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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 12, Number 45 | November 20, 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
Registration for Paris Conference Formally Opens
Registration for the 32nd International Conference on Jewish Genealogy is now open at The cost is 185€ (approximately $250/₤158). For a couple, it is 320€ ($430/₤275). The sponsoring society, Le Cercle de Généalogie Juive, is offering discounts on registration to its members, a first in conference history.

To subscribe to the conference newsletter, click the “Newsletter” link on the home page. The organizing committee is accepting proposals for lectures and workshops. Click the “Contact” link to submit a proposal. Lecture topics already accepted for the conference can be seen at the “Program” link.

The conference will be held at the Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel in Paris from July 15–18. There is a special conference rate of 119€ per night or 129€ for two persons occupying the room. Book a room through the “Hotel” link. The booking page is in French, and the link to make a reservation in English merely takes you to the main site which will not accept the conference discount code (zx4zx4a). Instead, I made the reservation through the Marriott toll-free phone number. If you prefer to make a reservation by phone in your native tongue, a list of toll-free numbers is at Be sure to mention the group code—zx4zx4a—to get the discounted rate.

Who Do You Think You Are? Announces Third Season
The popular show about the family history of celebrities, Who do You Think You Are? will start its third season on U.S. television on Fridays from 8–9 pm, beginning February 3, 2012. The cast of celebrities has not been announced yet. For avid fans of the show, there are deleted scenes from previous shows at

U.S. National Archives Awards 1940 Census Site to
The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has selected to design and host a free website for the April 2, 2012 launch of the 1940 U.S. census. On that date users will be able to search, browse, and download the 1940 Census schedules from their own computers free of charge. At least two other companies plan to provide access to this census on the first day: and indicated this collection will be free of charge through 2013.

There is no index to the census and the race will be on to see which site will have an index first. FamilySearch is asking for volunteers for the project. undoubtedly will outsource the project as they do for their other collections.

It is fortunate that at least three companies will have the census available because the rush in early April will tax the capacity of their servers. Prior to the availability of an index, researchers will have to determine the Enumeration District (ED) that contains the street address being sought.

NARA has uploaded the 1940 ED maps to their website. Stephen P. Morse and associates have created an easy-to-use finding aid to locate the map for a town that has multiple EDs. The new utility, called "Viewing 1940 ED Maps in One Step," is at Identify EDs of interest well before April 2012. If there is any server that will be overtaxed, it is the Morse server being used at the last minute by people trying to determine EDs.

Fall Issue of AVOTAYNU
The Fall issue of AVOTAYNU will go to the printer this week. It includes three articles about the Paris conference that will be held in July 2012. First is an article about the conference itself. Second is one about genealogical resources in France. Finally there is a list of useful Internet sites for French research. Also with the conference in mind there is an article about using archives in neighboring Belgium for genealogical research. There are a number of scholarly articles including “A Methodology to Detect and Correct Erroneous Jewish Names in Digitized Genealogical Records” and “Leveraging Genealogy as an Academic Discipline.” There are a total of 12 articles plus the regular columns (Book reviews, From Our Contributing Editors, U.S. Update, Ask the Experts and From Our Mailbox). You can see the complete Table of Contents at You can subscribe to AVOTAYNU at

Reminder: Now that the Fall issue is completed, we are looking toward the Winter issue. For the past 26 years, AVOTAYNU has devoted a portion of each Winter issue to genealogy human interest stories. Stories are typically about how genealogy affected people’s lives, whether it is the researcher or the people they are researching. Deadline for submission is December 1, 2010. If you have an interesting story to tell, submit it by e-mail to Wherever possible, illustrations should accompany the article. Avotaynu writing style rules can be found at In 2008, Avotaynu published 72 of the best human interest stories in a book: Every Family Has a Story. Information about the book can be found at

Brief Announcements
FamilyTreeDNA is having a sale on their tests. Until December 31, Y-DNA testing is $119 (regularly $169). Family Finder testing is $199 (regularly $289). MtDNA testing still remains at $159.

There are 18 articles about the Jews of Burgenland, Austria, at Many are articles about specific communities where Jews lived before the Holocaust. has added 10 million records for Cheshire County.

In order to make it easier to identify archival material, the Israel State Archives has decided to provide storage codes in English. Additional information is at They also have new hours for telephone inquiries. See

Persons requesting a copy of the original U.S. Social Security application of an ancestor will find the names of parents redacted for any person who was born within the past 100 years. The explanation by the Social Security Administration is that the parents may still be alive, and they are protecting their privacy. If proof is provided that the parents are deceased, the document will not be redacted.

Recent New Books from Avotaynu
The Lost Synagogues of The Bronx and Queens Includes description of book, sample page, Table of Contents and list of synagogues included in the book

The Holocaust in Slovakia: The Story of the Jews of Medzilaborce District. Includes a description of the book.

Contribute to the Success of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy
Help support a dynamic institution that in its brief existence already has been the catalyst for such benefits to Jewish genealogy as the Beider-Morse Phonetic Matching System,  Sephardic DNA and Migration project, inventorying the Paul Jacobi Collection of 400 prominent Ashkenazic lineages, the Proposed Standard for Names, Dates and Places in a Genealogical Database, and a system for Integrating Genealogical Datasets.

Visit the IIJG website at and read about these developments, as well as  ongoing and proposed projects.

Make your tax-deductible contribution by credit card or PayPal at Click the Donate link. If you prefer, mail it to the Friends of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy, 155 N. Washington Ave., Bergenfield, NJ 07621. Make the check payable to “Friends of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy.” Donations are tax deductible for U.S. taxpayers.
Nu? What's New? is published weekly by Avotaynu, Inc.
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