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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 12, Number 4 | January 30, 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.
Yad Vashem Wants Help from the Genealogical Community
Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority located in Jerusalem, has recently partnered with Google to make available 130,000 photos and documents at They would like the genealogical community to comment on any suggestions, wishes to improve the site, or problems using the site. Make your comments in the “Share Your Thoughts” section of the page.

I beta tested the site a few weeks ago. It is possible to use spelling variants of town names, but the list is not as comprehensive as that for the Shoah Victims’ Names Database. Both Warsaw and Warszawa produce results. Sniatyn, the Polish spelling of Snyatyn, Ukraine, produces results, but not Snyatyn, the contemporary name. Varsovie, the French spelling of Warsaw, yielded six results and, in one case, the result would not be found if searching for “Warsaw.” Warsaw, Warszawa, Varsovie, Sniatyn, Snyatyn are all acceptable in the Shoah Victims’ Names Database.

If you find a photo where the individuals are not identified and you can identify them, post a comment for the picture. Be explicit when identifying people. Example: “From left to right: Bronka Mokotow of Przedecz, Poland, with her maternal grandmother, Golda Rozen, and the daughter of her sister Bluma, Galila Cukierman. All died in the Holocaust. Picture appears in the Przedecz yizkor book.”

Google and Yad Vashem plan to work together throughout the coming years to continue adding to the archive. Additional information about the project can be found at

A Race Against Time: Yad Vashem Shoah Victims' Names Recovery Project
Yad Vashem is again making its annual appeal for its Shoah Victims’ Names Recovery Project. It aims to memorialize each Jew who perished in the Holocaust by recording his/her name, biographical details and photographs on special forms created by Yad Vashem, called Pages of Testimony. Two-thirds of Shoah victims—four million people—are now in the Shoah Victims’ Names Database. Of the four million names, some 2.2 million come from Pages of Testimony and the remainder from various archival sources and postwar commemoration projects. Confirm that family members who were Holocaust victims are in the Shoah Victims’ Names Database at On the same page is a link to submit additional names.

Additional information about the status of the project can be found at

FamilySearch Partners with and
FamilySearch, the genealogy arm of the Mormon Church, has made an agreement with to make available indexes for border crossings from Canada and Mexico to the U.S. The results are free of charge. The results on are only through subscription or their free trial offer. FamilySearch now has’s index to the 1881 and 1891 censuses of England and Wales. At both sites the identical index information is available at no charge. The actual census image can be purchased from

FamilySearch recently added 91 million online records—19 million images and 72 million index records. They are from Brazil, England, Guatemala, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Philippines, Poland (parish registers), Wales, the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec, and from the following U.S. States: California, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Montana, New England (naturalization index), New York and Rhode Island. A detailed list can be found at FamilySearch is located at

Who Do You Think You Are? Identifies First Two Celebrities
The American version of the television show Who Do You Think You Are? has announced that the first two celebrities to be featured in the 2011 season are Vanessa Williams (February 4) and Tim McGraw (February 11). The show airs on NBC on Fridays at 8:00 p.m. (7:00 Central time). Other persons to be featured in the season are Steve Buscemi, Kim Cattrall, Ashley Judd, Rosie O'Donnell, Gwyneth Paltrow and Lionel Richie. The program traces the family history of the individual. is a sponsor of the program. Running Sweepstakes
In conjunction with the start of the second season of Who Do You Think You Are, is running a sweepstakes whose Grand Prize includes:
   • $20,000 in travel money
   • Up to eight hours of consultation time with an expert genealogist
   • Help from up to five experts in fields relevant to your family history to help you learn even more
   • An annual World Deluxe membership for you and five family members

There will also be 20 First Prize winners who will get an World Deluxe membership. Enter the contest at, then log in daily through April 8, 2011 for  more chances to win.

Conference News: Super Early Bird Deadline, Hotel Reservations, Discussion Group

The 31st IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy will be held from August 14–19, 2011, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, DC. Persons who register for the annual conference by January 31, will be entered in a Super Early Bird drawing whose winner will receive a free 5-night stay at the Grand Hyatt. Register for the conference at

It is now possible to reserve a hotel room for the conference with a link at Book early. In the past, some conference hotels have sold out. The Grand Hyatt website is a bit confusing. After indicating what dates you plan to stay, they offer a number of choices, the most expensive first. Scroll down the page for the $199 conference rate. Also, if you plan to come before Saturday, August 13, or will stay after Friday, August 19, the room rate is only $99. What is displayed is the Average Room Rate, which will appear as less than $199.

There is now a Discussion Group for the conference. Subscribe to receive the latest announcements. It is also possible to post messages to the Discussion Group, for example, looking for someone to share a room. To subscribe go to When prompted, log on to JewishGen and on the page titled "Subscribe to JewishGen Mailing Lists," go to the Hosted Projects section to find the 2011 DC Conference. Click “Subscribe” to join the group.

Last Chance to Subscribe to AVOTAYNU: Five Issues for the Price of Four
In the last issue of “Nu? What’s New?” we made an offer to receive the Winter issue of the journal as a bonus if you became a new 2011 subscriber to AVOTAYNU. 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

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 weekly by Avotaynu, Inc.
Copyright 2011, Avotaynu, Inc. All rights reserved

To change an e-mail address, send a request to

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

Telephone (U.S.) : 201-387-7200