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

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
The “Levy Test”
When searching large record collections on genealogy sites such as or, 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, 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 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. Offering Free Access to Certain Military Collections
The Canadian branch of,, 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 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 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 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: (Towns A-L) and (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 Information about the National Library of Israel is at and the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People at

Austrian GenTeam Site Now Has 7.5 Million Records
With the recent addition of about 167,000 records, the Austrian site 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 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 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 Finally, of limited interest to Jewish genealogists is a Genealogy Latin Dictionary at

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

“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.

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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