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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 12, Number 25 | June 26, 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.
New Website: Canadian Heritage Jewish Network
A new website, Canadian Jewish Heritage Network, identifies “the resources of the major organizations involved in Canadian Jewish archival preservation, beginning with two Montreal partners, Canadian Jewish Congress Charities Committee National Archives and the Jewish Public Library Archives.” See details at

Most significant to genealogists is a component that focuses on genealogy-related records. It is located at Includes is information extracted from:
  • Jewish Immigrant Aid Services (JIAS) client name lists from 1922–1952
  • Jewish Colonization Association individual farm settler reports from Western Canada and Quebec (1906–1951)
  • Translated Yiddish obituaries from the Keneder Adler (1908–1931)
  • Hebrew Sick Benefit Association of Montreal's membership book listings from 1897–1925
  • Canadian Jewish Casualties in the Canadian Armed Forces, including servicemen who died while serving in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. In addition to the date of death and place of burial, these records often include additional details such as war stories and photographs.

The search engine does not have wild-card ability, but a search will display all results that “start with” the letters entered. Not all the underlying data is necessarily available. For example, JIAS records may come under privacy restrictions.

Browse the entire website. There is other potentially valuable information. For example, the “Image Gallery” includes more than 2,000 photographs in such categories as:
  • Individual photographs of 143 Jewish orphans who were brought from the Ukraine for adoption in Canada after World War I
  • Camp Wooden Acres was the summer home to generations of Jewish children and teens
  • portraits of servicemen who died in World War I, World War II and the Korean War

Canadian Heritage Jewish Network is an ongoing project with records added to the site periodically. Additional information about the site can be found at

Pier 21: A Gateway for Canadian Immigration
If you are planning to visit Nova Scotia this summer, you might find the Canadian Museum of Immigration in Halifax of interest. It was a major gateway for immigration from 1928–1971.

Pier 21’s museum includes oral history, story and image collections. The image collection includes items from Sisters of Service, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Canadian National Railway, the Halifax Port Authority and the Allan S. Tanner Collection (images that show Canadian service personnel returning to Pier 21 in 1945). Also included are thousands of scanned newspaper clippings, immigration-related documents, and ship memorabilia. The majority of the original and digital images in their collection have been donated by individuals and families.

Until October 31, they are open seven days a week from 9:30am to 5:30pm. Additional information about the facility can be found at

ShtetLinks HTML Coders Needed
One of the valuable resources at the JewishGen site is ShtetLinks, which consists of hundreds of pages of information about ancestral towns where Jews lived (and in rare instances still live). This information was compiled by family historians during their research. In order to include this information at the JewishGen website, volunteers are needed who have the technical knowhow to create web pages. There is always a backlog of town sites to be created because of the lack of these volunteers. To assist in the project, contact Susana Leistner Bloch, the site’s coordinator, at

JewishGen is in the process of renaming this portion of their site from ShtetLinks to something more globally appropriate. Shtetl is the Yiddish word for “village” and it only applies to the towns of Eastern Europe.

AARP Has “Discover Your Roots” Sweepstakes
The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has announced a "Discover Your Roots" sweepstakes. There is only one Grand Prize which includes a one-year subscription to; a DNA test kit from FamilyTreeDNA; $1000 gift card; five hours of private consultation via phone with professional genealogist, Megan Smolenyak; and copies of her two books. You must be at least 45 years old and a legal resident of the U.S. to participate. The deadline for the conference is August 15, 2011. Enter the sweepstakes at

Jewish Washington Tours Planned for Annual Conference
The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington (JHSGW) has agreed to provide two guided walking tours of “Jewish Washington” during the annual IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy. The tour includes visiting the sites of four former synagogues, neighborhoods that once were predominantly Jewish, and the Lillian and Albert Small Jewish Museum (and current home of JHSGW), the original site of Washington Hebrew Congregation.

The tours will be held on Saturday, August 13, starting at 11 a.m. and Thursday, August 18, starting at 9:30 a.m. Each tour will last 90 minutes, start at the Conference hotel—the Grand Hyatt Washington—and end at the Lillian & Albert Small Jewish Museum. The fee is $15 per person paid in advance by July 31. To do so, just update your Conference registration, or when registering, select the “Walking Tour of Jewish Washington” option. The conference website is

Todd Knowles Honored by Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain
Todd Knowles was recently added to the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain’s Roll of Honour at their annual meeting in London. Knowles was recognized for his distinguished service in the development and publication of resources relating to the Jews of the British Isles. His online database, which is part of FamilySearch, contains linked and sourced entries for more than 100,000 Jews from the British Isles and more than 100,000 Jews from other parts of the world. It is located at

Todd Knowles is a FamilySearch British reference consultant and Jewish genealogy specialist who works in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

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

Indexes Only
Norway Census, 1875
U.S., Iowa, County Marriages, 1838–1934
U.S., Indiana, Marriages, 1811–1959

Browsable Images Only
Canada, Saskatchewan homestead files for 1908
Guatemala Civil Registration, 1877–1934
Italy, Civil Registration for Bologna, Catania, Genova, Padova, and Teramo, 1806–1940
U.S., Louisiana, First Registration Draft Cards, compiled 1940–1945
U.S., Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907–1933
U.S., Wisconsin, Probate Estate Files, 1848–1933

Indexes and images
U.S., Vermont, Vital Records, 1760–1954

News Tidbits
Argentina Jewish Cemetery Database. It was reported on JewishGen that the direct link to the Argentina Jewish Cemetery Database is now

New Haven Burials. The New Haven (Connecticut) Jewish Cemetery Association has created an online searchable database for thousands of graves in many of the cemeteries in the New Haven area. It is accessible at Information provided is name, dates of birth and death, cemetery and grave location. The search engine does not have wild-card ability but a search will display all results that “start with” the letters entered.

German Name Adoption Lists. These lists are online at JewishGen’s German Special Interest Group plans to add to the All-Germany database Prussian lists shortly as the start of its own Adoption List project.

GenAmi Has English Version of Website. The French Jewish Genealogical Society, GenAmi, now has an English version of its website at This includes guides to French research. The 2012 IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy will be held in Paris from July 15–18.

Lithuanian Internal Passports. An additional 3,835 internal passport records, 1919-1940 have been added to the All-Lithuania database. They are from the towns of Panevezys, Siauliai and Ukmerge. Information about the project can be found at

Postscript to “Better than Soundex"
I did not get a response from Stephen P. Morse in time for publishing in the last issue of Nu? What’s New? but Morse confirmed that the Beider-Morse Phonetic Matching System also produces perfect matches for the surnames illustrated in the last issue. The article discussed the fact that the Double Metaphone system, touted as better than soundex, does not work for matching European and American spellings of Jewish surnames.

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