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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 14, Number 19 | May 14, 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
As of this past Sunday morning, there wasn’t much worth publishing in a regular edition of Nu? What’s New?, but two items in the past few days have provided the motivation to produce this issue.

Jan Meisels Allen Wins NGS President’s Citation
The National Genealogical Society has awarded its President’s Citation to Jan Meisels Allen, vice president of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies. The citation is given in recognition of outstanding, continuing, or unusual contributions to the field of genealogy or to the society. The National Genealogical Society President selects the recipient.

In presenting the award it was noted, “Jan has been a key leader of the Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC), a joint committee of NGS, Federation of Genealogical Societies, and International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies. Over the last few years she has tracked legislation that may impact genealogists’ access to the Social Security Death Index in the U.S. Congress and access to vital records in many states. She is relentless in writing statements appropriate to House and Senate committee chairs as well as governors and state representatives advocating open records access. She is a dynamo on RPAC as the voting member representing IAJGS. She doggedly finds bills being proposed that affect records access and brings them to the attention of RPAC, and thus the genealogical community. She has served in many roles, including vice president, IAJGS; president, Jewish Genealogical Society of Conejo Valley and Ventura County; and board member, Friends of the Agoura Hills Library. Jan received the President's Citation for her vigilance in support of records preservation and in defense of public access to public records.”

FamilySearch Additions for the Week Include Records Significant for Jewish Research
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 BillionGraves, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Italy, Peru, Sweden, Venezuela and the U.S. states of Maryland, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington.

Many of the additions are useful for Jewish family history research including:
   • 1.7 million index records and images for Michigan deaths, 1921–1952
   • 2.2 million images of New York, Southern District, U.S District Court Naturalization Records, 1824–1946
   • 231,000 index records for Pennsylvania, Eastern District Naturalization Indexes, 1795–1952
   • 1.1 million index records for Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger List Index Cards, 1883–1948, plus an additional 19,000 images.

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.

To submit a Page of Testimony, go to Click the words “Submit Pages of Testimony (online).”

Join the ranks of Yad Vashem’s worldwide network of volunteers working in one-on-one outreach efforts with Holocaust survivors and members of their generation to recover the names of Shoah victims before they are lost forever. For ideas and resources on how to launch a names recovery campaign in your area, visit Yad Vashem’s Community Outreach Guide for updated program information on the project in Israel and in Russian speaking Jewish communities around the world.

Yad Vashem has provided a 10-minute Pages of Testimony tutorial video at the site to learn how to help survivors and others from their generation to fill out Pages of Testimony. To volunteer for the project or for more information contact
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