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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 14, Number 17 | April 28, 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
PBS Planning Genealogy Roadshow
The American Public Broadcasting System (PBS) is planning a new program, Genealogy Roadshow, and has issued a casting call for people who want to participate either as professional genealogists or as subjects with family history problems. The producers are looking for local on-camera genealogists in the following cities: Nashville, Tennessee; San Francisco, California; Austin, Texas; and Detroit, Michigan. Interested persons should write to the producer at

No doubt the idea came from the popular Antiques Roadshow that has existed for a number of years. A comparable program already exists in Ireland.

Book: Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case
One of the most prominent American genealogists (top 10, perhaps top 5) is Christine Rose, CG, CGL, FASG (Certified Genealogist, Certified Genealogical Lecturer, Fellow American Society of Genealogists). She has written a book, Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case, that describes the Genealogical Proof Standard, which is the standard set by the genealogical field to build a solid case, especially when there is no direct evidence providing an answer or when there are conflicts in the evidence. The book is 72 pages, only costs $9.95 plus shipping, and can be bought online at

Tours Available During Boston Conference
Boston is a great tourist city and for those family members joining you who do not share your passion for family history research, there are a number of excellent tours planned for the Boston area. Also, if you want a break from the intensity of the conference, you might consider one of the tours. They include:
   • Touro Synagogue and Old Jewish Newport
   • Walking Tour of Boston's Old South End
   • Excursion to Pucker Gallery
   • Walking Tour of Boston's Old North End
   • Walking Tour of Boston's Old West End
   • Yiddish Book Center, Amherst, MA

Additional information is at You cannot sign up yet for optional fee-based events such as tours; however it is expected that function will be working in mid-May.

Reminder: April 30 is the deadline for early-bird registration at a discount. Save $40 per registrant if you sign up by then. Register at

Geni Now Has Smart Matching and Record Matching
In November 2012, Geni was acquired by MyHeritage, and now, only five months later, it is reaping the benefits of the technological abilities of their parent company. now has Smart Matching and Records Matching, which has existed at for some time.

Smart Matching automatically finds matches for family trees on among billions of family tree profiles on MyHeritage. Record Matching compares the profiles in a family tree to billions of historical records in MyHeritage's online digital archive. Once a record is confirmed and added to the family tree, sources and citations are automatically created, allowing users to view information in the right context.

A version of the complete announcement is at

European Equivalent of Digital Public Library of America
Gershon Lehrer of Belgium notes that there is a European equivalent to Digital Public Library of America called Europeana located at Because the contents of this online library is in multiple languages, locating items for a specific topic may require more than one search. Searching for “Jood” (“Jew” in Dutch) produces different results than “Jude” (“Jew” in German).

A Little Lesson In Copyright Law
If you make a copy of some work whose copyright has expired, you own the copyright to your version of the work. An example is the Jewish Encyclopedia of 1906. It is online at If you search for “Theodore Herzl” there is a picture of the Zionist leader with the notation “©”

Suppose you wanted to use that picture of Herzl. You could not copy it from the Internet site without violating’s copyright. If you went to a library that had a copy of the 12-volume work and made your own copy, you would not violate the copyright. That is exactly what Avotaynu did when it published Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy. We used many illustrations from a copy of the Jewish Encyclopedia that is owned by Avotaynu co-owner Sallyann Amdur Sack-Pikus.

Recently the National Library of Wales announced a decision in relation to its digitized collections by declaring that it will no longer claim copyright ownership of digital copies of items in its care. This includes many historical documents as well as their “Welsh Newspapers Online,” the Library’s largest digitization project to date.

FamilySearch Additions for the Week
Recent additions to FamilySearch, all browseable images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Australia, England, Italy, Philippines, Spain and the U.S. States of Missouri, Ohio and South Dakota. The Missouri and Ohio images are indexes to naturalization records.

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.

Jewish Genealogical Society of South Africa Reborn
The Jewish Genealogical Society of South Africa, which ceased operation about five years ago, has been formed once again. It does not have a website yet, but there is a newsletter named Yichus (pedigree). IAJGS reports that their first meeting had 75-80 attendees. People living in South Africa or with roots in the country can contact the society’s chairman, Mo Skikne at Jewish genealogical societies not only provide a place to learn and network for local members, but also will provide basic assistance to people with roots in their locale. A complete list of members of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies is at

Fold3 Adds Index to War Dead Buried Outside U.S.
Fold3 has added 242,000 records from the American Battle Monument Commission to accompany those of the Foreign Burial of American War Dead already on the site. The American Battle Monument Commission commemorates the service, achievements, and sacrifice of U.S. Armed Forces through 24 overseas military cemeteries, 25 memorials, monuments, and markers. The cemeteries and memorials honor those who served in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War.

Results include service information, dates of birth and death, notes relating to the circumstances of death, burial or memorial location, status, and awards received. The databases can be searched at

Poznan Region Vital Records Being Indexed
The Wielkopolskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne (Wielkopolska Genealogical Society), by agreement with the State Archives in Poznan, has launched a project to transcribe and index the scans of vital records which have been placed online by the Polish National Archives. Nearly 850,000 records have been indexed to date. Most of the indexing is of Catholic parish registers, but some are identified as “Registry Office” which likely include Jewish families.

The search engine appears to use a fuzzy search algorithm. Searching for Wolfowicz, produced results for Wollowicz and Walnowicz. There were no records for the common Jewish surname Wolfowicz, which may demonstrate the lack of Jewish records indexed. Searching for “Kaplan” produced a Hirsh Leib, Tobias and Simon in the town of Miloslaw.

The site is at

Wanted: A Home for 500 Books
In the past 30 years, I have accumulated an extensive library of books—more than 500—primarily on the subjects of Jewish history, Holocaust and genealogy. I am now looking for a permanent home for my library. The ideal place would be a Jewish Community Center or YMHA. If you know such an institution that would take my donation, write to me The collection does not include any books published by Avotaynu. The complete list, by topic, can be seen at

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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