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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 12, Number 23 | June 12, 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.
FamilySearch Starts TechTips Website
Technology is becoming more and more an important element of family history research. Scanning, photo editing, Google searches, database searches, file sharing are just some of the technological aspects of our pastime. Toward this end, FamilySearch, the genealogy arm of the Mormon Church, has launched a TechTips section to its site. It is located at

Visitors to the site can read about a variety of subjects, such as how to store photographs for the long term, what mobile applications are available to family historians, how to share files and how to scan images. The site also contains step-by-step guides to help users accomplish a technology-related task, such as how to join an online research community and why.

TechTips is a community effort that is a cross between a blog and an online technology magazine. Anyone can contribute articles and share their personal experiences. Browse the articles currently at the site. I found “The Researcher’s Digital Toolbox” ( particularly useful. It has 11 suggestions such as setting up an e-mail account exclusively for your genealogy efforts at one of the general mail systems (Google, Yahoo or Hotmail). These email accounts will stay with you regardless of a change in street address or Internet service provider.

ICRC to End Role at International Tracing Service
The International Committee of the Red Cross, who has managed the International Tracing Service since its inception, plans to end its role next year. The German Federal Archives is then expected to become ITS’s new institutional partner. ICRC is a humanitarian organization and they feel that the role of ITS is gradually becoming more an historical archives rather than a humanitarian one.

The International Tracing Service, located in Bad Arolsen, Germany, is the largest archives for information about individuals persecuted by the Nazi government. As a consequence, it has millions of records of Jews during the Holocaust period. In November 2007, ITS ended a 60-year ban on public access to their records. The following May, Avotaynu co-owner Sallyann Amdur Sack-Pikus and I led the first group to visit the facility. An article about the trip appears at

U.S. Copyright Rules
Are you thinking of copying from a book that was published in 1932 and want to know whether the work is still under copyright protection? Do you want to know the latest rules for the length of time a work enjoys copyright protection? Cornell University has a page that explains it all in a simple, table-oriented manner at

Holocaust Survivors vs. Victims
In the March 6, 2011, edition of Nu? What’s New? I noted that Yad Vashem is adding to the Shoah Victims’ Names Database sources where it is known that the vast majority of the people (generally more than 90%) were victims. Examples are deportation lists, ghetto lists and concentration camp inmates. It is having a backlash. An article in Ha’aretz, a leading Israeli newspaper, notes that Holocaust survivors are objecting that their names are being included in the Shoah Victims’ database. The article is located at It was written by two Israeli genealogists.

JewishGen Screencasts
JewishGen has created a new learning tool it calls Screencasts, a number of five-minute online presentations to help people who are new to family history research. The initial four screencasts are:
  • Prepare for Your Research
  • Navigate JewishGen
  • Find Your Ancestral Town
  • Communicate with Other Researchers

The site implies that two additional screencasts are planned:
  • Use the JewishGen Databases
  • Special Interest Groups and Hosted Organizations

Phyllis Kramer, JewishGen vice president for Education and Special Projects indicated that she is working on one to differentiate JewishGen, Jewish Genealogy Societies, IAJGS, JRI-P and all the other organizations and acronyms. The screencasts can be accessed at

Brit Milah Records of Aleppo Indexed
The brit milah (circumcision) records of Aleppo, Syria, have been indexed and can be found at It covers the period 1868–1945. The project was accomplished by Sarina Roffe who worked for seven years translating and analyzing the records.

Bessarabia Revision List Index Now Has 37,000 Records
The Bessarabia Revision List Index project now has 36,936 records. (Revision lists are a form of census.) The following towns were added recently: Bendery, Mileshty, Kaushany, Chimishliya in Bendery uezd Izmail, Reni, Kiliya in Izmail uezd Kagul, Leovo in Kagul uezd Akkerman in Akkerman uezd Beltsy in Beltsy uezd Kishinev in Kishinev uezd.

Information about the database and access to the search engine can be found at

Last Issue May Have been Treated As Spam
Legitimate e-mail being treated as spam is becoming more and more of a problem. The lead article of the last issue of Nu? What’s New? was “Center for Jewish History Places Collections Online.” If you do not recall reading such an article, you can retrieve it at

This is the second time in the past month that an edition of Nu? What’s New? was treated as spam by selected ISPs. Before an issue is sent, I pass it through a spam checking service that uses the standard ground rules for checking e-mail. The edition cleared. I subscribe to three ISP—Verizon,net, Optonline,net and All three are part of the Nu? What’s New? subscription list. I knew there was a problem when the Optonline edition did not reach me.

The problem is not peculiar to Nu? What’s New? Dick Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter sends a weekly summary (Plus Edition) to paid subscribers. Last week I did not receive my copy.

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