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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 14, Number 33 | August 25, 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
Diane C. Loosle Appointed Director of Family History Library
In the early 1980s, on one of my first trips to Salt Lake City, I met a Mormon woman who has just started a genealogy research business. I recall her mentioning it was an unusual event because the Church felt that women should focus on their family and not be business entrepreneurs. Since then many Mormon women have become professional genealogists, some even own companies who employ professional genealogists.

Now the Mormon Church has performed the unusual act of appointing a woman to an important position. Diane C. Loosle is the new director of its prestigious Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Loosle is a 19-year veteran of FamilySearch, a professional genealogist, experienced research consultant, patron services specialist, and business leader. She is both a Certified Genealogist and an Accredited Genealogist with emphasis on English family history. Loosle says a top priority for her as director of the Library will be to study the role of the Family History Library and 4,700 satellite branches worldwide—Family History Centers—and how to make them discovery centers for people of all ages, not just a research facility.

Her specific goals in 2013–14 are:
   • Become more family and youth oriented through providing interactive, discovery experiences.
   • Enhance the services of the library through new collaborative research areas and better access to research staff.
   • Engage more patrons from the geographic community surrounding the library.

The complete announcement is at

New Announcements from FamilySearch
Dick Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter reports that Paul Nauta, Manager of Public Affairs for FamilySearch, gave a brief presentation on “Where FamilySearch Is and Where It Is Going” at the recently concluded annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies.
   • Almost 3 billion names are now online at with approximately 1.7 million being added every day.
   • FamilySearch now has 237 camera teams in locations throughout the world. The plan is to expand that number to 500 within the next few months.
   • 950 million names are now online in the new Online Family Tree with about 42,000 more names being added every day.
   • 700,000 patron-submitted family photographs are now online with about 5,000 being added daily.
   • FamilySearch is going to start Family History Discover Centers, first in high traffic locations in metropolitan areas. Apparently their purpose is to invite the public to understand the wonderful world of family history. There will be audio and video studios that will permit people to describe their life experiences and record them for posterity.
   • A new service was announced. You will soon be able to take your old family photographs to a local Family History Center and use a high-speed scanner to digitize stacks of photos.
   • Many of the sessions at RootsTech 2014 will be available in 10 languages via live streaming in 60 satellite locations around the world. It is expected that 120,000 remote attendees will take advantage of this service. The conference will be held from February 6–8, 2014, at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.

You can read more at Eastman’s site:

Summer Issue of AVOTAYNU
The Summer issue of AVOTAYNU will go to the printer this week. Keeping up with the latest trends in family history research, the leading two articles are about collaborative genealogy, the concept of allowing a number of different people to work together on one connected tree. It is epitomized by The Summer issue also includes yet another article about DNA research.

Articles about resources published in the past in AVOTAYNU have given illustrations of some of these resources. With this issue, an item titled “New Sources for Jewish Genealogists in Polish Archives” has 23 illustrations, one for each resource described. Some of the other articles cover post-war resources at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum; and the geographic areas of Algeria, Germany, Lithuania and Minsk guberniya. This plus the usual columns from our Contributing Editors, U.S. Update, Ask the Experts, Book Reviews and From Our Mailbox.

The Table of Contents for the issue is at You can subscribe to AVOATYNU at

New Database on Medieval Spanish Jewish Surnames
A major new database of medieval Spanish Jewish surnames that have survived into the current Diaspora now exists at

Crowning 25 years of creating databases for Jewish genealogists, Mathilde Tagger has labored for six years, searching through 138 books and some 600 periodicals in multiple repositories to create a database of “documented” Jewish surnames in medieval Spain that have survived as surnames into the present. The new database consists of 20,526 citations for 12,134 unique name spellings and provides sources for the information.

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 Chile, Honduras and Jamaica. Additions to the U.S. collection include added index records to New Orleans and New York Passenger Lists and added images to the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, naturalization index.

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.

Library of Congress Has Webcast About Ethiopian Jewry
The U.S. Library of Congress has prepared a webcast about the historical background of the Beta Israel (Ethiopian Jewish) community, their journey to and rescue by the State of Israel, their acclimation to a dramatically different country, and ultimately their current progress and efforts to acquire higher education. It can be seen at It requires the RealPlayer viewer.

Museum of Family History's Great Artists Series
The Museum of Family History, located at, has a Great Artists Series which now includes operatic singer Richard Tucker, vaudevillian Al
Jolson, Yiddish actor Maurice Schwartz, Yiddish playwright David Pinski, and artist Max Weber.

For example, the Richard Tucker exhibition includes recordings of four of his arias and librettos of others, information about his early career (including a photo of him in cantorial garb, as he was also a cantor), his home life, and his dedication to the State of Israel.

You can view the Great Artists Series at

NARA To Host Genealogy Fair
The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) will host its first online Genealogy Fair on September 3–4. This two-day program will showcase tips and techniques for using Federal records at the National Archives for genealogy research. There will be a Genealogy Help Line during the Fair that will permit listeners to call in with questions. It will be available from 1–4 p.m. Eastern Time on the two days at a special hotline: 202-357-5420.

The announcement and complete program can be found at

New Book: Tracing Your Eastern European Ancestors
An inexpensive book titled Tracing Your Eastern European Ancestors has been published by a company called Internet Genealogy. The book is 84-pages and costs $9.95 + $4.50 shipping.

The issue includes: Ten Ways to Jumpstart Your Research, Top Sites for Polish Research, Eastern European Maps, Getting Started on Your Czech Research, Online Sources for Slovak Genealogy, Hungarian Research (including online resources, censuses and directories), Russian Research and Ukrainian Research. There is also additional material covering Eastern European Genealogical Societies,’s Record Match technology and more. There is a chapter titled “Explore JRI-Poland.”

Strangely, there are no authors given. It is most likely that each chapter is written by a different author who specializes in the subject. You can read the contents at

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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