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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 12, Number 46 | November 27, 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

Another Test of the New ListServ Provider
The last issue of Nu? What’s New? and this issue were sent twice to each subscriber; once with the old listserv provider and once with the new. This was to confirm that switchover to a new provider would not cause interruption of service. The first test demonstrated that only one ISP blocked Nu? What’s New? with the new provider— Hopefully that has been resolved.

It did demonstrate that some individuals at other providers did not get the issue. This is caused by the ISP accepting the e-mail but then declaring it spam, and placing it in your spam folder.

If you did not receive two copies of this issue, a number of procedures can make the problem go away. If you have an online address book, add to your address book. This applies to users such as AOL, Yahoo, Hotmail. For others, access your spam folder and if you find the copy of Nu? What’s New? there, click the button that states “This is not spam.”

If there are still problems, contact me at (The spelling of the e-mail address is correct now. It was incorrect in the last issue).

ICRC Makes It Official: They Will No Longer Manage ITS After 2012
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), who has been managing the International Tracing Service (ITS) since its inception in 1955, says it will step down from that role at the end of 2012 and thereafter merely act as an advisor. The new manager will be the German Federal Archives.

ICRC has been stating for a number of months that it wants out of the role, because they are a humanitarian organization, and ITS is being used more and more by historians and less and less by family members trying to determine the fate of relatives who were victims of Nazi persecution. They state that ITS has become a fully developed center for documentation, research and education.

As an example of its new focus on documentation and research, ITS recently held a conference on the subject of death marches that occurred toward the end of World War II. Sixty participants from eight countries focused on the documents in the ITS archives on the reconstruction of the death marches and the identification of the dead that were compiled between 1946 and 1951. Since October 2010, researchers had been systematically examining these for the first time in a joint workshop.

ITS, located in Bad Arolsen, Germany, serves victims of Nazi persecution and their families by documenting their fate through the archives it manages. For this reason, it is a major source of information about individuals caught up in the Holocaust, both victims and survivors.

The complete news release about the ICRC withdrawal can be found at The news release about the Death March conference can be found at

Social Security Death Index Under Attack—Again
I have sometimes wondered why we have government legislative bodies. Won’t there be some moment in time when there will be no new legislation worthwhile enacting? The answer is “no.” If nothing else, our legislatures are reactive rather than proactive. If something bad happens, they create a law to try to make it stop. If one motorcyclist is killed because he was not wearing a helmet, a law is passed to force motorcyclists to wear helmets. If a potential terrorist bomber hides a bomb in his shoes, all passengers on air fights must remove their shoes for examination.

Of great concern to genealogists is a possible plan by the U.S. Congress to enact legislation that would ban posting the Social Security numbers of deceased individuals on the Internet. At a minimum, it would remove the Social Security Death Index (SSDI). What triggered this investigation was a letter a Senator received from a constituent that stated her deceased three-month old daughter’s Social Security number had been fraudulently used on a Federal tax return filing.

Recently millions of names were removed from the SSDI because the source of the information was state death certificates, and in those states where death certificates are private for a number of years, the Social Security Administration (SSA) decreed that they could not be used as a source.
Also recently SSA started to redact the names of the parents on Social Security applications where the individual was born within the past 100 years on the grounds that the parents might still be living and, therefore, their privacy was being violated. If one assumes that a woman cannot have a baby until she is 13 years old, it means that applications for persons born in 1912 will not be available until next year because of the risk that the 113-year old mother is still alive.

YIVO Places Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe Online
YIVO Institute has placed its YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe online at The book version lists for $400 and is available on for $355.56. One third-party seller on Amazon claims it will sell a copy for $179.99.

YIVO states the multi-volume work provides the most complete picture of the history and culture of Jews in Eastern Europe from the beginning of their settlement in the region to the present. The online edition includes the
contents of the book plus 60 interactive maps; more color photographs; 191 rare letters and documents; newly added images, video and audio clips—1,458 in all.

A table of contents has been replaced by a synoptic outline of the contents of the book that can be found at

There is full-word search engine which appears to provide only basic functionality. There is no wildcard searching. There appears to be no “not” option. Searching for “Grojec –Anna” produced results for Grojec OR Anna. If there are no results, the search engine provides results for an alternate search. Searching for “Mokot” produces a message that stated “0 results for Mokot. You probably meant Root.” It then provided 167 results for Root.

Avotaynu Joins Cyber Monday Sales Event
It is a tradition in the United States that the day after the Thanksgiving holiday—which occurred last Thursday—starts the holiday (Christmas/Chanukah) buying season. For many years the day after Thanksgiving has been a day when the retailers give unusual discounts to buyers for that one day only. It has become known as Black Friday to recognize that it has the reputation for putting retailers "into the black," that is profitable, as opposed to “into the red” (unprofitable).

With the advent of Internet sales, the online merchants have countered making the Monday after Black Friday, Cyber Monday—the day for unusual online sales.

Avotaynu is participating in Cyber Monday by offering—for one day only—a 15% discount on anything we sell (exception Google your Family Tree which is sold at retail price at the request of the publisher). Avotaynu has customers all over the world. In fairness to buyers in such places as Australia, where it is already Monday, we are starting the sale immediately. It will end at 11:59 pm, Monday, Eastern Time. When checking out, use the Coupon Code CYBERMONDAY to get the 15% discount. You can find a list with links of all items we sell at   a listing of books by category is at

Consider treating yourself to a book or CD you have always wanted, such as Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy or AVOTAYNU on CD-ROM. Give a present of Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy to a friend who has been talking about wanting to trace his/her Jewish family history but thinks it cannot be done. Buy Every Family Has a Story and present it to a friend or relative to show that genealogy is not merely a hobby but a discipline that affects people’s lives.

Avotaynu 800 Number Temporarily Not Working
Our 800 number, 1-800-AVOTAYNU (286-8296) has been out of order for the past 10 days. We hope to get it resolved this coming week. If the number does not work, call us at 201-387-7200.

List of Greek Jews
There is a list of Greek Jews at The names are as current as 1945 and one dates back to the 3rd century BCE. Information provided—but not necessarily all for each individual—is name, father’s name, place of birth, date of birth, reference date, and profession. There is a second list that appears not to be incorporated into the main list of Jews deported from Greece during the Holocaust. Translated into English it appears at “List of Displaced Elinoevraion.”

The site is in Greek. Remarkably Google Translate refused to translate the above page, but switching to the Google Chrome browser—which automatically detects non-English websites and offers to translate—provided a translation.

Budapest Marriages
A posting to the JewishGen Hungary-SIG notes a website that has an index to 219,645 Budapest marriages. It is at Information included is names of bride, groom, parents (including family name of mother) date of marriage, district and record(?) number. Plans call for birth and death indexes.

The site is a personal website of Dr. Csaba Bela Hatvany. If you have Hungarian heritage, you may find other information there of value. Click “Számítógépes családkutatás” for additional data. There is a gazetteer and articles about Hungarian history. The marriage database is the effort of the Hungarian Association of Family Researchers whose website is at The Hatvany site hosts the database.

Hey, Mister, Want to Buy a Copy of the 1940 Census Cheap?
Dick Eastman’s Online Newsletter notes that the U.S. National Archives is selling copies of the 1940 census in digital or microfilm form. The microfilm version costs $580,750, but the digital version is only $200,000. (Eastman did not note the cost of buying the 18+ terabytes of disk needed to store the digital version.) Persons can settle for a microfilm version of a single state which can be bought for as little as $9,000 for New York and $3,000 for Alaska.

Nu? What's New? is published weekly by Avotaynu, Inc.
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