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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 13, Number 30 | July 22, 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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Paris Conference a Great Success
Congratulations to the Cercle de Généalogie Juive for the excellent 32nd IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy. C’était un beau travail!

The society stated that there were 850 attendees from 30 countries. This would be a record—I believe—for an IAJGS conference outside North America. Many of the speakers lecturing on standard subjects were from Europe and not heard at U.S.-based conferences. This gave a fresh approach to the subjects. The bilingual lectures, French/English, were no obstacle. The translators were excellent and the wireless headsets did the job comfortably. I listened to a number of lectures presented in French with no difficulty. The quality and uniqueness of the conference demonstrates that IAJGS should plan a European-based conference at least every 10 years.

Mark your calendar. The 2013 conference will be held at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel from August 4–9. They already have a website at IAJGS president Michael Goldstein announced that future conferences will be held in Salt Lake City (2014) and Jerusalem (2015). He also indicated that discussions call for the 2016 conference to be somewhere in the Northwest U.S, 2017 in Eastern U.S. and 2018 in Eastern Europe, likely Warsaw.

Jeffrey S. Malka Receives IAJGS Lifetime Achievement Award
Jeffrey S. Malka has received the annual Lifetime Achievement Award of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies. Malka, a retired professor of orthopedic surgery, is one of the pioneers of contemporary Sephardic genealogical research. Among his accomplishments, he is creator of the SephardicGen Internet site, creator of JewishGen's SephardicSIG website, and author of the prize-winning book Sephardic Genealogy: Discovering Your Sephardic Ancestors and Their World published by Avotaynu.

The award stated: “This award honors your pioneering work in Sephardic genealogical studies. You have provided focus, resources and leadership to the study of Sephardic genealogy. Your writing, websites and lectures have opened doors for researchers by making both methodology and information accessible to all. You have reminded the entire Jewish genealogy community of our diversity. You have served on many committees of Jewish genealogy organizations at the local and international level. High standards and your generosity in sharing your time and knowledge underscore every one of your many accomplishments.”

Other IAJGS Awards
IAJGS Award for Outstanding Contribution to Jewish Genealogy via the Internet, Print or Electronic Project was given to Logan Kleinwaks for “Your exceptional creation and management of the Genealogy Indexer is a unique innovation in the field of Jewish Genealogy....” The award for Outstanding Program or Project Award was given to JewishGen’s ViewMate Project. “Conceived and initiated by Bernard Kouchel, this innovative and widely used tool helps researchers understand genealogy-related documents, photographs and artifacts....” The Award for Outstanding Publication by an IAJGS Member Association went to Great Britain Jewish Genealogical Society for their journal Shemot.

Special Discount on Sephardic Genealogy
In recognition of Jeffrey R. Malka’s receipt of the IAJGS Lifetime Achievement Award, for three days only—through July 25—Avotaynu is making his award-winning book Sephardic Genealogy: Discovering Your Sephardic Ancestors and Their World available at one-third off the regular price. You can purchase the book for only $29.95 plus shipping. The regular price in $45.00. The book is of interest not only to people with Sephardic ancestry but those interested in Jewish history with a slant toward family history research.

It is the definitive work on how to research Sephardic ancestors. It won “Best Judaica Reference Book” of Association of Jewish Libraries in 2002. Its 472 pages are divided into sections:
   • Part I is a 94-page history of Sephardic Jewry.
   • Part II is designed for people new to family history research with a Sephardic slant.
   • Part III is a country by country description of resources. More than 20 countries are covered.
   • Part IV describes Internet resources.
• The book concludes with 13 appendices (example: Sephardic Cursive Alphabet), glossary, bibliography and surname index of more than 3,000 names.

Order the book at When checking out, use the coupon code SEPHARDIC. The complete Table of Contents is also at the site.

News from the SIGs
SIGs are Special Interest Groups primarily focusing on geographic areas of ancestry. You can subscribe to their Discussion Groups at A login is required. You can link to the SIG home pages from There are also more than 80 Jewish Genealogical Societies throughout the world. A list of societies can be found at

General. A posting to the Latvia SIG Discussion Group notes that a glossary of medical terms used in the 18th and 19th centuries can be found at

Austria-Czech. Additional digitized birth, marriage and death records for the Jewish communities of Bohemia and Moravia are now online at The fond, not all of which has been digitized, covers the period 1784–1949, but registers of births of the period 1913–1949, marriages 1938–1949 and deaths 1937–1949 are closed to the public for privacy reasons.

Belarus. A search engine in English for records of the Belarus archives, not only the National Historical Archives of Minsk and Grodno, but all the other archives as well is at

Hungary. More than 12,200 birth, marriage, and death records from the former Hungarian county of Maramaros are now part of the JewishGen Hungary Database at A list of towns/years included is at This represents the first live searchable data from the Maramaros/Maramures Jewish Records Project. Information about the project can be found at

An Open Letter to Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr.
In a letter to the Social Security Administration, Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. of Pennsylvania requests that the Death Master File, also known as the Social Security Death Index, be banned from public access. It can be found at Here is my response to Senator Casey. You can make your views known to the Senator at

Dear Senator Casey:

Why is it that whenever a good thing is abused, Congress has an instant solution: ban the good thing? Your view on the Death Master File is a good example. I have used this database countless times since it was made available to reunite families. Not my own family, but people desperately looking for relatives they lost contact with, or never knew existed. (I do this work on a pro bono basis.) These would not have been possible without public access to the Death Master File.

Banning public access to the Death Master File will not stop its use for identity theft or tax fraud; it will just make it somewhat harder for the thieves. Almost every state does not allow access to birth certificates for a large number of years (often 100 years) unless you are the person himself. Did that stop people from getting these documents illegally? No. Clerks within the offices went into the lucrative business of illegally selling birth certificates.

Stop penalizing the honest for the acts of a few dishonest people.

1940 Census Update
The addition of 15 more states to the 1940 U.S. census database at means you can now search for 25 states and District of Columbia: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.

At present, is the only site to have indexed District of Columbia, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

Visit to view the status of the 1940 census by FamilySearch. To date they have fully indexed 32 states and the District of Columbia.

Biographies of People in Yiddish Theatre Online
Steve Lasky, creator of the online (Jewish) Museum of Family History, reports he has now translated from Yiddish 1,800 of the 2,816 biographies of people associated with the Yiddish theatre as found in the seven-volume "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre," published between 1931 and 1969 (the seventh volume was never published). It includes not just actors and actresses, but playwrights, theatre reviewers, journalists, theatre managers, prompters, directors, et al. They can be found at

If you have never visited the Museum of Family History website, it is worth your time. It is an audio-visual masterpiece of portions of Jewish history that tend to have relevance to family history research. Lasky has taken the title of his site seriously and has created a virtual museum complete with floors, theaters, dining facilities and a bookstore. The depth of information can be understood by going to the museum’s site map at Browse the site. You are bound to find something relevant to your family history research.

B’nai B’rith To Relocate Archives to American Jewish Archives
B’nai B’rith International (BBI) will relocate its archives and Holocaust and Related Materials Archives to the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives in Cincinnati, Ohio. This move should create greater access to BBI’s historical records. The organization is considered the most widely known Jewish humanitarian, human rights and advocacy organization. Its reach extends to more than 50 countries around the world. Additional information about the project can be found at

Belgian Deportation Orders Actually Were Expulsion Orders
In the last issue of Nu? What’s New? there was mention of an index to nearly 6,500 people for whom orders were issued in Belgium during the German occupation in World War II. They were referred to as “deportation orders.” In reality, they were expulsion orders. The error was caused by a mistranslation of the Flemish word Uitwijzingsbevel. Gershon Lehrer has corrected his site where the index is accessible in English. He also includes a description of the collection. It is at

Looking for Survivors Helped by Sousa Mendes
The Sousa Mendes Foundation is seeking to identify and/or locate Holocaust survivors who were given visas by Aristides de Sousa Mendes in the spring of 1940. Sousa Mendes, the Portuguese consul stationed in Bordeaux, France, rescued an estimated 30,000 people, about 10,000 of them Jews, from the Holocaust, according to the Foundation. He did so by giving refugees visas to Portugal in contravention of a document called “Circular 14” issued by the Portuguese government to its consular corps that contained strict orders not to do so. As a result, he was put on trial by the Portuguese government and harshly punished. To share any knowledge about visa recipients or their families, please contact or visit the foundation's website at The site includes a list of known recipients.

Latest FamilySearch Indexes and Browsable Images
FamilySearch has added tens of millions of index records and browsable images in the past month. They were identified in a number of news releases. Below are those deemed relevant to Jewish family history research.

Batch 1. The complete list can be found at
Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900–1965. Added indexes and images to existing collection.
Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul, Civil Registration, 1890–1980. Added images to existing collection.
Canada, British Columbia, Wills, 1861–1981. New browsable image collection.
Canada, Saskatchewan, Probate Estate Files, 1887–1931. Added images to existing collection.
Czech Republic, Censuses, 1843–1921. Added images to existing collection.
Estonia, Population Registers, 1918–1944. Added images to existing collection.
Hungary, Civil Registration, 1895–1980. Added images to existing collection.
Ireland, Prison Registers, 1790–1924. New indexes and browsable images.
Netherlands, Limburg Province, Certificates of Nationality, 1860–1913. New browsable image collection.
New Zealand, Immigration Passenger Lists, 1855–1973. Added indexes to existing collection.
Slovakia, Census, 1869. New image collection.
Switzerland, Bern, Civil Registration, 1792–1876. New image collection.
United States, Alabama, County Probate Records, 1830–1976. Added images to existing collection.
United States, Arkansas, Second Registration Draft Cards, 1948–1959. Added indexes and images to existing collection.
United States, Maryland, Baltimore Passenger Lists, 1820–1948. New image collection.
United States, Maryland, Register of Wills Books, 1629–1983. Added images to existing collection.
United States, Michigan, Probate Records, 1797–1973. New image collection.
United States, Nevada, County Marriages, 1862–1993. New image collection.
United States, New Jersey, State Census, 1905. New Indexed collection.
United States, New York State Census, 1915. New indexes and images.
United States, New York State Census, 1925. New indexes and images.
United States, New York, County Naturalization Records, 1791–1980. Added images to existing collection.
United States, New York, Probate Records, 1629–1971. Added images to existing collection.
United States, Ohio, County Naturalization Records, 1800–1977. New image collection.
United States, Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885–1950. Added indexes and images to existing collection.
United States, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860–1906. Added indexes and images to existing collection.
United States, Pennsylvania, Probate Records, 1683–1994. New image collection.
United States, Texas, Divorce Index, 1968–2010 3,599,300. Indexed collection.
United States, Texas, Marriages, 1966–2010 7,606,159. Indexed collection.
United States, Vermont, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1732–2005. New image collection.
United States, Washington, County Marriages, 1855–2008. Added images to existing collection.
United States, World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938–1946. New Indexed collection.
United States, World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942. Added indexes and images to existing collection.

Batch 2. No complete list could be found on the Internet
Canada, Ontario Marriages, 1869–1927. Added indexes to existing collection.
Canada, Saskatchewan, Probate Estate Files, 1887–1931. Added indexes to existing collection.
Scotland Census, 1881. New indexes.
Scotland Census, 1891. New indexes.

Batch 3. No complete list could be found on the Internet
Austria, Vienna Population Cards, 1850–1896. Added indexes to existing collection.
BillionGraves Index. Added indexes and image links to existing collection.
South Africa, Orange Free State, Estate Files, 1951–2004. Added images to existing collection.
United States, Indiana, Marriages, 1811–1959 (Jennings county). Added indexes to existing collection.
United States, Nevada, County Birth and Death Records, 1871–1992. New image collection.
United States, New York, Orange County Probate Records, 1787–1938. Added images to existing collection.
United States, Texas, Deaths, 1977–1986. Added indexes to existing collection.

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