regiment it will provide rank and postal address. I found a Moshe Dayan on the list, but it claimed that he was a Private. The database is located at http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=1686.


Using the Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex and Beider-Morse Phonetic Matching System
With the New Lodz Cemetery Database
A new database for locating persons buried in the Lodz Jewish cemetery can be found at http://www.jewishlodzcemetery.org/EN/Home/Default.aspx. It permits searching by name. Previously the search only could be accomplished by cemetery section. There are 80,971 names in the database. It is best to search using the Stephen P. Morse portal at http://stevemorse.org. It has more search functions such as soundex and phonetic searching.

Using the Morse site I searched for surname Wolfowicz using both the Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex search and the Beider-Morse Phonetic Matching System. D-M found all Wolfowiczs but also included Filipowicz. B-M did not include Filipowicz but dropped Wulfowicz. It is a good example of the difference between the two systems. Daitch-Mokotoff tends to generate false positives such as including Filipowicz. Beider-Morse had a false negative by omitting Wulfowicz. However, the Beider-Morse System is constantly being refined, and Alexander Beider concluded that my search demonstrated there was a missing component to the B-M System which has now been corrected.

Which system should you use with other databases that offer a choice between the two systems? If you are looking for a specific record, such as an immigration record in the Ellis Island Database, use the Beider-Morse system since it will produce fewer and more accurate results. If the record cannot be found, then the search can be done using the Daitch-Mokotoff system which casts a wider net. If you are doing a generic search, such as all persons with a given surname, use the Daitch-Mokotoff System so you evaluate whether spelling variants are actually the same surname.


Mormon/Jewish Controversy: The Problem That Won’t Go Away
Anne Frank Submitted for Posthumous Baptism an Eleventh Time
Less than three months after the Mormon Church assured the latest round of Jewish leaders that they had the problem of the posthumous baptism of Holocaust victims under control, Anne Frank was cleared for baptism an eleventh time. The submission and approval violated two rules set by the Church: (1) not to submit for posthumous baptism people who were murdered in the Holocaust and (2) a long standing rule not to submit for posthumous baptism people who were born within the past 95 years. The person who submitted Anne Frank is also named Frank. No doubt he will claim he is Anne Frank’s “fourth cousin three times removed” and that entitles him to submit the name.

It is believed that the Church has a list of famous people that they periodically pass against new submissions to purge those that violate the Church rule that Mormons should focus on their family not on famous people. Anne Frank was submitted as Anne Liesse Marie Frank, likely to get around the Church’s screening system.

Meanwhile, another famous women—known primarily to Americans—has been submitted as a candidate for posthumous baptism just one day after her death. Elizabeth Edwards, who was in the public limelight in the U.S. for a multitude of reasons, including her battle with breast cancer, has been placed in the Mormon ordinance pipeline—using her maiden name, Anania—just one day after her death last Tuesday. Yet another Mormon thinks the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives him the right to involve other people’s families in the Mormon religion. Her son, Wade Edwards was killed in an auto accident in 1996 and is already on the Mormon rolls.

When the news media covered the event three months ago indicating the Church and Jewish leaders came to an understanding, I was quoted as saying that it won’t work because there is no (significant) disciplinary action against these violators of Church rules. I call these rules the “55-mile-an-hour” rules of the Mormon Church. They are on the books but nobody heeds them because there is no penalty for violating the rules.

More about the ineffective screening system can be found at http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=170507496306225&id=598198194


FamilySearch Additions for the Week
Beta.FamilySearch.org has added a number of new collections of images or indexes. Among them are:
   Germany, Hessen, Darmstadt City Records, 1627–1939
   Guatemala, Civil Registration, 1877–1934
   Netherlands, Civil Registration, 1792–1952
   Netherlands, Zuid–Holland Province Civil Registration
   South Africa, Orange Free State, estate files, 1951–1973
   U.S., Maryland, Register of Wills Books, 1792–1983
   U.S., North Carolina, County Marriages, 1762–1979
   U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards for of Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wisconsin
The complete list can be found at http://184.73.186.163/node/1017.

To locate an images-only database or to search a specific database, go to http://beta.familysearch.org, use the “Browse by Location” option on the home page, then select the particular country and finally the database of interest.


Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust
One reference work of great value to Jewish genealogical research is the Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust. This three-volume work provides information about the shtetls and cities of your ancestors in almost every country of continental Europe (exceptions: Bulgaria, Finland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland). You can buy the work from Amazon.com for $199. Avotaynu has a special arrangement with the publisher to offer it for only $99 plus shipping. The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust is the condensation of the renowned Pinkas HaKehillot series published by Yad Vashem plus information on areas of Europe yet to be covered by the series. The Encyclopedia chronicles the history of the Jewish communities and its people, as well as the habits and customs of the communities. There are more than 600 photographs and illustrations.
This work is so valuable toward understanding history of these Jewish communities that you should not only contemplate buying it for yourself but also as an end-of-year donation to your synagogue library.
   • Community entries include alternate place names, geographic location, and history of the Jewish tradition within that community including its educational, political, and economic life, as well as its relationship with the broader community and its fate during the war.
   • Cross-referencing within entries enables each reader to expand the scope of one's research.
   • Features many never-before-published photographs gathered from personal collections as well as historical archives.
   • Maps created specifically for this encyclopedia draw upon numerous historical sources to pinpoint the locations of towns with significant Jewish populations in Europe and North Africa, many of which disappeared during the war.
   • The Chronology summarizes the sequence of critical events and helps the reader understand the context in which they occurred.
   • The Glossary expands the reader's understanding of relevant terms in a clear and concise manner.
   • The Index of Persons offers an at-a-glance listing of major figures with their communities of origin.
   • The Index of Communities features alternate spellings in a variety of languages and dialects.

Ordering and additional information can be found at  http://www.avotaynu.com/books/encyclopedia.htm. There is a list of all the towns at the site.


FindMyPast.com Indexes UK Marriage Records
FindMyPast.com has placed at their site an index to UK marriage records 1837–2005. Using a system they call MarriageMatch, possible names of the spouse are provided. The original government marriage index, which is displayed, provides only the quarter of the year the marriage occurred, not the exact date. Also provided is the county, registration district, volume and page number of the actual certificate. There is a link to the Government Record Office where a certified copy of the marriage certificate can be obtained. Additional information can be found at http://www.findmypast.co.uk/media/news/news-item.jsp?doc=fullyindexedmarriages.html.


Another 1911 Census of England and Wales Available
Genes Reunited at http://genesreunited.co.uk is the third company to make available the 1911 census of England and Wales. Ancestry.com and FindMyPast.com also have these schedules. The 1911 census records are the most detailed of any census. It includes places of birth, details of siblings, occupations, how many children have been born to the marriage, how many still alive at the time of the census and how many had died.


AVOTAYNU Reminders
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 sallyannsack@avotaynu.com. Wherever possible, illustrations should accompany the article. Avotaynu writing style rules can be found at http://avotaynu.com/stylewritingrules.pdf. 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 sallyannsack@avotaynu.com.


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