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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 11, Number 25 | December 26, 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.
Nu? What’s New? to Be Published Weekly by Paid Subscription
Producing Nu? What’s New? is taking more and more of my time—now about five hours per edition. I regularly read news information from more than 50 different sources plus individual tips from subscribers. Then there is the researching and writing of each selected item, and finally formatting the entire issue. There is now enough information to produce this e-zine once a week. A test run throughout December has proven this.

Because of the extra costs, starting in 2011, Nu? What’s New? will be by paid subscription—$12.00 for an entire year. That’s just $1.00 per month.

Subscribing is easy through PayPal using a credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover) or PayPal account. If you do not have a PayPal account, you can pay by credit card through PayPal by clicking “Pay with debit or credit card.” You will be subscribed at the e-mail address given when making the payment (so make sure it is typed accurately). If you have a PayPal account, you will be subscribed at the e-mail address of your account.

The next issue will be the last free one. Subscribe now at It is only $12 for a year’s subscription.

Yad Vashem Now Has 4 Million Shoah Victims Identified  
Yad Vashem has reported there are now four million names in the Shoah Victims’ Names Database. This means that about two-thirds of the Jews murdered in the Holocaust have been identified by name. About 2.2 million names belong to victims whose relatives and acquaintances filled out Pages of Testimony. The balance comes from victims in lists acquired by Yad Vashem. Genealogists should check the database located at to determine if any of their relatives who were victims are not listed. If so names can be submitted at!ut/p/.cmd/cs/.ce/7_0_A/.s/7_0_FQ/_s.7_0_A/7_0_FQ.

Additional information about the current status of the project is at

Site Plans To Have Jewish History in Galicia and Bukovina
There is a virtual shtetl site for the towns of Poland at Another site located at is planning to have comparable data for Galicia and Bukowina.. At present, it only has basic information about towns of these regions such as their various names and under what sovereignty they existed throughout the centuries as well as the total and Jewish population at various times. Ultimately, the database hopes to have archival documents, newspapers articles, oral history testimonies, and documentation of Jewish cemeteries and communal buildings.

Presently only four towns have great detail: Lysiec (Lysets', Łysiec), Bohorodczany (Brotchin, Bohorodchany), Solotvin (Solotvyn, Sołotwina) and Nadworna (Nadvirna, Nadwórna). Information about the town of Solotvin is probably the most developed. There are articles about the town’s general history, rabbis of Solotvin, and the history of the Jews at various time periods (18th century, 19th century, interwar period, Holocaust and post-Holocaust). There is basic information about the Baron Hirsch School that existed there from 1894–1914. There is detailed information about the Jewish cemetery including an index and photographs of tombstones.

Individuals are encouraged to contribute to the project through articles and photographs. A page at the site permits uploading of information.

Judaica Europeana  
Another startup effort, Judaica Europeana, plans to document the Jewish presence and heritage in the cities of Europe with 10,500 photos, 1,500 postcards and 7,150 recordings as well as several million pages from books, newspapers, archives and press clippings. It is located at Ten major European Jewish institutions are participating in the project. They are European Association for Jewish Culture, Judaica Collection of the Goethe University Library in Frankfurt, Alliance Israelite Universelle in Paris, British Library in London, the Hungarian Jewish Archives, the Jewish Museum of Greece, the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage, the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, the Jewish Museum in London and the Amitie Centre for Research and Innovation in Bologna. Further information can be found at

South African Jewish Digital Archive Project
Yet another start-up project is the Jewish Digital Archive Project of the Kaplan Centre in Cape Town, South Africa. The Centre wants to convert old family collections of photographs and film into accessible digital form. Building on an earlier oral history project conducted in the 1980s, the Centre is now seeking to expand and deepen an understanding of Jewish social history in South Africa through this project. The collection will include film, photographs and oral interviews which will be available on the Internet. Additional information is available at The project is requesting readers to donate photos or films.

First Ever Family Tree Week Launched in UK
Today, December 26, is the launch of the UK's first ever family history awareness campaign. The sponsors of “Start Your Family Tree Week” stated that it was launched to encourage people to discover more about their ancestors in a fun and exciting way. The week, which will run until January 1, 2011, will show people how to take their first steps in family history research with free guides and charts to download, competitions, special offers on participating websites and daily family history activities for all the family.

Sponsors are,,, Eneclann, the Society of Genealogists, My History, BBC Who Do You Think You Are Magazine, Your Family Tree and Family Tree magazine. The week is supported by the Federation of Family History Societies and the UK's digital champion Martha Lane Fox.

Further details on Start Your Family Tree Week can be found at

JOWBR Now Has 1.5 million Records
In a year-end message, the JewishGen Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) project announced it now has 1.57 million records from more than 3,050 cemeteries in 47 countries. Recent major additions include an additional 39,000 records from Lodz, Poland; 29,000 records from 49 cemeteries in Melbourne, Australia, and surrounding towns; and 27,000 records from 50 cemeteries throughout Wisconsin, USA.

Much of the growth of JOWBR is through the efforts of hundreds of individual genealogists who photograph and/or index burial plots in Jewish cemeteries. Recent examples include the efforts of Eileen Wegge, a sixth-grade public school teacher who during her Holocaust history curriculum coordinated a cemetery indexing project with her students at Chesed Shel Emes Cemetery in St. Paul, Minnesota. Also Gene Baruch who indexed and photographed 1,000 stones at the Greensboro, North Carolina, Hebrew Cemetery. This is just two of many individual contributors. Readers should consider working on a cemetery or cemetery section individually or as a group project for a local Jewish Genealogical Society, temple or other group.

Additional information about JOWBR is at

Hungarian Privacy Laws To Go Into Effect in 2012
In September (Volume 11, Number 17) it was reported in this e-zine that the Hungarian government planned to implement privacy laws restricting access to vital records beginning in 2011. It has been reported on the Hungarian SIG Discussion Group that the plan will now be implemented starting January 1, 2012. It is unclear as to whether limited access will be for 90 or 100 years.

Salute to the Romanian Jews in America and Canada, 1850–2010
 A new book, Salute to the Romanian Jews in America and Canada, 1850-2010; History, Achievements, and Biographies is available from Xlibris Books at Written by
Vladimir Wertsman, the book first describes the presence of Jews in Romania from its earliest origins. It then describes, in separate sections, the history of Romanian Jews in the U.S. and Canada, followed by numerous biographies of noted Romanian Jews who lived in North America. There is a section on Holocaust survivors and Righteous Gentiles.

A Message from the Director of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy
The primary goals of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy are two-fold:
   •To advance the academic status of Jewish Genealogy within the field of Jewish Studies, through research and teaching at the university level;
   •To contribute to Jewish continuity, on the premise that knowledge of one’s roots helps assure a Jewish future.

In a very short period of time, the Institute has made tangible progress in pursuing its goals, at both the scholarly and broader Jewish levels. It haa:
   • carried out ten ground-breaking research projects.
   • developed innovative tools and technologies, specifically designed for the Jewish family historian
   • elaborated “Academic Guidelines” for BA and MA courses in Jewish genealogy
  • participated in international Jewish Studies conferences to promote family history as an academic discipline.

In brief, it has earned its stripes.

Encouraged by this success, the Institute has decided to try to broaden its activities and initiate “mega-projects”, in an effort to reach out to wider audiences and, hopefully, to enhance the “trickle down” effect on diverse segments of the Jewish world.

One project, already under way, is a “Demographic and Genealogical Survey of Scottish Jewry”, which has the potential to take Jewish genealogy to a new level. Other such projects might include distance-learning of Jewish genealogy and national or regional genealogical exhibitions for museums and JCCs.

To implement projects of this scale, the Institute needs financial support. Hence this appeal to you, our fellow Jewish genealogists. While more is always better, even very modest donations, starting from as little as $18, will be greatly appreciated.

U.S. tax-payers may make tax-deductible contributions through the “Friends of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy”, either:
   • through PayPal - at ; or:
   • by check, payable to “Friends of International Institute for Jewish Genealogy” and sent to: Avotaynu Foundation,
at 155 N. Washington Ave, Bergenfield, NJ 07621, USA.

Others are invited to send a check, payable to the “International Institute for Jewish Genealogy,” at: 8/1 Ha-Zamir Street, P.O. Box 84226, Mevasseret Zion, Israel, 90805.

Thanking you for your consideration and generosity.
Dr. Neville Lamdan, IIJG Director

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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