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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 14, Number 18 | May 5, 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
MyHeritage Now Has U.S. Censuses Online
Add to the list of major genealogy sites that have indexes and images of the U.S. censuses 1790–1930, some 520 million entries. These records will be automatically matched against family trees subscribers place on the site.

It is always useful to have more than one site extract the same set of data, because errors occur in transcribing the information. Even the most conscientious extractor can make mistakes. In the 1940 census at the MyHeritage site, there is an entry for a Jacob Mokotoff born in Austria. Examining the census sheet shows that the census taker drew a line for the surname when it agreed with the head of the household. One line had the surname “Hofling” with a line through the surname. The extractor interpreted this as meaning the census taker wrote the name Hofling and then crossed it out meaning that Jacob had the surname of the head of the household: Charles Mokotoff. In truth, the census taker initially drew the line to indicate that Jacob had the same surname as the head of the household, but then, when informed his surname was Hofling, the census taker overwrote the crossed line with the correct surname. Interestingly,, FamilySearch and Findmypast got it right; the person was named Jacob Hofling. boasts it is the only genealogy site that provides information in 40 different languages. A summary of any census record can be viewed free of charge and users can choose between pay-as-you-go credits or a data subscription for full unlimited access to all historical content, including the images of the original census pages. The site is at

Legacy Family Tree Has Webinars
Legacy Family Tree now has archived more that 100 genealogy webinars. Examples of lectures of general interest are:
   • Evidence: Guidelines for Evaluating Genealogical Evidence
   • Online Genealogy: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
   • Use Your Digital Camera To Copy Records
   • DNA Research for Genealogists: Beyond the Basics
   • Blogs: Easy-to-Make Web Pages

Examples of specific interest are:
   • Best Internet Resources for East European Genealogy
   • Researching Your Canadian Ancestors - an Overview
   • Researching Your German Ancestors

The webinars are at no charge when they are initially aired and for a short period thereafter. Then they are archived and are available for a subscription of $9.95/month or $49.95/year. Additional information, including a complete list of topics, can be found at It includes a complete list of archived webinars as well as those planned for the future.

Spring Issue of AVOTAYNU
The Spring issue of AVOTAYNU will go to the printer this coming week. It is the typical 68-pages. There is a report that the Ukraine Special Interest Group plans to re-index the Ellis Island Database, this time by town of origin. AVOTAYNU editor Sallyann Amdur Sack-Pikus reports on her annual trip to Israel. There is new leadership at two major institutions important to Jewish genealogy: Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People and International Institute for Jewish Genealogy. There is a four-page article on the history and future plans of the Jewish Records Indexing – Poland project. The project boasts that its 5 million-plus index makes it the largest online database of Jewish vital records.

Possibly the most unusual article is an 18-page description of how a Certified Genealogist used indirect evidence and linguistic analysis to demonstrate that records of four distinct names refer to the same woman. What is unusual is that the article is seven pages and the remaining 11 are the 165 footnotes that support the research. Overkill on the footnotes? No. To certified genealogists, it is considered proper documentation.

All told, there are 13 articles plus the usual columns of “From Our Contributing Editors,” “U.S. Update,” “Ask the Experts,” “Book Reviews” and “From Our Mailbox.”

The Table of Contents for the Spring issue can be found at If you have not yet resubscribed to AVOTAYNU or want to enter a new subscription, do so at

Connecticut May Enact Legislation to Limit Death Record Access
The State of Connecticut has had free access to death records. Now, because of out-of-state press requests for the death records of the children that were murdered at the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, the state’s legislature is considering restricting access to death certificates. Jan Meisels Allen, chairperson of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee, reports one proposed law would close all death records to everyone for 100 years from date of issuance. Another would close the death records of all minors under the age of 18 for six-months after a death. A more descriptive version of the possible laws and their impact on family history research can be found at Adds New Collections, the American branch of, has added more than 23 million new records and 121 million pages of U.S. and world newspapers to its collection of historical records. Among the U.S. records they list are Connecticut deaths, Montana deaths, Ohio birth/marriage/deaths, Veteran grave sites and WWII enlistment records. It is unclear whether these are indexes or the actual records themselves, and no date ranges are given. There are numerous UK collections added including Courts, Crimes and Convicts; Manchester Naturalization Society, 1896–1909; Cheshire Electoral Registers.

A version of the announcement, including a complete list of additional record collections, is at

FamilySearch Additions for the Week
Recent additions to FamilySearch, both indexes and browseable images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Austria, Brazil, China, Italy, New Zealand, Poland, Ukraine and the U.S. states of Indiana, North Carolina and Ohio. Added indexes include Brazil, Civil Registration, 1870–2012; and Indiana, Marriages, 1811–1959.

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.

Avotaynu Anthology of Jewish Genealogy
 All back issues of our journal AVOTAYNU from 1985–2011

    • 27 years   • 105 issues   2,900 articles  • 7,000 pages 
 Google Custom Search engine
 Download or print articles

 Cost is $35 (one-time charge).

 Additional information at

Number of articles in Anthology by topic:

Algeria 8
Argentina 21
Australia 36
Austria 17
Austro-Hungary 7**
Belarus* 26
Belgium 24
Bermuda 1
Book Reviews 289
Brazil 25
Bulgaria 5
Burma 1
Canada 94
Caribbean 9
Cuba 3

China 10

Computers 21
Conferences 52
Costa Rica 1
Croatia 3
Cyprus 1
Czech Republic 33
Denmark 2
DNA 25
East Europe– Gen’l
Egypt 11
England 125
Estonia* 5
Europe-General 25
Finland 1

France 102
Galicia 20
General 233
Germany 173
Gibraltar 1
Greece 12
Holland 83
Holocaust 177
Hungary 46
India 6
Iraq 3
Iran 5
Ireland 2
Israel 125
Italy 14 
Latvia* 26

LDS 29
Libya 1
Lithuania* 71
Methodology 84
Moldova* 5
Morocco 18
New Zealand 13
North Africa 2
Poland 118
Portugal 21
Rabbinic 57
Romania 33
Russia 46** 
Scotland 27
Sephardic 42
Serbia 2

Slovakia 1
South Africa 22
South America 1
Spain 13
Sudan 1
Sweden 5
Switzerland 27
Syria 3
Tunisia 3
Turkey 22
Ukraine* 57
United States   227
USSR 92**
Venezuela 1
Zimbabwe 1

Nu? What's New? is published weekly by Avotaynu, Inc.
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