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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 14, Number 43 | November 3, 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
European Union Delays Implementing Privacy Laws
European leaders at a meeting in Brussels have agreed to postpone until 2015 consideration of the conclusions of their European Union Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs to implement strong privacy laws. The whole matter has become an international issue with American companies lobbying against the rules, according to the New York Times, because it would affect business interests.

In general,  U.S. citizens lean toward the public’s right to know while Europeans are strong advocates that no information can be publicly displayed without the person’s approval—the “right to be forgotten.” My daughter was born in New Jersey and the public will not have access to her birth certificate for 80 years after her birth. The fact is that using the U.S. Public Records Index located at FamilySearch or, it is possible to get her birth date; from (and other sites), you can likely determine the names of her parents. There isn’t much more on a birth certificate except place of birth. This type of public access to personal information would not happen in a European country.

The New York Times article is at

ITS Sends Additional Correspondence Files to Member Nations
The International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen this week provided further digital copies of its records to seven partner organizations in Israel, U.S., Poland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium and Great Britain. They are 450,000 of a total of three million correspondence files (T/D files). The documents contain inquiries, letters and eye witness reports from people who were victims of Nazi persecution themselves or had family members that were. On the other hand, the inquiries of authorities for the purpose of compensation are also kept here.

ITS is a center for documentation, information and research about Nazi persecution. The archive comprises approximately 30 million documents about persons incarcerated in concentration camps, ghettos and Gestapo prisons and about forced labor and displaced persons. An international commission of eleven member states (Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Poland, Great Britain, U.S.) defines the guidelines for the work of the ITS. The German Federal Archive is the institutional partner.

Additional information can be found at

MyHeritage Adds 5.5 Million Gravestone and 3.5 Obituary Records
MyHeritage has licensed 5.5 million gravestone records from and 3.5 million obituaries from The company states their collection of gravestone records now exceeds 100 million. Other statistics provided state they now have more than 75 million registered members, 27 million family trees, 1.5 billion names on family trees and 200 million photos. The announcement can be found at gravestone-records-and-obituaries.

Avotaynu Business
Reminder: Human Interest Stories for Winter Issue. For the past 26 years, AVOTAYNU has devoted a portion of each Winter issue to genealogy human interest stories. Stories are typically about how genealogy affected people’s lives, whether it is the researcher or the people they are researching. Deadline for submission this year is December 1, 2013. If you would like to share such a story with AVOTAYNU subscribers, submit it by e-mail to

Reminder: New Family Histories in Print. The Winter issue of AVOTAYNU also lists Jewish genealogical family histories that have been published in the preceding 12 months. Books published earlier are also eligible for inclusion if they have not been previously reported. The format to follow is: author; title of book; years covered; brief description, including family names researched; libraries in which book has been deposited; price and ordering information. Deadline for inclusion is December 15, 2013. Send submissions to

A Chanukah Present to Nu? What’s New? Readers. Until Erev Chanukah (November 27), the items we offer—BOOKS ONLY—are available at a discount according to the following schedule:
   • Purchases more than $50 – 10% discount
   • Purchases more than $200 – 15% discount
   • Purchases more than $300 – 20% discount

When you check out, just use the Discount Code SPECIAL and enjoy the benefits. Order now!

The offer will be discontinued at end of day November 27, 2013. Remember, the discount does not apply to subscriptions to our journal, AVOTAYNU, Nu? What’s New?, or a subscription for online access to Avotaynu Anthology of Jewish Genealogy—which consists of all back issues of AVOTAYNU from 1985–2011 including a Google Custom Search engine. View our more than 50 books 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. Included are records from Brazil, Canada, England, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, and the U.S. states of Indiana, Louisiana and North Carolina.

Notable collection updates include the 1,227,603 indexed records from the new 1911 Canada Census; 949,214 indexed records and images from the Brazil Immigration Cards (1900–1965) collection; and 132,330,416 indexed records from the United States Public Records 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, which can be greater. Indexes 1921 Canadian Census has indexed the 1921 Canadian Census. It contains 8.8 million records. The census was originally placed on the site as a browseable database last August prior to the index being made available.

GenTeam Adds Viennese Vital Records to Their Online Database
GenTeam, located at, has added approximately 482,000 additional records to their site including 180,000 new records for the Jewish community of Vienna. They include marriages and deaths 1913–1938 and births 1826–1913. Jewish marriages and deaths 1826–1912 were previously included in the database. Also added are 45,000 entries for house owners of the county of Salzburg in 1829. Their database now includes more than 8 million entries.

Burials at New Haven (Connecticut) Cemeteries Now Online
More than 26,000 burials in 49 Jewish burial grounds in the New Haven, Connecticut, area are now online at as the “New Haven Jewish Cemetery Database.” It is the brainchild of Rabbi Eliezer Greer of that city. The site also includes a list of all the cemeteries with directions and maps. Information about Rabbi Greer and the project is at new-cemetery-database-tells- new-havens-jewish-history.

New Functionality Added to Family History Library Catalog
The new online Family History Library Catalog has added several features to its search capability and display results.  The catalog is located at

Display Additional Places. In the old version of the catalog, when there were no results from a place search, a list of similar places that do have titles was displayed. The new catalog now has this same feature. The new catalog also shows the place notes, the “also known as” place names, and the “part of” places and “places within.” This also existed in the old catalog.

Display the Main Author in Bold Type. Titles in the catalog can have more than one author. The name of the main author is now displayed in bold.

Names of Catalog Searches. The names of the catalog searches are now the same as they were in the old catalog.

Hide Catalog Places Without Titles. When searching for a place, the search engine tries to anticipate the names of the place from its list of known place names. This included places for which they have no records. These places have now been removed—actually hidden—from the search engine.

Display Order for Volumes and Issues in a Serial Periodical. Bound volumes and issues are now presented in the order specified in the computer system that is used to create and manage the catalog (OLIB).

Title Search Includes Subtitles and Inclusive Dates. Previously when doing a search by title, the system searched only title names. It now includes a search of the subtitles.

Searching by Year. It is usually unwise to include a year in the search parameters, for example searching for birth records of a particular year, because the search engine looks only for words. If the Family History Library has death records for Chicago (1880–1950), only searching for the years 1800 and 1950 will produce results.

The announcement, with illustrations, can be found at updates-family-history-library-catalog/.

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

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