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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 14, Number 30 | July 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
No Issue of Nu? What’s New? Next Week
There will be no issue of Nu? What’s New? next Sunday. We will be attending the 33rd IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy being held at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel from August 4–9.

News From JewishGen: JOWBR Reaches Two Million Records, New Memorial Plaque Database
The JewishGen's Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) database now exceeds two million records. It is a database of names and other identifying information from Jewish cemeteries and burial records throughout the world. The burial records may include a picture of the gravestone. JOWBR actually is a compilation of two linked databases: a database of burial records and a database of information about each particular cemetery. Recent additions include 20,000 records from 140 German cemeteries. Information about JOWBR is at

JewishGen has launched its Memorial Plaque Project (MPP) with 30,000 records located at The MPP database includes data from plaques and yizkor lists from synagogues and other organizations. In the case of plaques, a photograph of the actual image is included. Many of these sources include patronymic information.

Watch the Conference From Your Home Through Video Streaming
It is unfortunate that some people do not attend the annual International Conference on Jewish Genealogy for a simple reason: costs. In addition to registration costs, there are travel costs, meals and accommodations. Through the efforts of IAJGS, FamilySearch and the generosity of Harvey Krueger, 50 sessions of the conference over five days can be viewed in real time anywhere in the world via an Internet connection to a computer or tablet or smartphone. It is being called “IAJGS Conference LIVE!”

Sessions will also be available for playback for three months after the conference. Handouts, where provided by the speaker, will be available via download. LIVE! participants will be able to ask questions of the speakers and panelists via Twitter. The cost to participate is either a daily fee ($49 one day or $96 two days)or $139 for the entire five days of sessions.

Information and registration can be found at

Historical Newspaper Collection. For one day only, Tuesday, August 6, the digitized historical newspaper collection of ProQuest and the Gale Group will be available in the Resource Room of the conference. This collection is primarily available in libraries, and many of them do not offer the complete collection. A list of newspapers and years of publication in the collection is at The list includes a number of Jewish newspapers.

Resource Room. If you are attending the conference, be sure to look at the enormous collection of books, online databases, translation services (by appointment) and consultations that exist in the Resource Room. It is all described at

General Information. More than 1,000 people from 17 countries will attend this year’s conference. The website is at

Reminder: Major Discounts on Avotaynu Books at Conference
Avotaynu will be offering up to 45% discounts on all its major works at the Boston conference only. The offer is not available on the Internet. You must place the order at the conference. The prices shown are without shipping costs added.
   Where Once We Walked $85.00 $49.00
   Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy $85.00 $49.00
   Dictionary of Ashkenazic Given Names $85.00 $49.00
   Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Russian Empire $118.00 $69.00
   Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Galicia $85.00 $49.00
   Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Kingdom of Poland $69.50 $49.00
   Dictionary of German Jewish Surnames $89.00 $49.00
   The Lurie Legacy $85.00 $49.00 Eliyahu’s Branches $69.50 $49.00
   German Name-Change Gazetteer $89.00 $49.00

Place Orders Now. Avotaynu will be selling more than 50 books at the conference. In many cases, we will have only one copy of a book and will ship to you, free of charge within the U.S., any books you purchase if your order is more than $50.00. (If below $55.00, shipping and handling will be charged.) If you plan to buy books and prefer taking them with you, e-mail your order to us by August 1 at We will bring an extra copy and reserve it for you. If you live outside the U.S., send your order now to the above e-mail address. We will reserve copies of the books you wish. You will save time and shipping costs by taking the books with you. Shipping costs to places outside the United States are very high so there will be a substantial savings. A complete list of our books can be found at

There will be many books sold, some with prices as low as $12.99. We will be selling out our stock of maps, and we will not be restocking them.

General Conference Discount Offer. Buy $55.00 worth of books at the conference and we will ship anywhere in the U.S. at no charge.

72,000 Berlin Restitution Office Case File Records Now Available Online
Information about 72,000 applications for restitution through the Berlin Restitution Office is now online at The latest extraction is only for claimants whose names start with the letters A and C to F. Known as WGA files (Wiedergutmachung ämter or Restitution Office) they are held at the Berlin State Archives. It is estimated there are 800,000 case files in the collection.

Information provided online includes claimant’s name and address; (in the case of married women, her maiden name is included); who the claim is against (invariably the German government); name of injured party, that is, person whose property was seized; nature of the property; and file number.

Details about the project is at

JDC Istanbul Office Collection 1937–1949 Now Online
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) Archives Istanbul Collection, documenting JDC’s life-saving work from Turkey during and after World War II, is now available online. This collection, housed in the Jerusalem office of the JDC Archives, comprises over 47,000 pages on 14 microfilm reels. The records testify to JDC’s efforts to move the planning of rescue and relief operations to neutral countries such as Turkey. Turkey was strategically located at the crossroads of war-torn Europe and the nascent Jewish state in Palestine. In addition, these records highlight the Istanbul office’s partnership with other relief organizations, such as the Jewish Agency, the U.S. War Refugee Board, and the International Red Cross in rescue operations and in large-scale enterprises to identify and locate survivors during and after the war.

Information about the project is at I had difficulty using the search engine with Firefox and switched to Internet Explorer.

Oldest Inland European Fort Found in Appalachians Was Occupied By Crypto-Jews
Archeologists have discovered the remains of the earliest fort occupied by Europeans that is in the interior of today’s continental United States. A rarely noted fact is that the colonists almost certainly contained a large number of crypto-Jews. The colony was under the leadership of Spanish Captain Juan Pardo—Pardo is a Jewish surname. They built Fort San Juan in the Appalachian Mountains in 1567 having established the colony of Santa Elena on the coast of what today is South Carolina a year earlier. Surnames of the colonists included Braganza, Castillo, Chavez, Gallegos, Gomez, Lopez, Martin, Molina, Moreno, Navarro, Peres, Rivera and Zamora—all Spanish-Jewish names. Information about the discovery can be found at

The expulsion of Jews from Spain occurred in 1492, just 74 years before the establishment of Santa Elena. Many Jews fled to the Spanish colonies of the Western Hemisphere to avoid the Inquisition.

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 
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 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

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