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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 15, Number 2 | January 12, 2014

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
New Genealogy Site:
The home page of states “Webtrees is the web's leading on-line collaborative genealogy application. It is open source software and costs zero...” It is not a site to place your family tree but a software package you must install on you own website, which the company is willing to host. The Webtrees site is at It is in both English and French.

An example is the site of Meliza Rubinstein Amity at It contains 24,471 individuals. The oldest entry is that of the “ReMA”—Rabbi Moses Isserles, born February 22, 1520 in Krakow, Poland and died there May 11, 1572. According to Amity, it represents all the Jews in Finland and their families throughout the world.

Amity is one of the developers of Webtrees. She was interviewed by the Jerusalem Post and noted that some of the unusual features of the system included multilingual ability, a “sound search” for data and a Hebrew calendar. Unfortunately, the Post article is available by subscription only.

Tourist Route Through Old Jewish Towns Planned
The Associated Press reports that historians are preparing a virtual and real-life tourist route leading through about 60 old Jewish towns along Poland's border with Belarus and Ukraine. The “Shtetl Route” will include about 20 towns in each of the countries. The project is largely funded by the European Union. The Internet site version will offer descriptions, histories and anecdotes about the towns that were largely Jewish before World War II. Fifteen of them will be shown in 3-D models. On-the-ground sightseeing guides and guidebooks will be available starting in late 2015. The AP article is at

IAJGS Makes Appointments
The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) has appointed Nolan Altman of Oceanside, New York, as IAJGS Vice President. Altman replaces Jan Meisels Allan who recently resigned the position but will continue as Chairperson of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee.

Altman’s previous position on the IAJGS Board will be filled by Garri Regev of Jerusalem, Israel. She served as Chair of the Jerusalem Genealogical Society and then President of the Israel Genealogical Society. Regev is currently the President of the Israel Genealogy Research Association. She is on the Steering Committee for the 35th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy to be held in Jerusalem in 2015.

IAJGS is the umbrella organization of 74 Jewish genealogical societies worldwide. The IAJGS serves the shared needs of its members, coordinates and organizes activities such as the annual IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, provides a unified voice and acts as the spokesperson on behalf of its members. Their site is 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 BillionGraves, England, Russia and the U.S. states of Michigan, Montana, Wisconsin as well as New England States, Seamen's Identification Cards, 1918–1940; Passport Applications, 1795–1925; and Revolutionary War, Virginia Pension Application Files, 1830–1875.

Note that at the website announced collections may not be complete for the dates specified and will be added at some later time. Also note that counts shown in the announcement are the number added, not the total number available in the collection, which can be greater.

Index and Images of Hessen Jewish Records Now Online
An index to more than 31,500 Jewish records from northern and eastern Hessen, Germany, are now on the JewishGen German-Sig website at Search results provide links to the actual documents located at the Hessen State Archives site. The records represent 45% of those available. An estimated 34,500 more are still to be done by volunteers.

The database is a surname and town index of 19th- and 20th-century Jewish vital records from Hessen. The “Gatermann” microfilms are the only remaining source of a large collection of German Jewish vital records and related documents. These items were collected by the German government during World War II. They were microfilmed in the last months of the war by Gatermann & Co. The original documents were destroyed shortly after the end of the war. In 2013 the Hessian State Archives put most of their collection of Gatermann films online. Additional information about the records is at

Trove Adds More Australian Newspapers
The Trove digitized newspaper collection of the National Library of Australia has added 53 more historic newspapers online. The largest additions are from New South Wales and Victoria. The site, with search engine, is located at

Rootstech To Offer Live Streaming Again
Once again the Rootstech conference will offer live streaming of selected lectures to those who cannot attend the event but want to view lectures at no cost through live streaming. The conference will be held from February 6–8, 2014, at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Rootstech is the largest genealogy conference in North America. Last year’s conference had 6,770 registered attendees and more than 13,000 people tuned in to watch the live streaming sessions. The conference’s home page is

Index to Recent Broward County, Florida, Marriage Licenses Now Online
Renee Steinig of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Long Island reports on the JewishGen Discussion Group that the Broward County, Florida, Clerk of the Courts now offers a marriage
license search at She states that unlike the Florida marriage records on Ancestry, which run through 2001, this database currently includes marriages that took place as recently as January 2014. Searching for the common surname Cohen, there were records as early as 1986. The Broward database also includes information not found on Ancestry: bride's and groom's city or state of birth and residence, city where the marriage took place, and who performed the marriage (i.e. clergy, notary, etc.).

Two Conferences in Texas
The annual Conference on Crypto Judaism and Sephardic-Hispanic Culture will be held January 19–20, 2014, at the Seibel Center for Crypto Jewish Studies on the Texas A&M campus in College Station, Texas. Information can be found at

The 39th Annual Conference of the Southern Jewish Historical Society will be held from October 23–26, 2014, in Austin, Texas. They are issuing a Call for Papers on subjects related to Jewry in the southern and border states, with preference for topics reflecting the conference theme: “Southern Jews in Global Contexts.” Of prime interest are topics focusing on ways that southern Jews and Jewish communities interact with Jewish and non-Jewish communities, issues, and institutions across international borders. The conference website is at

Attention Roadrunner and Gmail Subscribers
Subscribers who use Roadrunner and their Internet Service Provider (ISP) should be aware that a new spam filter that ISP has installed allows only a limited number of copies of the same message through to its users. For the past three weeks Nu? What’s New? has been receiving messages that “Too many recipients received this hour. Please see our rate limit policy at” You will eventually received “Nu? What’s New?” because our list service company tries at ten different times to attempt to deliver our e-zine.

If you are a Gmail subscriber and believe you did not receive your copy of Nu? What’s New? in any given week, check your spam folder. This problem seems to occur on occasion to selected Gmail users.

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.
Copyright 2014, Avotaynu, Inc. All rights reserved

To change an e-mail address, send a request to

To subscribe to AVOTAYNU, The International Review of Jewish Genealogy, go to

To order books from our catalog, go to

To contact us by postal mail, write: Avotaynu, Inc.; 794 Edgewood Ave.; New Haven, CT 06515

Telephone  (U.S.) : 475-202-6575