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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 12, Number 17 | May 1, 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.
Access to 1940 U.S. Census Is Coming
Fair warning. If you plan to use the U.S. 1940 census images shortly after they are placed online on April 2, 2012, by the U.S. National Archives, find out the Enumeration Districts you plan to locate. There will be no name index available on opening day. At present, there is only one Internet site that will calculate the ED: the Steve Morse One-Step site at To make matters worse, the National Archives is advertising the Morse site, so anticipate there will be a large volume of traffic as the census release date approaches.

This won’t be the first time the Morse site has been overloaded. Last fall, Comcast, a large Internet Service Provider (ISP) in the U.S., ran an article on their daily homepage about duplicate Social Security numbers, and they referenced the social security number decoding tool at the Morse site. In the first half hour after the article appeared, the Morse site received a half-million hits. This upset Morse’s ISP who told him to take his business elsewhere.

To take a U.S. census, the government divides the United States into Enumeration Districts. Unfortunately they do not remain the same for each of the decennial censuses, so using the ED number of a place in the 1930 census as the 1940 ED number usually will not work. The information on the 1940 census is extensive. There were up to 50 columns of information about every person in the household.

I have already done my homework. My family moved in 1940 and I am not sure in which location they were enumerated. Using the Morse site, I now know I must look either in ED 31-10 or 24-1468.

The National Archives has a number of online articles about the 1940 census.

Home Page for the 1940 Census

Start Your 1940 Census Research

What New Questions Were Asked in the Census

Detailed Description of Information Captured on the Census

Census Form Itself

Steve Morse One-Step Site Is 10 Years Old
May 3 marks the tenth anniversary of Stephen P. Morse’s One-Step site located at Actually the One-Step site started as Morse’s home page in the mid-1990s with some simple utilities, but it did not gain prominence until the Ellis Island Database went online with an inadequate search engine. The search engine (essentially) only allowed searching one field at a time. Morse, who has a heavy computer technology background, knew it was possible to create a form where the user could define many parameters and then Morse, in One-Step, would search the database with all factors taken into consideration. The site was an instant success among people looking for their ancestors arriving at Ellis Island. (The database is only for the period 1892–1924).

This motivated Morse to create one-step portals for other U.S. immigration ports with online databases. Eventually he expanded the One-Step site to include portals to census and vital records databases.

A major advantage of using the One-Step portal rather than using the search engine at the actual database site is that the One-Step portal will act as an intermediary and filter out unwanted results. For example, assume a database’s search engine does not have the “starts with” function when searching names. If you are searching for a person named Cohen but are unsure of the spelling of the given name (example: Abraham, Avraham, Abram, Avrum, etc.), the One-Step site will allow a search for a person named “Cohen” whose given name “starts with” the letter “A.” Morse sends an inquiry to the database for all persons named “Cohen” but filters out all results that are not given names starting with the letter “A.”

The One-Step site also has a host of utilities including calendar conversion (Jewish, Muslim, French Revolution, and Julian), alphabet conversion (Arabic, Cyrillic, Hebrew, Latin and Japanese) and a host of other functions. Today there are more than 100 functions at the site which now gets in excess of 80,000 hits a day.

Articles on How To Understand and Interpret Old Family Photos has a series of three articles about how to understand and interpret old family photos. Jayne Shrimpton, a dress historian, portrait specialist, photo detective is the author. The three articles can be found at:

Ava Cohn, who calls herself The Photo Genealogist, had an excellent article on the subject in the Fall 2010 issue of AVOTAYNU. It was titled “Photo Identification: The Process of Finding and Interpreting Clues in a Photograph.” Her site is at

Many American Jewish Yearbooks Online
In the last issue of Nu? What’s New? I noted that the American Jewish Year Book 5672 (1911–12) is online. Nu? What’s Ne? subscriber, Adelle Weintraub Gloger, notes that most editions of this annual publication are online at They extend from 1899–2008.

DC Conference will include 24 Technology-Oriented Sessions
There will be 24 sessions and computer workshops that focus on the Internet and genealogy software. Some of the topics are:
   • Little-Known Free Online Resources,
   • Using Family Tree Maker with,
   • One-Step Webpages: Hodgepodge of Lesser-Known Gems
   • Finding Your Jewish Ancestors on
   • Mobile Applications for Family Data Sharing
   • Searching Directories & More

Two will cover the American Joint Distribution Committee online database which will be launched shortly.
   • Launch of the JDC Names Database,
   • JDC’s Archives: A Treasure for Jewish Genealogists

Mac workshops will cover beginner to advanced level use of the most popular genealogy software for the Mac: Reunion.

A complete list and greater description of the computer workshops can be found at Information about the overall conference including how to register is at

USHMM Director To Be Keynote Speaker at Conference
Sara Bloomfield, director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, will deliver the conference keynote address at the 31st International Conference on Jewish Genealogy to be held in Washington, DC, this August. Her topic will be "Honoring the Victims: It Takes a Village." Information about the conference can be found at

Maps of the Russian Guberniyas 1820–26
Maps of the Russian guberniyas (provinces) can be found at All the maps were created from 1820–26. The descriptions are in Russian so use a browser translation tool to translate the page into your native tongue. The site also includes German and Russian World War II aerial reconnaissance photos.

Polish Digital Library Collection
A group of Polish repositories (universities, libraries, museums, archives or research institutions) have combined their digitized collection onto a common Internet site: Digital Libraries Federation. It contains more than 600,000 items (books, etc.). It is located at

The search engine has a useful feature for people who are not that familiar with the Polish language. As you type keywords, the search engine suggests the words in its search collection that might apply. Thus starting to type “Zyd” which is the Polish word for “Jew” suggests a number of spelling variants for the word “Jew” or “Jewish.” It allows wildcard searches. Searching for “Zydow*” produces 2,038 hits. It appears the search engine has full-word capability, that is, all the words in each of the works have been included in the search engine.

I searched for the Mokotow ancestral town of Warka and found a book whose translated title (using Google translate) is “Description of Warka located on the Wisla.” It includes an 1844 census of the town that showed there were 1,398 Jews out of a total population of 2,557. Despite the fact that Jews represented more than half the population, I could find no other direct mention of Jews in the 44 pages other than a brief paragraph that stated Jews arrived in Warka during the period of Prussian rule.

Machpelah Cemetery (Michigan) Burials Online
Machpelah Cemetery of Ferndale, Michigan, has placed their burials online at: Ferndale is a suburb of Detroit. There is no search engine, but you can create your own by using Google with the following keywords: 
"<surname> site:”

Barcodes on Tombstones?
Dick Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter reports that a company, Quiring Monuments, has introduced a new twist in cemetery memorials: a code affixed to gravestones that can be scanned with a smartphone to give more information about the deceased. Only friends and family members who have log-in access will be able to leave comments. Read more information about the project at

FamilySearch Additions for the Week
Most of the non–American indexes and/or images added to FamilySearch this week are church records. Below are the only additions that I have concluded may be of interest to Jewish genealogists. The complete list can be found at

Index only
   U.S., California, County Marriages, 1850–1952 additional index records
   U.S., Illinois County Marriages, 1810–1934
   U.S., Indiana, Marriages, 1811–1959
   U.S., Kentucky, Death Records, 1911–1955

Images only
   U.S., California, San Mateo County Records, 1856–1967
   U.S., Massachusetts, Boston Passenger Lists, 1820–1891
   U.S., Mississippi, Tippah County Records, 1836–1923
   U.S., New York, Northern Arrival Manifests, 1902–1956
   U.S., Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1800–1882
   U.S., Texas, Eastland County Records, 1868–1949
   U.S., Washington State County Records, 1854–1950
   U.S., Wisconsin, Probate Estate Files, 1848–1933

Indexes and Images
   U.S., District of Columbia Marriages, 1811–1950
   U.S., Minnesota, County Marriages, 1860–1949
   U.S., New York State Census, 1892

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