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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 12, Number 36 | September 11, 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.

Past issues of Nu? What's New? are archived at Ranks As 14th Most Popular Genealogy Site ranks as the 14th most popular Internet site for genealogy according to a survey done by John D. Reid who maintains an AngloCeltic genealogy blog at Reid’s source is which ranks all Internet sites based on traffic to the site. He did not include JewishGen in his ranking, likely because he is unfamiliar with the site, but being the 88,642th most popular location on the entire Internet would make JewishGen the 14th entry on his genealogy list.

As one would suspect, ranks first as a genealogy site and is the 1,082th most popular site on the Internet. Other sites ranking higher than JewishGen include, Geni, FamilyTreeDNA,com and the U.S. National Archives. would rank about 35th on the list of genealogy sites.

What is the most popular site on the Internet? Google. Reid’s article can be found at

Syncing Your Genealogy Databases
Some genealogists are placing their family tree data online in such places as Geni and MyHeritage while still maintaining the database on their offline computer. This creates the problem that the two files may get out of synchronization. Two companies have announced tools to synchronize the files.

In announcing Family Tree Maker 2012, notes that it includes software called TreeSync that will perform this function, but only for trees located at the site. still is in beta test its product which it states will sync trees online at Geni, FamilySearch and

Taking Tamar Now an Ebook
Avotaynu has published its first ebook: Taking Tamar. It is now available on in Kindle format. Amazon has a Kindle app for the iPad/iPhone, Android and other devices. At present, there are no plans to convert any of our other books to ebook format.

Taking Tamar is a delightful, must-read story about Martha Lev-Zion’s experience adopting and bringing up a child with Down syndrome. Martha is founder and president of the Jewish Genealogical Society of the Negev, a past member of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies and past president of the Latvia SIG, to name some of her many roles in Jewish genealogy.

In 1986, as a single woman in her 40s, Martha heard about an Israeli TV documentary regarding 22 children with severe birth defects who had been abandoned by their birth parents and were now in Israeli hospitals. Martha applied for one of those babies, but was told that of the 65 applications received, hers would be the last one considered. In the end, with only one baby remaining, Martha took into her care a 14-month-old girl with Down syndrome. This book relates the amazing journey of Martha's life raising her daughter Tamar. Interwoven with her experiences fighting Israeli governmental authorities, school systems (she wanted her child main streamed), the birth family, and even the U.S. government, is her commitment to bring up her daughter as normally as possible and her daughter’s incredible accomplishments.

When she was 14 months old, Tamar was tested and found to have an IQ between 45–60. Today she is a young woman who was living independently until she recently enlisted, and was accepted, into the Israeli Air Force! She still has some of the characteristics of a person with Down syndrome, but Martha’s commitment to maximize Tamar’s potential is something Martha feels any parent should do in rearing ANY child.

This must-read ebook can be purchased for only $9.99. Ordering information for the Kindle as well as the softcover version can be found at

Comprehensive List of Former Synagogues in New York City
What is likely the most comprehensive list of former synagogues in New York City (Manhattan) can be found on the online Museum of Family History at The time period is from 1869 to 1933. I am familiar with the 200 block of East Broadway because that is where my maternal grandparents lived, and I visited them often in my youth. There are 12 synagogues listed for that block. I recall no buildings that were clearly houses of worship. Instead most of these “synagogues” must have been in tenement buildings. One address, 227 East Broadway, included six synagogues. My grandfather prayed in a shtiebel on the first floor of his tenement. Next door, 246 East Broadway, a tenement building, was the home of Bikur Cholim Anshei Bialystok. I seem to vaguely recall my parents telling me that my grandfather, who was from Bialystok, preferred praying in the one-room shtiebel. It demonstrates that the immigrant Jews of New York did not require edifices to pray. All that was required was a room in some building. Now Includes Viennese Jewish Burials describes itself as a “loose organization of genealogists or historians who produce databases on their own or as a part of a group and offer these databases to all researchers without any fee.” They have added Viennese Jewish burials and B’nai Brith membership lists to their site. The B’nai Brith members are described under the heading “Free Masons – Members of different lodges 1783–1936” and contains lists from B´nai Brith lodges of Vienna, Nürnberg and Hamburg (both Germany) of 1936.

There are many searchable databases. Examples include:
   • An index to records of different Jewish communities in Moravia. Entries for communities of other crown lands will be added in the next few months.
   • Obituaries of the Neue Freie Presses of Vienna between 1864 and 1938,
   • Index to Jewish Viennese births and marriages (1826–1910) and deaths (1866–1910).
   • Forced baptism of Jewish children in the foundling hospital of Vienna 1816–1868
   • Jewish converts in Vienna.

A complete list of databases is at⟨=en.

Cincinnati Birth/Death Index 1865–1912 Completed
The May 8, 2011, edition of Nu? What’s New? reported plans to index the birth and death records of Cincinnati, Ohio, 1865–1912, were underway by the University of Cincinnati Archives. The project is now complete and can be found at Has Guide for Finding Your Immigrant Ancestors has developed a six-page presentation in PDF format about Finding Immigrant Ancestors. It discusses sources to discover your immigrant ancestor in the U.S. and the Old Country. It is located at

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. Much of this week’s additions were U.S. Civil War records. 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 Indexes
U.S., Applications for Headstones for Military Veterans,1925–1941
U.S., National Homes For Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866–1938

New Images
Mexico, México Estado, Civil Registration, 1861–1941 New images
U.S., Index to Passenger Arrivals, Atlantic and Gulf Ports, 1820–1874 New images
U.S., Illinois, Northern District Naturalization Index, 1840–1950 More images of the index.
U.S., Kansas, County Marriages, 1855–1911 Added images to existing collection.
U.S., Michigan, Detroit Manifests of Arrivals at the Port of Detroit, 1906–1954 New images
U.S., Oregon, Yamhill County Records, 1857–1963 New images
U.S., Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1883–1945 New images

DNA & Tradition Shipped
For those who bought DNA & Tradition this past week, all orders have been shipped. Nearly 100 people showed interest in the book. Order the book or find additional information at It describes how DNA research has confirmed many Jewish traditions.

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