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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 12, Number 13 | April 3, 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.
 A remarkable collection of more than 9,000 postcards of the Jewish presence throughout the world can be found at It is the brainchild of Stephanie Comfort of Texas, who has been collecting postcards of Jewish life, synagogues and towns from around the world for many years. The postcards are from almost every continent including Europe, Africa, North and South America, Australia and Asia with emphasis on Eastern Europe before World War II and the Holocaust.

I found the website erratic. Sometimes the search function did not work and navigating from page to page can be slow. Use the Site Map at to navigate the different subcollections. There is a statement at the site that says you may use images on your web site if you give credit to her web site and a link back to the front page of the web site. To use an image in a publication, such as a family history book, get permission from Comfort.

Lithuanian Officials Make Commitment To Assist in Restoring Jewish Cemeteries
At an event held last Friday, April 1, at the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in Washington, DC, a number of Lithuanian officials gave support to a project that will restore Jewish cemeteries in Lithuania. According to project co-chair, Harley Felstein of Maryland, Ambassador Zygimantas Pavilionis and the chairperson of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, Emanuelis Zingeris, verbally gave support. Riarda Malinaukas, mayor of the Druskininkai and president of the Lithuanian Association of Municipalities made a commitment to restore the Jewish cemetery in his town. Alfredas Jomantas, head of International Affairs, Education and Public Relations Heritage department in the Ministry of Culture, expressed interest in involving local and foreign students in the restoration work.

Useful References for Genealogists
Bette Stoop Mas of Florida posted to JewishGen a number of Internet sites that provide basic reference information useful to Jewish genealogists.

Alphabets. Routes to Roots Foundation has tables of nine different alphabets: Hebrew, Hungarian, German, Lithuanian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Ukrainian and Yiddish. Shown for each letter of the alphabet are the printed and script versions. The complete list can be found at Many of these alphabets appear in the book “Following the Paper Trail” published by Avotaynu. This book is a guide to translating vital statistic records in 13 languages: Czech, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Latin, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish and Swedish. Each section shows the alphabet of the language, sample vital statistic records and their translation, and a list of words commonly encountered. Ordering information can be found at

Ship manifest samples. The online Museum of Family History has sample scripts from ships’ manifest showing given names, towns of last residence. They can be linked at the museum’s Site Map at listed under “Immigration and Naturalization Records.”

Guides to Pronunciation. The museum site also has guides to the pronunciation of Lithuanian, Hungarian, Polish and Romanian. It also can be linked to from the Site Map.

In fact, scan the entire Site Map of this website. It has many, many fascinating components about Jewish history and genealogy.

List of Blogs Dealing with Jewish Genealogy
Philip Trauring, who developed a list of Town Discussion Groups associated with Jewish genealogy (reported in the March 13 edition of Nu? What’s New?) has now created a list of blogs dealing with Jewish Genealogy. They can be found at the Israel Genealogical Society website

Delivery of AVOTAYNU Winter issue to Israel Delayed
Delivery of the Winter issue of AVOTAYNU was delayed to Israeli subscribers according to our consolidator because “there was a bottleneck in customs.” The issue should arrive shortly. Consequently, we have extended our renewal discount offer to non-North Americans until April 15. Your subscription expired with the Winter issue if a yellow renewal form accompanied the issue.

More about Google Class Action Suit
A class action settlement which would have given Google the right to publish in-copyright books without the permission of the copyright owner was recently set aside by a U.S. Federal court.

The impropriety of Google scanning millions of in-copyright books and then placing snippets of these books on the Internet without the consent of the copyright owner can be illustrated by a recent inquiry I received. Someone who wanted to place his ancestral town of Niksowizna, Poland, on the Hebrew version of Wikipedia. He searched Google books for the town and came across the entry shown to the right from Where Once We Walked (WOWW). In other words, Google, with no compensation to the copyright owner and with no permission of the copyright owner, provided its user with the information from WOWW about Niksowizna.

FamilySearch Additions for the Week
Most of the non-U.S. additions were church records. Some additions to FamilySearch for this week are: 
Images added
   Germany, Neumarkt.
   U.S., California, San Mateo County Records, 1856-1967
   U.S., Maryland, Register of Wills Books, 1792-1983
   U.S., Montana, Rosebud County Records
   U.S., Ohio, Cuyahoga County Probate Files, 1813-1900
   U.S., Washington State County Records; King, Kitsap and Pierce Counties, 1854-1950
Indexes and images
Spain, Municipal Records, Marriage record index for Malaga, Spain; and images from the Sevilla Municipal Archive.
   U.S., Maryland, Probate Estate and Guardianship Files, 1796-1940. Added to existing collection.
   U.S., Texas Birth Certificates, 1903-1934. Added to existing collection.
   U.S., Texas, County Marriage Index, 1837-1977. Added to existing collection.

These are the only additions that I have concluded may be of interest to Jewish genealogists. The complete list can be found at

New Book: A History of the Jewish Community of London Ontario
AVOTAYNU Book Review Editor, Bill Gladstone, has just published a book titled A History of the Jewish Community of London, Ontario. It contains a number of family histories and other genealogical information for many London families, some of whom moved to other cities in Canada and the United States. One prominent person born in London was Jack Warner, who founded (with his brothers) the famous Warner Brothers Studio in Hollywood. The book costs $35 plus shipping. Additional information about the book can be found at

The book will be reviewed in some future issue of AVOTAYNU. The reviewer will not be Bill Gladstone.

Books of Vital Records of London Synagogues
Harold Lewin of Jerusalem has completed his third volume of vital records of London synagogues. It is New Synagogue Births (1774 to 1896) and Marriages of the New Synagogue (1790–1823 and 1837–1860) and Hambro Synagogue (1797 to 1837 & post 1862). Cost is ₤50.40 for shipping within the UK and US$80 for shipping to the U.S. For more information, including shipping to other countries, contact Lewin at Previously produced books include:
   • Marriages of the Great Synagogue of London 1791–1885, approximately 8,000 marriages.
   • Birth Records of the Great Synagogue 1791 to 1877 and Hambro Synagogue 1770 to 1905, in all, approximately 11,440 births. Most records include birth date, civil and Hebrew names of infant, parents’ names and home address.

Hvem Tror Du At Du Er
The Danish version of Who Do You Think You Are? (Hvem Tror Du At Du Er) used American professional genealogist Gary Palgon for one of its programs that will be aired in October. Palgon is a founding member and past president of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Georgia. The show features Danish singer, Sanne Salomonsen, whose ancestry includes the Leidesdorff line. Palgon published a book about the Leidesdorff family. The program apparently does not have a website.

Give JewishGen Flyer to Friends
Interested in having friends get involved in tracing their own family history? JewishGen has developed a one-page flier that can be downloaded at Distribute it at your local synagogue, Jewish community center or directly to people.

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.
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