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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 14, Number 45 | November 17, 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
BillionGraves Partners With MyHeritage
Some day all genealogical databases will be under one roof. You won’t have to search, then, then This is because of all the sharing and cross-licensing that is going on with genealogical sites that have large databases.

The latest is that has partnered with to allow its 6 million headstones to date to be one of the many databases MyHeritage automatically scans for its 75 million registered users to make them aware of matches between the their family tree and the BillionGraves collection.

Both companies are aggressive in their acquisition of data. BillionGraves is a bit more than two years old and has acquired its 6 million headstones in that short time. MyHeritage is just 10 years old.

The announcement can be found at

MyHeritage Adds Functionality to Their Family Tree Application
The quality of Israeli-created software has always impressed me. When Yad Vashem made available the Shoah Victims Names’ Database, I e-mailed the head of their Information Technology department saying that they got it right the first time. They had used their years of experience dealing with Yad Vashem patrons who needed access to the Pages of Testimony information to create a very user-friendly system in Shoah Victims Names Database.

[I was one of the pioneers of the computer software industry having started programming computers in 1959 at IBM where I developed the systems software the company delivered with their first major business computer—the IBM 1401. I then started my own software company and installed the first computers at companies such as Linens n’ Things, Bed Bath & Beyond and The Children’s Place.]

What impresses me today is the system developed by MyHeritage for their online family tree. Not only is it good, but they are constantly improving it to make things easier and more flexible for their users.

The latest accomplishment is that their system can extract information from historical records and place it into multiple profiles on your family tree in one click. An example would be a census record, where each family member can be linked to the document.

Additional information about the feature is at

FTDNA Has a Holiday Sale
Family Tree DNA has placed most of their tests on sale through December 31. Typical are their Y-DNA tests:
   Y-DNA37 was $169.00—now $119.00
   Y-DNA67 was $268.00—now $189.00
   Y-DNA111 was $359.00—now $289.00

One test, known as “the Big Y,” increases in price on December 1 from $495.00 to $695.00. The company notes this test is “for those interested in DEEP ancestry and not genealogical per se.”

Family Tree DNA is located on the Internet 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. They include records from Austria, BillionGraves, Brazil, Italy, Russia, South Africa, Spain, and the U.S. states of Maine, Michigan and Washington. The Russian entry is a new collection of browsable images for Nizhni Novgorod Poll Tax Census (Revision Lists), 1782–1858.

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.

International Institute for Jewish Genealogy Launches Appeal for Funds 2013–14
International Institute for Jewish Genealogy (IIJG) has been doing pioneer work in Jewish genealogy since its creation in 2006 in such ways as (1) its efforts to gain recognition for Jewish genealogy as an academic discipline and (2) to enrich the work of Jewish genealogists and family historians in general.

In the past 12 months alone, three important projects have broken new ground:
   • The commencement of a “mega” research project on the “Lives and Lineages of Village Jews in the 19th-Century Minsk Guberniya.” The results of this study will be highly relevant to all Jewish genealogists hailing from what was the Russian Pale of Settlement.
   • The initiation of a genealogical service at the National Library of Israel, where experts from the Library, together with volunteers from the Israel Genealogy Research Association and the Israel Genealogical Society, are available to assist inquirers and to address queries submitted by email to
   • A long-overdue move to publish over 100 type-written monographs prepared by the Dr. Paul Jacobi (1911–1997), whose life’s work was devoted to researching more than 400 leading Ashkenazi (mainly Rabbinic) families.

At the annual IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy held in Boston this year, IIJG’s Founding Director, Ambassador Neville Lamdan, was given the Lifetime Achievement Award for his vision in establishing the Institute, which has developed into an essential component in the infrastructure of Jewish genealogy worldwide.

You can have a personal stake in the Institute and help it continue its impact by making a contribution in one of the following ways:
U.S. tax-payers can make tax-deductible contributions through the “Friends of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy”, either:
   • via PayPal at
   • by check, payable to “Friends of International Institute for Jewish Genealogy” and sent to: Avotaynu Foundation, at 794 Edgewood Ave., New Haven, CT 06515, USA.

Others should send their checks, payable to the “International Institute for Jewish Genealogy” to: IIJG, Post Office Box 39105, Jerusalem, 91390, Israel.

New Towns Added to KehilaLinks Project
One of the valuable resources located on JewishGen is the KehilaLinks Project which contains information about individual towns throughout the world where Jews live or once lived. These sites were created by individuals who wanted to share with other family historians information about the town. The entrance to the site is at If you do not find your town listed and wish to create a site, contact the KahilaLinks volunteers as described at the site.

New towns added during October include (most from the Czech Republic):
Boskovice (Boskowitz), Czech Republic; Dresden, Germany; Hostice (Hoschtitz bei Wolin), Czech Republic; Kasejovice (Kasejowitz), Czech Republic; Kbel, Czech Republic; Kuzova (Wallisgrun), Czech Republic; Humpolec (Gumpolds, Humpoltz), Czech Republic; Liberec (Reichenberg), Czech Republic; Lomnice (Lomnitz), Czech Republic; Naseldowice, Czech Republic; Malinec, Czech Republic; Podivín (Kostel), Czhech Republic; Prcice (Pertschitz), Czech Republic; Prestice (Pschestitz), Czech Republic; Rousínov (Okres Rakovník), Czech Republic; Safov (Schaffa), Czech Republic; Stod (Staab), Czech Republic; Unicov (Mährisch Neustadt), Czech Republic; Usov (Märisch Aussee), Czech Republic; Vlci, Czech Republic; Vseruby (Neumark), Czech Republic; Vysoka Libyne (Hochlibin), Czech Republic; Wroclaw (Breslau), Poland

Group Trip to Lithuania - June 17 to June 27, 2014.
For the 21st year, Howard Margol and Peggy Mosinger Freedman are organizing a group trip to Lithuania from June 17 to June 27, 2014. Included are visits to the various archives, synagogues, ghettos, Holocaust sites, meetings with Jewish leaders, sightseeing, guide/interpreters, and two days to visit and spend time in your shtetl, or shtetlach of interest. All meals are included (except for one dinner and two lunches), the finest hotels (new and modern), modern buses, and much more. This year the group size will be limited to 25.

Details and a full itinerary of the trip can be found at or contact the tour leaders at

Avotaynu Business
Reminder: Human Interest Stories for Winter Issue. Deadline for submitting human interest stories to be published in the Winter issue of AVOTAYNU is December 1, 2013. It 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. 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

Reminder: 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
   • Purchase 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. View our more than 50 books at

A Great Chanukah Present: Taking Tamar
One of the books published by Avotaynu has nothing to do with genealogy. It would make a perfect Chanukah present for someone who enjoys reading human interest success stories. The book is called Taking Tamar and has to do with a genealogist: Martha Lev-Zion of Omer, Israel.

Martha is very active in Jewish genealogy. She is founder and president of the Jewish Genealogical Society of the Negev branch of the Israel Genealogical Society, is on the founding committee of the Israel Genealogical Research Association, was on the Board of Directors of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies and is the past president of the Latvia SIG.

Twenty-five years ago, Martha, a single woman then in her 40s, heard about a TV documentary regarding 22 children with severe birth defects who had been abandoned by their birth parents in Israeli hospitals. Martha applied for one of those babies and got no immediate response. Eventually she was told that of the 65 applications received, hers was the last one considered, likely because of her age and marital status. In the end, with only one baby remaining, Martha took into her care a 14-month-old girl with Down syndrome. Taking Tamar relates the amazing journey of Martha's life raising her adopted daughter, Tamar.

Interwoven with her experiences fighting Israeli governmental authorities, school systems, the birth family, and even the U.S. government, was her commitment to bring up her daughter as normally as possible and the incredible accomplishments of her daughter.

The book includes a photo album of Tamar (and Martha) in the first 20 years of Tamar's life. It is easy and enjoyable reading; enjoyable because you know the ultimate outcome will be success. Every person I have spoken to who has read the book says the story is amazing.

Taking Tamar is 208 pages, softcover and sells for only $19.95. Ordering information and excerpts from the book can be found 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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