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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 12, Number 50 | December 25, 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
Happy Chanukah
Happy Chanukah to all. A piece of Chanukah trivia. How does a dreidel in the Diaspora differ from a dreidel in Israel? Answer: The letters on the four sides of a Diaspora dreidel are N-G-H-Sh, which stands for “a great miracle occurred there.” On an Israeli dreidel the four letters are N-G-H-P, which stands for “a great miracle occurred here.”

Three Genealogy Firms Join Forces to Create 1940 U.S. Census Index
Three leading genealogy organizations—, FamilySearch, and —announced they are joining forces to index the U.S. 1940 census. Their “1940 U.S. Census Community Project” seeks volunteers to create an index to the census as quickly as possible after it is released in April 2012. The 1940 US Census Community Project is also receiving additional support from leading societal organizations like the Federation of Genealogical Societies, National Genealogical Society, and Ohio Genealogical Society.

There were approximately 130 million people living in the U.S. in 1940. Each will be represented in the index. The index will be available online free of charge to the general public at,, and Information on how to volunteer can be found at The complete news release is located at

New 1940 Census Aid at Morse Site
Steve Morse has created so many aids to finding people in the 1940 census, and now he has created another aid, a Unified 1940 Census ED (Enumeration District) Finder, that makes the decision as to which of the other One-Step tools is most appropriate and takes the user directly to that tool with the desired ED (or perhaps a number of possible EDs) displayed. All these tools can be found at his site: in the “U.S. Census and Soundex (1790-1940)” section.

I personally have found his “1900-1940 Census ED Finder: Obtaining EDs for the 1900 to 1940 Census in One Step (Large Cities)” straight forward and easy to use. You must know the street address in order to find the ED. You narrow down which ED(s) may contain the street address by successively stating the state, city, street and cross streets contain the address.

2012 Conference News
The list of planned lectures for the 32nd International Conference on Jewish Genealogy continues to grow at the conference website: The conference will be held at the Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel in Paris from July 15–18, 2012. A special hotel rate of €119 per night includes a French breakfast (what we Americans call a Continental breakfast). This rate also applies to a number of days before and after the conference. The link to hotel registration brings you to the French-language Marriott site. If you feel uncomfortable making the reservation in French, go to for the English-language version and be sure to use the conference code: ZX4ZX4A to get the discounted price.

Registration cost for the conference by February 29, 2012, is €185 for one person and €320 for couples. At today’s rates, single person registration is about US/CAN/AUS$245 or UK₤155.

To be a potential lecturer, submit the proposal at Speakers receive a 50% discount on the registration fee.

Tours of noted sites in the Paris area are scheduled. They include the Louvre, Montparnasse, Montmartre and other sites.

Develop a KehilaLinks Page for Your Ancestral Town
Have you considered developing a webpage for your ancestral town but lack the skills to create such a page? JewishGen is again offering a course on "How to Make KehilaLinks Webpages" which starts on January 22, 2012. The course will instruct you on how to use a free, downloadable, simple-to-use webpage editor that runs on both PCs and Macs. All that is needed to participate is some basic computer skills, a computer, and a few spare hours a week for six weeks. The course description and how to enroll can be found at The cost of the program is $36.

Bill Gladstone Develops His Own Website
I have always enjoyed the writings of AVOTAYNU’s Book Review Editor, Bill Gladstone, of Toronto. He is a writer by profession and his works published in AVOTAYNU rarely need editing—not even a missing comma. Gladstone now has created his own website,, which includes more than 100 articles he has written professionally.

Gladstone is adding more articles daily from his store of many hundreds, if not more than a thousand, pieces written over his 35-year writing career. Some appeared originally in AVOTAYNU, others in the Jewish Forward, Canadian Jewish News, Globe and Mail, London Jewish Chronicle, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, etc. The lead article at his website is probably his most famous: “Mormons Baptize Holocaust Victims.” It was this article, which Gladstone wrote in 1994, that started the now 17-year discussion between the Mormon Church and the Jewish community about this practice.

Subject areas of his essays include
  • Book reviews, including many books published by AVOTAYNU
  • Rare articles and items about the history of Jewish Toronto, such as a Toronto Star profile of a young Jewish businessman from 1913
  • Articles on specific aspects of Jewish genealogical research such as censuses,, Galician research, Jewish surnames, etc.)
  • Articles on fascinating episodes of Jewish history, such as Mordecai Noah's attempt to establish a Jewish homeland on Grand Island, NY, in 1825
  • For lovers of literature, there are reviews of books by Jewish authors or on Jewish subjects

Overview of JewishGen
Last August, JewishGen published a report about itself that provides an excellent overview of what the organization is all about. Chapter titles of the 28-page report include Leadership, Greetings, Who We Are, Resources and Databases, Special Interest Groups (SIGs), Hosted Organizations, Support, Communications and Administration and Timelines. Timelines identifies milestones in the 24 history of JewishGen. The report can be found at

Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy – 2012 Version
Do you have a friend who would like to trace his/her Jewish family history and would like to know where to start? Suggest to them the new 2012 version of Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy published by Avotaynu, or give it to them as a gift. The 98-page book costs $14.50 plus shipping. Additional information is available at

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.
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