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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 14, Number 32 | August 18, 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 Has Soundex and Phonetic Search Capability
At the recent IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, I discovered that has the ability to do soundex and phonetic searches. This can be very useful when you do not know the exact spelling of a name or the data being searched has the name spelled phonetically. On the home page, click the link to “Show Advanced.” On the new page, click either drop-down menu under the Name boxes that says “Restrict to exact.” Then check off either or both boxes marked “Soundex matches” or “Phonetic matches.”

There are actually two versions of soundex matches. Merely checking off the box will cause the search engine to use the original soundex system that is sometimes called the Russell or American system. If you open the “Collection Priority” drop-down menu toward the bottom of the page and check off “Jewish,” it will use the Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex System. This second option does not cause only Jewish records to be searched—all record collections are searched.
The form of phonetic matching is not known. It appears not to be the Beider-Morse Phonetic Matching System used by JewishGen.

Family History Books Collection of FamilySearch Now Reaches 100,000 Books
FamilySearch has announced a milestone in its collection of “Family History Books”—100,000 books have now been scanned by the partnership of the Family History Library, Allen County Public Library, and several other important family history libraries in the world. These books are online and available to search and use on the website at The majority of the books online are family histories, with a smaller portion made up of cemetery records, local and county histories, genealogy magazines, and how-to-books, gazetteers, and medieval histories and pedigrees.

Many of the online books may only be accessible at the Family History Library, a Family History Center, or one of the listed partner libraries due to copyright restrictions. For example, more than 20 years ago I submitted my research in a book titled The Family Mokotow. FamilySearch has never asked my permission to make it available online, so the book is subject to the restriction.
Libraries participating in the project include Allen County Public Library, Brigham Young University Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University Hawaii Joseph F. Smith Library, LDS Church History Library, Family History Library, Houston Public Library, Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research, Mid-Continent Public Library - Midwest Genealogy Center

Why the 1921 Canadian Census Was Delayed
The 1921 census of Canada was supposed to be released on June 1. As reported in the last issue of Nu? What’s New? it is now available at’s Canadian site Recent reports claim that the reason for the delay and the partnership with is that Library and Archives Canada, owner of the census, concluded they did not have the resources to place the entire census on the Internet—some 8.8 million records.

Browsing the 1921 census requires an subscription that allows access to Canadian records or there is a limited time free offer. One report claims the census images will always be free to Canadian residents. The census is located at Since the collection is the actual census records without an index, it is necessary to know the street address where the person lived. An index is expected later this year. The index will be available only to subscribers that have access to Canadian records.

This is not the only collaborative arrangement between Library and Archives Canada and An extensive description of the agreement between the two organizations is at

Article About Ellis Island Experience
There is an interesting article about Ellis Island just published by Genealogy in Time magazine at It includes statistics about how many people came through the Port of New York compared to other cities (75% of immigrants in 1903 came through Ellis Island). It dismisses the idea that names were changed at Ellis Island and offers a number of theories why your ancestor’s name on the ship manifest might be wrong and strategies of how to locate the record.

An interesting sidelight is how the immigrant answered the questions, Are you a communist, anarchist or bigamist?” If he answered “yes,” he was sent back to the Old Country. If he answered “no” he was under suspicion because the majority of immigrants, the article claims, did not understand the meaning of communist, anarchist or bigamist. The proper answer was “I do now know what these words mean.”

The article states that every immigrant had to walk up a number of flights of stairs at Ellis Island. Doctors were stationed around all sides and at the top to see if anyone had difficulty walking up the stairs. This was essentially a 10-second physical exam designed to filter out people with health issues.

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 England, New Zealand, Sweden and the U.S. states of Arkansas and Maryland. Included is an addition of more than 2.6 million records to its index of passenger lists for New Zealand 1855–1973.

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 in the announcement are the number added, not the total number available in the collection.

This is JewishGen Video on Youtube
JewishGen has created a video about the organization, its leaders and how JewishGen can help people research their roots. It is at

MyHeritage Encouraging Posting Family Photos Online
MyHeritage is encouraging people who have family trees at their website to add photos to the trees. They commented that photos capture the essence of people, places, and things and are among the most desirable of family history treasures. The company claims they now have more than 1 billion records in their family tree database. Maureen Taylor, who calls herself the "Photo Detective,” will be sharing tips for understanding photos through a video, a webinar, and other resources. Information about the project is at

List of Holocaust Museums Throughout the World
A list of Holocaust museums throughout the world can be found at

Turn-of-the-Century Odessa Directories Now Online
Odessa address and business directories (Vsia Odessa) for 1899, 1900, 1901, 1902/1903, 1904, 1906, 1908, 1910, 1911, and 1914 are now searchable at Search results link to scans of the directories on the Russian State Library website.

These directories are written in Cyrillic, but can be searched with either Cyrillic or Latin letters. If you enter a Latin word and leave the default "Add Latin -> Cyrillic" search option selected, possible Cyrillic transliterations and their gendered forms will be matched.

Multi-word searches other than Boolean OR (see will not work with transliteration, so a complex search should be done with Cyrillic letters. The * wildcard can be used at the beginning, end, or beginning and end to match zero or more characters, and is compatible with transliteration. For more information about transliteration, see

By default, searches include all sources on the site. To restrict searches to sources with coverage limited to Odessa only, change the "Any Place" option below the search box to "Odessa" (scroll down, near the bottom, under "Ukraine"). Separately, to search directories covering the entire Russian Empire, change "Any Place" to "Multinational."

To browse these directories rather than search them, there are links to the Russian State Library's scans 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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