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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 13, Number 21 | May 20, 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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American Version of “Who Do You Think You Are?” Not Renewed for Fourth Season
The American version of Who Do You Think You Are? has not been renewed for a fourth season. Neither, the show’s sponsor, nor the NBC television network gave a reason for the cancellation. indicated the company and the show’s producer were exploring other avenues of distribution. The fact that wants to continue the program demonstrates that the show generated a good deal of interest from people wanting to know more about tracing their own family history. Personally, I found the show extremely well done with an underlying theme—if we can find records of the ancestors of these celebrities, perhaps you, the viewer, could trace your own family history.

Online Records of Germany, Poland and South Africa
Ralph Baer, on the German-SIG Discussion Group of JewishGen, reports that the birth, marriage, and death records from about 1810 to 1870, which are located at the Generallandesarchiv Karlsruhe, are online at They cover the northern portion of Baden. Records for southern Baden at the Staatsarchiv Freiburg are at, and the Reichssappenamt records for what is now Baden-Wuerttemberg located at the Hauptstaatsarchiv Stuttgart can be found at

Logan Kleinwaks notes on the JewishGen Discussion Group that the Polish State Archives in Lublin, Poznan, and Warsaw, and the Hoover Institution, have put images of documents from their collections online at, the Polish State Archives' Integrated Archival Information System. To limit searches only to online digital images available, click “Advanced Options” below the search box, then under “Search Preferences,” check the box that states “Search only fonds/units with digital copies.” Using the Polish word for “Jewish”— Żydowski—will limit results to records that are uniquely Jewish. Also use the name of ancestral towns as search parameters to locate secular documents that may include Jews. You must use the correct Polish spelling, including diacritic marks. There are only 58 results for “Warsaw” but 926 results for “Warszawa.”

Saul Issroff, on the South Africa SIG Discussion Group of JewishGen, reports that FamilySearch has added two million browseable images which are the Cape Province, Civil Deaths, 1895–1975. They can be found at Issroff also reports that eGSSA, the virtual branch of the Genealogical Society of South Africa, has updated their passenger list project to include the Natal Immigration Board's list of immigrants 1850 to 1904, as well as the passenger lists from the departure notices in the British Mail 1879 to 1881. The database includes details of 27,000 passengers and 800 voyages. It is located at

FamilySearch 1940 Census Progress Report
No additional states have been added this week to the index of the 1940 census at FamilySearch, but a number of states have achieved 100% complete status. In the last issue of Nu? What’s New? I attributed this circumstance to the fact that the FamilySearch technicians cannot place additional states online as fast as the indexers are completing them. There may be a different reason, a reason that suggests we should have patience in waiting for new states to be added.

According to David Rosen of Boston, FamilySearch has a shortage of “arbitrators” on the project. The index for the 1940 census is being created using a double entry system. Two different people enter the data and then the results are matched. If there is a difference, an arbitrator decides which is correct. This explains the high degree of accuracy in the FamilySearch version of the census. In the one error I found in the Delaware census of persons named Levy, Helen was misindexed as Hellen. You can see from the illustration to the right that the descending portion of the letter “y” in “Ray” looks like a second “l” in Hellen. The census taker went under the letter “y” to complete the writing of “Helen.” It is likely that both indexers made the same error and the matter never went to an arbitrator.

Information about the shortage of arbitrators can be found at

MyHeritage Offers a Trickle of the 1940 Census has indexed a small portion of the New York and Rhode Island 1940 census and it is available on the Internet. The problem is that it is only a trickle of the complete state index. This forces users to come back over and over again to look for records.

The search engine defaults to the broader Inexact search (to pick up possible misspellings), but with the limited number of entries at the site, strange results can occur. For example, searching for “Mokotoff” only produces 74 results for persons named McDuff. Once the index is complete for a state, those names that are Exact will appear first, with less exact results appearing last. Adds Maine to 1940 Census Index has added Maine to its list of states completely indexed. The list now includes Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine and Nevada.

Computer Classes at Annual Conference
If you are planning to attend the annual conference, consider attending one of the 12 computer classes being offered during the event. They include:
   • Beginner and advanced course in using Family Tree Maker software both for PCs and Macs
   • Using the resources of MyHeritage, including their mobile application for file sharing
   • Making the most of
   • JewishGen workshops
   • Breaking down brick walls by mining your own data

Computer classes tend to fill up quickly, so register now at Cost is €15 per session.

The conference will be held July 15–18, 2012, at the Rive Gauche Marriott in Paris, France. The conference website is It includes information about registration, hotel reservations, lectures, luncheons, tours and other topics. Offering Free Access to Immigration Records until May 21
In celebration of Victoria Day,, the Canadian branch of, is offering 200 million historical immigration records at no charge until May 21st. These are records from Canada, United Kingdom, United States and several other countries. Register for the service at

Are You a Member of a Jewish Genealogical Society?
One of the best resources for doing family history research is your local Jewish Genealogical Society. One of the principal assets of being a member is the ability to interact with other society members, usually at their monthly meetings, to assist in your personal research. Some people also are members of Jewish Genealogical Societies in their geographic region of ancestry because the societies’ newsletters will report the latest information on records and access.

The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies has published a paper, “Why Join a Jewish Genealogical Society,” which lists many other advantages to being a JGS member. It can be found at A list of the more than 70 societies throughout the world can be found at

Special Price: Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust
One reference work of great value to Jewish genealogical research is the Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust. This three-volume work provides information about more than 6,000 shtetls and cities of your ancestors in almost every country of continental Europe (exceptions: Bulgaria, Finland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland). It originally sold for $325.00. You can buy the work from for $139. Avotaynu has a special arrangement with the publisher to offer it for only $99 plus shipping.

The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust is the condensation of the renowned Pinkas HaKehillot series published by Yad Vashem plus information on areas of Europe yet to be covered by the series. The Encyclopedia chronicles the history of the Jewish communities and its people, as well as the habits and customs of the communities. There are more than 600 photographs and illustrations.
This work is so valuable toward understanding history of these Jewish communities that you should not only contemplate buying it for yourself but also as a donation to your synagogue library.

Ordering and additional information can be found at A complete list of all the towns is at

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