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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 12, Number 28 | July 17, 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.
An Interesting Consideration in DNA Evaluation
I have always been pessimistic about the use of DNA to prove kinship because without a perfect match, you are dealing in probabilities. For example, in my own 64-marker contribution to the FamilyTreeDNA database, the closest matches are off by three markers—8 persons in total—and the company states that the probability of kinship with any one of the 8 persons within eight generations is 69%. I see no significance in the fact that there is a 69% chance the person is related to me within some meaningful amount of generations.

This past week I was staring at the results and realized that while the probability of kinship with any of the 8 within eight generations is only 69%, I had 8 chances to establish kinship. What is the probability that at least one of the 8 was close kin? It turns out, the likelihood is 95% that one of them is related to me within eight generations. What I must do is determine which one.

These probabilities use the same formula as coin tossing. Toss a coin and the probability that any specific toss will come up “heads” is 50%. But the probability that any one of 10 tosses will come up heads is more than 99.9%. It only fails if all 10 tosses come up “tails.”

The exact formula for success is 1-(1-p)**m where p is the probability of success with only one case and m is the number of cases. For the mathematically challenged, perform the following. Using a calculator, multiply the probability (example 48.2% = .482) by itself as many times as there are members. For example, if the probability is .482 and there are four members, then multiply .482 x .482 x .482 x .482. Take the result and subtract it from 1. The result is the likelihood of success shown as a decimal fraction. (Example: .905 means 90.5%).

News from JewishGen
Yizkor Books in Print Project. JewishGen has started a project to put in print and make available for purchase yizkor books that have been completely translated into English by JewishGen volunteers. The project is looking for people with expertise in editing, layout, image processing and book cover design. Additional information about the project is located at

Independent Study Program. JewishGen is offering an education program of independent study where you determine the topic, schedule and questions. The program lasts from July 29 - August 26 for projects centered on research in the United States, Canada or the Pale of Settlement (Latvia to Southern Russia). This session will follow the format of other JewishGen education classes using a Forum and one-on-one consultations via the internet. To qualify for this class, submit a paragraph about your project, research surname, towns, and research goals. The course description is located at Enrollment is limited. The cost is $100 to be paid after acceptance to the class.

JOWBR. The JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry now contains 1.7 million records from 3,200 cemeteries in 51 countries. The latest update consisted of more than 120,000 records and 49,000 new photos of tombstones. Information about this project can be found at
Yet another company has a UK and Republic of Ireland death index online. They do not indicate how many records they have, but it is not unreasonable it exceeds one million. They state that “over the coming months and years we will be building a substantial database of tens of millions of burial and cremation records.” There are 133 persons named Cohen in the database. At no charge, the burial date and cemetery location are provided. Any additional information is fee based. The site is located at

List of Surviving Jews in Holland
According to Peter Lande, JewishGen volunteers are indexing a list of Jewish survivors in Holland prepared by the Centraal Registratiebureau voor Joden in Amsterdam after the end of World War II. There are a total of 24,163 names. In many cases the listings include the place of birth or former residence of an individual, and these include hundreds of listings of individuals from non-Dutch cities and towns, primarily in Germany. The list should appear on JewishGen before the August conference.

Malines Website Taken Down for a Year
The Jewish Museum of Deportation and Resistance in Malines/Mechelen, Belgium, one of the few European museums installed on the very site where Jews were gathered to be deported, is closed for renovations for approximately one year. Visits are suspended until next summer, but the staff will continue to work and answer inquiries. Their website is no longer available. The new link is

25,835 men, women and children were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau from Malines between 1942 and 1944. There were 25,484 Jews—almost half of Belgium’s Jewish population—and 351 Gypsies. The youngest deportee was 35 days old, the oldest 93 years of age. Only 1,240—less than 5% returned—in April/May 1945. An additional 576 escaped during the trip.

In 2009, the Malines museum had a photo display of the persons deported on one of the transports. The exhibit can be seen at A four-volume work, Mecheln-Auschwitz 1942–1944: The Destruction of Jews and Gypsies from Belgium was published. It includes photographs of 18,522 of the deportees. Named One of the 101 Best Genealogy Websites was named by Family Tree Magazine as one of the 101 Best Genealogy Websites of 2011 for tracing your roots. It noted the Nu? What’s New? archives and the Consolidated Jewish Surname Index as components of the website.

FamilySearch Completes Indexing 1930 Census
FamilySearch is yet another site that has indexed the 1930 U.S. census. The organization indicated they are interested in creating a nationwide marriage index.

Below are the only additions of new FamilySearch projects and recently completed projects that I have concluded may be of interest to Jewish genealogists. The complete list can be found at

To search indexes, use the search engine at To view images, go to the same web page and then click the appropriate “Browse by Location.” Narrow it down to the country or state and then click the appropriate record collection.

New Projects Added
Brazil, Rio de Janeiro—Immigration Cards, 1900–1965 (an ongoing project)
Canada, Ontario—Births, 1869–1912 (an ongoing project)
Chile, Concepción—Civil Registration, 1885–1920 (an ongoing project)
Germany, Mecklenburg, Schwerin—1867 Census)
U.S., Registers of Enlistment in the U.S. Army, 1798–1913
U.S., Alabama—County Marriages, 1809–1950 (an ongoing project)
U.S., Illinois—Northern District Naturalization Index Cards, 1840–1950
U.S., Indiana, Fountain County—Marriages, 1811–1959
U.S., Indiana, Fulton County—Marriages 1811–1959
U.S., Iowa—County Marriages, 1838–1992 (an ongoing project)
U.S., North Carolina—County Marriages, 1762–1959 (Portions only)
U.S., Ohio, Franklin County—Marriage Records, 1929–1951
U.S., Oregon—County Marriages, 1851–1975 (Portions only)
U.S., Vermont—Vital Records, 1760–1954 (Portions only)
U.S., West Virginia—Naturalization Records, 1814–1991

Recently Completed Projects
Brazil, Rio de Janeiro—Immigration Cards, 1900–1965 (Portions only)
Chile, Concepción—Civil Registrations, 1885–1903 (Portions only)
U.S., Indiana, Floyd County—Marriages, 1811–1959
U.S., Iowa—County Births, 1880–1935 (Portions only)
U.S., Iowa—County Marriages, 1838–1992 (Portions only)
U.S., Michigan—1894 State Census
U.S., North Carolina—County Marriages, 1762–1959 (Portions only)
U.S., Tennessee—County Marriages, 1790–1950 (Portions only)
U.S., Vermont—Vital Records, 1760–1954 (Portions only)

Boston 2013
The 2011 conference is not yet history and already the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston is planning for the 2013 conference which they will host. They have a minimal website at

The site includes a picture of the statute of Paul Revere holding a menorah as he makes his famous ride to warn the colonials that the British army was advancing to Concord, Massachusetts, to capture a cache of arms. (This incident is considered the start of the American Revolutionary War.) The picture includes the parody on the words Revere supposedly made as he rode through the countryside awakening militia men: “The British are coming, the British as coming!” JGSGB changed it to “The genealogists are coming!” May I suggest they change the caption to read, ‘The Yiddish are coming, the Yiddish are coming.”

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