Gary Mokotoff, Editor
Volume 14, Number 14 | April 7, 2013
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 http://www.avotaynu.com/nu.htm
The “Levy Test”
When searching large record collections on genealogy sites such as Ancestry.com or FamilySearch.org, if you can’t find information that should be there, read the description of the record collection to determine if they state that the indexing is complete. Alternately, submit the database to the “Levy Test.” Search for the name “Levy” (or some other common Jewish name) to determine the number of results. If the number is unusually small, then it is likely the index is incomplete and is a work-in-progress.
For example, Ancestry.com recently sent out a mailing indicating they had added a new record collection: “U.S., Alien Draft Registrations, Selected States, 1940–1946.” After searching for my family surnames and getting no hits, I searched for the surname “Levy” and there were only four hits, an unreasonably small amount. Locating a description of the database demonstrated that, at present, the selected states only include records from Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Source of Alternate Town Names
A recent posting to the JewishGen Discussion Group asked for the Yiddish pronunciation of the town of Plock, Poland. The JewishGen Communities Database at http://www.jewishgen.org/Communities/Search.asp has the Yiddish names of many towns as well as the names in other languages and historical times.
For example, it shows for the town of Plock, the Polish name is Plock (with a slash through the "l" making the pronunciation Pwotzk); Plotzk in Yiddish and Russian; Plozk in German; and Schröttersburg when the town was occupied by the Germans during Word War II. The name sometimes is spelled Plotsk.
The search engine will locate the town by searching any of these variant names.
Ancestry.ca Offering Free Access to Certain Military Collections
The Canadian branch of Ancestry.com, Ancestry.ca, is offering free access to certain of their military collections through April 9. Click on the record collection name to link to the site.
Canada, Soldiers of the First World War, 1914–1918
Canada, Nominal Rolls and Paylists for the Volunteer Militia, 1857–1922
Canada, Military Honours and Awards Citation Cards, 1900–1961
Canada, Selected Service Records of Soldiers, 1914–1918
Canada, Selected Service Records of War Dead, 1939–1945
Kitchener, Ontario German War Graves
You must register with your name and email address, and Ancestry.ca will send you a username and password.
FamilySearch Additions for the Week
Recent additions to FamilySearch, both indexes and browseable images, can be found at https://familysearch.org/node/2093. They include records from Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Czech Republic, India, Italy, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and the U.S. States of Illinois, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas.
More than 23.9 million indexed records and images have been added. Notable are 19 million images of World War I service records from the United Kingdom and 2 million items added to the index of the U.S. World War I Draft Registration collection. This index is now 86% complete. The index to New York Passenger and Crew Lists, 1925–1942, now has an additional one million records. Using the “Levy Test” described above, this collection appears to be complete 1925–beginning of 1928.
Note that at the website announced collections may not be complete for the dates specified and will be added at some later date. Also note that counts shown are the number added, not the total number available in the collection.
National Library of Israel and Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People Merge
Rose Feldman of the Israel Genealogy Research Association reports that the National Library of Israel (NLI) and the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People (CAHJP) have merged. CAHJP is the smaller institution, and its patrons will benefit from the enormous resources and equipment of the Library. NIL will benefit by making the unusual collection of the Archives part of its own collection. CAHJP has gone throughout the world identifying original documents of Jewish communities and bringing them to their archives. Sometimes the owners refuse to relinquish the documents and the Archives has a microfilm copy instead. They have more than 11 million frames of microfilm and 60 million pages of documents from 56 countries.
In 2004, Avotaynu Foundation, sister company to Avotaynu Inc, published Polish Resources at the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People, a 360-page book that covered only their Polish holdings. Information about the book is at http://www.avotaynu.com/books/cahjp.htm including a list of all towns identified. The inventory from the book has been updated through 2012 and is available at the CAHJP website as two PDF files: http://cahjp.huji.ac.il/webfm_send/1005 (Towns A-L) and http://cahjp.huji.ac.il/webfm_send/1006 (Town M-Z). “Poland” is defined as inter-war Poland: therefore, the inventory includes towns then in Poland, now in Belarus and Ukraine.
You can read Feldman’s report at https://www.facebook.com/israelgenealogy. Information about the National Library of Israel is at http://web.nli.org.il/sites/nli/english/Pages/default.aspx and the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People at http://cahjp.huji.ac.il/.
Austrian GenTeam Site Now Has 7.5 Million Records
With the recent addition of about 167,000 records, the Austrian site GenTeam.at now has 7.5 million records in their collection. Recent additions include:
Civil marriages of Graz and Salzburg 1870–1912
Jewish cemeteries of Innsbruck
Obituaries of Wiener Zeitung 1899–1938
Jewish grave stones of Austrian and Czech Cemeteries
GenTeam is an organization of volunteer genealogists and historians who produce databases on their own or as a part of a group, and who offer these databases to all researchers at no charge. In addition to the database, there is a Discussion Group for the countries of the former Austria-Hungarian Empire which now has more than 1,200 members. It is bilingual and moderated. Register at http://list.genteam.at/mailman/listinfo/austria. If the page is in German, get the English version by clicking the drop-down menu in the upper right corner to change “Deutsch” to “English (USA),” then click the button to its immediate left.
Genealogy In Time Online Magazine
Genealogy In Time an online magazine, has posted to their site a “Dictionary of Common Genealogy Words.” It is located at http://tinyurl.com/GenWords. They also have a list of First Name Abbreviations that can appear on documents. Most of the names are Anglo-Saxon names: Geo. for George, but not Ch. for Chaim. It is located at http://tinyurl.com/GFirstNames. Finally, of limited interest to Jewish genealogists is a Genealogy Latin Dictionary at http://tinyurl.com/LDictionary.
Latest App for Genealogy
Otter Creek Holdings recently launched its Legacy Mobile app. It allows you to take your FamilySearch Family Tree with you on your iPhone or iPad. It also allows you to add pictures and GPS locations to the life events of people on your family tree. Information is at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/legacy-mobile/id616755093?mt=8.
“Genealogy a Remedy for Family Amnesia”
The Belgian newspaper Le Soir recently had an article about the ever-growing popularity of genealogy. The title of the article intrigued me: “Genealogy a Remedy for Family Amnesia.”
Winners of AVOTAYNU Resubscribers Drawing
All persons whose AVOTAYNU subscription expired with the last issue of 2012 were extended a carrot to resubscribe. There would be a drawing of all resubscribers and three winners would be awarded any book Avotaynu publishes. Those who resubscribed for three years were given three opportunities; those for two years, two opportunities; and one-year resubscribers, one opportunity. The winners are: Darren King of Chicago, Louis Schonfeld of Ohio and Murray Goldwaser of Paris.
is published weekly
by Avotaynu, Inc.
Copyright 2013, Avotaynu, Inc. All rights reserved
To change an e-mail address, send a request to email@example.com
To subscribe to AVOTAYNU, The International Review of Jewish Genealogy, go to http://www.avotaynu.com/journal.htm
To order books from our catalog, go to http://www.avotaynu.com/catalog.htm
To contact us by postal mail, write: Avotaynu, Inc.; 155 N. Washington Ave.; Bergenfield, NJ 07621
Telephone (U.S.) : 201-387-7200