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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 13, Number 20 | May 13, 2012

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.

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Happy Mother’s Day!

FamilySearch 1940 Census Update: Six States Searchable
The 1940 census for six states—Colorado, Delaware, Kansas, New Hampshire, Oregon and Virginia—now can be searched at It appears the tens of thousands of volunteers indexing the census are working faster than the FamilySearch technicians who place the completed indexes on the Internet. Another 10 states are shown as 100% complete but are not accessible yet.

Many of the states with large Jewish populations are well behind in the indexing. This includes California (47%), Illinois (17%), Massachusetts (15%), New Jersey (7%), New York (6%) and Pennsylvania (12%).

The status of each state can be found at

In the last issue of Nu? What’s New? I commented that has a powerful feature that allows searching the census index by given names of members of the household. Paul Nauta of FamilySearch notes this feature now exists at the FamilySearch site. It is called “Search by Relationships.” The feature can be used when the family cannot be found when searching by surname. When using it, try to use adult members of the family because children can be listed by a nickname—Charlie instead of Charles. Now Has 10 Billion Records now has 10 billion records online. The company indicated that their collection, which has grown 150 percent in the last three years, is larger than those of all other online family history sites combined. offers a 14-day free trial. To start the trial, link to through JewishGen. In the upper right corner of is a link that says “Powered by”

Will Genealogy Eventually Become an Obsolete Hobby?
Will genealogy eventually become an obsolete hobby? Will there be a period sometime in the future that genealogy will have been such a popular hobby in the past that most family histories will be done?

I received an e-mail yesterday through the JewishGen Family Finder that got me upset. It said: “I have been working on my family history, and I am related to Joseph Tartasky born 1878 and his father was I believe Menachem Leib Tartasky. Perhaps, you could provide me with some insights.”

My response should have been the following:

Dear Karen:

Your genealogy has been done. Attached is a family tree that includes the 86 descendants of Joseph Tartasky I have documented in the 20 years I have been researching the Tartasky family. Also attached is a list of the ancestors of Joseph Tartasky going back four generations to before 1760.

You will never know the joy of discovering records of your Tartasky family, the thrill of problem solving, the frustration of brick walls, the excitement of interviewing distant cousins. I stole that from you by being the first person to research the Tartasky family history.

20th Year: Jewish Genealogical Trip to Salt Lake City
For the 20th consecutive year, veteran Jewish genealogists Gary Mokotoff and Eileen Polakoff will be offering a research trip to the LDS (Mormon) Family History Library in Salt Lake City from October 18–October 25, 2012. To date, more than 300 Jewish genealogists from the U.S., Canada, Israel, Australia, England, Austria and Venezuela have taken advantage of this program. The group size is limited to 40 people. The program offers genealogists the opportunity to spend an entire week of intensive research at the Library under the guidance and assistance of professional genealogists who have made more than three dozen trips to Salt Lake City. Each attendee has access to trip leaders every day—except Sunday when the Library is closed—from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Library for on-site assistance and personal consultations. There is also a planned program that includes a three-hour class on day of arrival introducing the participants to the facilities and resources of the Family History Library in addition to a mid-week informal group discussion of progress and problem solving. Social events include a Sunday brunch for camaraderie and discussion of successes (and failures); attendance at the Sunday morning broadcast of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir; and informal group dinners each night. Additional information can be found at

Leo Baeck Institute Digitizes Significant Subset of Its Collection
Leo Baeck Institute, the archives and library of German-speaking Jewry, has digitized a significant portion of its collection in a system called DigiBaeck. It is located at

It includes the following:
   • Nearly 75 percent of its archival collections, which include personal documents, correspondence, family and community histories, genealogical materials, and business records. Plans call for the complete archives to be added to the system.
   • Its entire collection of more than 2,000 memoirs and manuscripts which includes unpublished diaries and memoirs that document German-Jewish life from the 18th century to the present.
   • 2,000 items from the art collection
   • Rare Renaissance books, artists’ illustrated portfolios, and selected periodicals from its book collection. Most of the library collection cannot be digitized due to copyright restrictions.
   • The Institute’s entire collection of more than 25,000 photographs.
   • Rare recordings of Jewish liturgical music plus a growing collection of more than 250 oral history interviews with Austrian-Jewish émigrés who fled to New York to escape the Nazis.

Site for Online City/Telephone Directories
In the April 1 edition of Nu? What’s New? I stated, “One of the best resources for finding street addresses of families in the year of a national census is city directories and their successors: telephone directories. Many are online, but I cannot find a site that has a comprehensive listing.”

Samuel Josovic of Israel notes that a site that has a large listing of online city/telephone directories can be found at Included are links to directories from Canada, Ireland, Thailand, United Kingdom and United States.

Given the solution to the problem, I was able to determine that this site was mentioned in the May 16, 2010, edition of Nu? What’s New?

Keep Posting to Facebook After Your Death
Attention Facebook addicts! Why allow death to interfere with your ability to post messages to your favorite social networking site? Dick Eastman’s Genealogy Newsletter reports that a new company, DeadSocial, is offering a service where you can write messages today and have them posted to your favorite social network sites after your death. What a splendid opportunity to tell your friends what you really think of them—positive or negative—without worldly consequences. Register free at A video about the service can be seen at

British Newspaper Archive Adds “Newspaper Titles” Page
British Newspaper Archive has added a “Newspaper Titles” page to its website that identifies all the newspapers it has scanned and indexed to date including range of years covered. It also provides a list of recently added issues. It is located at

Since the first word of a newspaper invariably is the name of the city in which it is published, you can readily locate newspapers published in cities where your relatives lived. For example, for the city of Manchester, the site includes the Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser (1825–1916), Manchester Evening News (1870–1903), Manchester Mercury (1759–1826), and Manchester Times (1828–1900).

The British Newspaper Archive is a partnership between The British Library and Brightsolid Online Publishing to digitize up to 40 million newspaper pages from The British Library's vast collection over the next 10 years.

Sites for London Research
Renee Steinig of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Long Island recently posted a list on Internet resources for London research. They are reproduced below with her permission. She notes that “this is not a comprehensive list of sources for London research, just of the sites I recently used.”

Application for a probate search

The Association of Jewish Refugees (archive of journals, 1946-present)

British Phone Books, 1880

Deceased Online
Described as "UK's Find-a-Grave equivalent," "not very complete."

England & Wales Death Index: 1915

England & Wales, National Probate Calendar, 1861

Federation of Synagogues *

General Register Office
After finding cousins in the Ancestry death index, I ordered records
online here and received them in about a week.

IAJGS Jewish Cemetery Project - London England

JewishGen and JGSGB UK Database

London Electoral Registers, 1847–1965

London Gazette
"Official newspaper of record for the UK." Notices of naturalization
and probate can be found here.

Medical directory ...: London, provinces, Wales, Scotland,
Ireland, abroad, Navy, Army & Air Force (numerous years, on

Moving There
Especially interesting for my purposes: the index of "Internees at
Liberty in UK" (1939–1942). (Refuges who were exempted from internment
as enemy aliens.)

National Archives (UK)
The site has an index to, among other things, naturalization applications and certificates.

United Synagogue Burials* (Orthodox)

Western Marble Arch Synagogue*
Merged with Western and West End Great Synagogues and has their burial

* Unlike most of the cemeteries in New York City, where numerous synagogues, landsmanshaftn, and other fraternal organizations own sections, London's Jewish cemeteries, I've learned, are all administered by synagogues or synagogue organizations, among them Federation, United and Western Marble Arch, and also Liberal, Masorti, Reform, Sephardi, etc.

Steinig thanks Henry Best, Daniel Gleek, Michael Hoffman, Saul Issroff, Gabriel Moeller, David Nathan, Irene Peters, Jeanette Rosenberg and Ruth Silver for their generous advice and lookups. (Her apologies to anyone whose name she inadvertently omitted.)

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