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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 12, Number 30 | August 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.
New Gesher Galicia Database Search Engine Has Unusual Features
Gesher Galicia, the Special interest Group for Galicia, has developed an All Galicia Database at There are currently 172,954 records from 41 different data sources including birth, death, marriage and divorce records; phone books; school and landowner records.

The search engine has a number of unusual features. There is an internal synonym list of given names. Searching for Hirsch will produce results also for Zvi. Most interesting is that once a search is complete, statistics are provided for the results showing which record types found; most common surnames; most common given names; all locations (towns); years; record sources and repositories. All statistics show record counts. Any of these values can be clicked, and the search engine will display only those records for the given value. For example, searching for the surname Haendel, displayed 46 results. The “Record Types” information provided states that there were 37 “births,” 7 “deaths,” 1 “Holocaust” and 1 “phone book.” Clicking on the “deaths” statistics now displays only the seven death entries. This feature can significantly reduce browsing time because it may be unnecessary to look at all results of an initial search.

There does not appear to be a list of towns represented, but searching only for the given name “Abraham,” (13,270 results) undoubtedly provides a near comprehensive list of towns and record groups, that is, every town or record group undoubtedly has at least one person named Abraham.

At present there is no phonetic searching, but there are plans to include Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex and Beider-Morse Phonetic Matching searches.

Google Alerts
Google Alerts is a service provided by Google where they will inform you by e-mail of new or modified sites that contain keywords of your choice. I have used it for years to find new information about “Mokotoff,” “Mormon Jewish posthumous baptism” and “Mokotow -rent -apartment -warszawa -galeria -galleria.” The last entry addresses the fact that my original surname, Mokotow, is today the name of the southern district of Warsaw, and I try to exclude references to the district including the shopping center Galeria Mokotow.

Dick Eastman, who publishes the Dick Eastman Online Genealogy Newsletter, has an excellent description of Google Alert and how it operates. It can be found at Now Accepts Family Trees
In the March 20, 2011, issue of Nu? What’s New? I noted a new site,, that is a search engine which only searches genealogy web sites. Mocavo has now added a new feature to its capability. You can upload a family tree, and it will send you search results for your ancestors. The results are not instantaneous. Periodically, weekly or daily, you receive an e-mail giving search results. Furthermore, there is an option to include your family tree in the Mocavo search engine. Then if other people are searching for your relatives, your family tree will be a search result.

I have not tried out this feature and cannot comment on its effectiveness.

Recordings of Conference Sessions To Be Available
Possibly the most important aspect of the annual International Conference on Jewish Genealogy is education through the lectures presented. Recordings of at least 121 conference sessions will be available during and after the conference. (Some sessions are not recorded at the request of the presenter.) Individual sessions will be available on CD for $9.95 each during the conference and $11.95 plus shipping and handling after the conference. All recorded sessions on a flash drive will be $149 at the conference, or the same price plus shipping/handling after the conference.

To order the complete set by the Internet, go to

Announce Location of 2013 Boston Conference
For those who like to plan early, the 33rd IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy will be held in Boston August 4–9, 2013, at the Park Plaza Hotel in the heart of Boston. The conference is being co-hosted by the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies and the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston. The last time the conference was in Boston was 1996.

NARA Search Engine Good for People Searching
In the last issue of Nu? What’s New? I noted that the search engine at the U.S. National Archives site ( can be used to get information about towns. Bill Wolpert of Minneapolis reminded me it can also be used to determine if NARA has information about people. An example is Alien Case Files which were described in the June 21, 2009, issue of Nu? What’s New?. Wolpert even found a case file of a relative who was involved in an automobile accident while in military service.

Helene Joseph
Anthony Joseph, AVOTAYNU Contributing Editor for England, and his wife Helene are regular attendees at IAJGS conferences. They had planned to be in Washington this year. Anthony has called, however, to say that they will have to miss seeing their many friends this year. Helene recently had a kidney removed. She is on the mend and they hope to see everyone again in Paris in 2012.

To submit a Page of Testimony, go to Click the words “Submit Additional Names.”

Join the ranks of Yad Vashem’s worldwide network of volunteers working in one-on-one outreach efforts with Holocaust survivors and members of their generation to recover the names of Shoah victims before they are lost forever. For ideas and resources on how to launch a names recovery campaign in your area, visit Yad Vashem’s Community Outreach Guide for updated program information on the project in Israel and in Russian speaking Jewish communities around the world.

Yad Vashem has provided a 10-minute Pages of Testimony tutorial video at the site to learn how to help survivors and others from their generation to fill out Pages of Testimony. To volunteer for the project or for more information contact
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