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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 12, Number 3 | January 23, 2011

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.
Hungarian Genealogists Group Formed
A group of professional genealogists in Hungary have founded Magyar Családtörténet Kutató Egyesület (Hungarian Society of Family History Researchers). Its main objectives include lobbying for a coherent and non-restrictive legal environment for family research; promoting professionalism among family researchers via publications, seminars and other networking events; and helping researchers in Hungary and abroad who wish to know more about their ancestry and family background.

The society does not have a website although one is planned soon. Contact the group at

Formation of the group may have been in reaction to the fact that the Hungarian government recently enacted privacy laws that restrict access to birth, marriage and death records that are less than 90 years old. This law also has some vague wording that could imply that certain records could not be accessed for an even greater length of time. The laws go into effect at the beginning of 2012.
Last week I featured Steve Lasky’s There is another site created by one person, Logan Kleinwaks, that is valuable for Eastern European genealogical research. His site is located at

It consists of a common index to nearly 400 different historical directories (business, address, telephone, etc.), yizkor books (Holocaust memorial), lists of Polish military officers, and community and personal histories. Most of the directories are from Poland, Galicia, or Romania, but also included are Bulgaria, Czech+Slovak, France, Hungary, Israel, Lithuania, Russia, Bukowina, South America and United Kingdom.

The most recent additions are the 1943 Hungary Telephone Directory and a 1939/1940 Warsaw telephone directory.

The search results are a list of all directories that include the searched item (for example, surname). Provided is the image number and a brief extract of the location on the image where the result appears.

Canadiana Discovery Portal
A new website, Canadiana Discovery Portal at provides a potpourri of more than 60 million digitized pages of Canadiana from various collections at archives, libraries, museums, universities and government agencies. It is not meant as a genealogy site but instead provides pieces from Canadian history. At present the entire site consists of nothing more than the search engine.

Searching for the surname “Cohen” produces as its first hit a photograph of the singer Leonard Cohen, taken when he was 39 years old. A search for “Jewish genealogy” provided two obscure hits, one of which is Narrative of O.M. Spencer: comprising an account of his captivity among the Mohawk Indians in North America. A small portion of the book happens to note the similarity of Mohawk customs to “ancient Jewish customs.” The limited searching I did found no results of interest to a Jewish family historian. A news article about the project can be found at

Litvak SIG Has Translated One Million Records
David Hoffman, president of Litvak SIG, the Special Interest Group for researchers with Lithuanian ancestry, reports that in 2010 they passed the one million mark in records translated. They now have 613 paid members. Information about Litvak SIG can be found at

Find Your Australian Convict Ancestors Free of Charge at
Dick Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter reports that now includes an index to more than 42,000 Australian convict NSW Tickets of Leave Butts, 1824–1867. It can be accessed free until January 31 at The collection adds to the site’s existing collection of more than 2.3 million convict records.

Australia was first populated with Europeans who were convicts from England. Descendants of these people, known as the First Fleet, are proud of this ancestral heritage. The lead article of the very first issue of AVOTAYNU, Volume 1, Number 1, January 1985, was “History of the Jews of Australia” by the then chief rabbi of Australia, Dr. Israel Porush, OBE. In the article he notes that the First Fleet included at least eight Jews. He was quick to point out that these Jews were convicted of “petty crimes, such as pick-pocketing, shoplifting and receiving stolen goods, and came from the poor and squalid quarters of immigrant families in London.”

Winter Issue of AVOTAYNU
 The Winter issue of AVOTAYNU will go to the printer in about 10 days. It is our annual human-interest issue which features articles by genealogists on how family history research affected their lives or the lives of people they touched. These articles were the basis of the book Every Family Has a Story which Avotaynu published in 2008.

It is also an issue that focuses on three of the major repositories that will be used by persons who attend the annual International Conference on Jewish Genealogy being held this summer in Washington, D.C.: National Archives, Library of Congress, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). I found that the article by Zack Wilske, Historian of the USCIS about “United States Citizenship Records: Derivative, Replacement, and Repatriation Certificate Files” particularly interesting. It is an eight-page article about everything you would every want to know about U.S. naturalization records. For those old timers who are used to seeing the name “Marian Smith, USCIS Historian,” Marian has been promoted to Chief of the Historical Research Branch. One of her responsibilities is the USCIS Genealogy Program.

Special Offer: Five Issues of AVOTAYNU for the Price of Four
Become a new subscriber now to AVOTAYNU, the International Journal of Jewish Genealogy, for 2011 and receive the Winter issue described above as a bonus. Five issues for the price of four. North Americans can subscribe for $38, a savings of $8.00. Non-North Americans can subscribe for $46, a saving of $10.

This offer is good only until January 31, 2011. Subscribe now at

Use Genealogy Webinars To Educate Yourself
A number of genealogy companies offer free online lectures through webinars. One such company is Upcoming webinars include “Newspapers: Critical Resource to Complete Your Family Tree” and “Chasing Women - Finding Your Female Ancestors.” They also archive for a period of time previously held webinars. A complete list can be found at

One that should be of interest to many is “Google for Genealogists.” I constantly use Google in my genealogical research. Being skillful in this search engine is well beyond knowing how to use keywords to locate information. For example, one feature, the “site” feature, allows you to limit searches to a particular site. I find JewishGen so vast that it is difficult to locate all information about a typical topic. To locate all occurrences on JewishGen of references to the Mokotow ancestral town of Warka, Poland, I search Google for “Warka” It identifies 104 pages at JewishGen that reference the town.

Readers also should consider owning a copy of “Google Your Family Tree” by Daniel M. Lynch. The 352-page book can be used as a reference work for locating information on the Internet whether as a genealogist, a student with a homework assignment, or a cooking buff looking for a recipe. Information about the book can be found at also has offered webinars although none are currently planned. You can find a list of their previous lectures at

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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