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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 15, Number 10 | March 9, 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
Genealogical Proof Standard
The Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) has published a new version of its Genealogy Standards. BCG notes that proof is a fundamental concept in genealogy. In order to merit confidence, each conclusion about an ancestor must have sufficient credibility to be accepted as “proved.” Acceptable conclusions, therefore, must meet the Genealogical Proof Standard. The standard consists of five elements:
   • a reasonably exhaustive search
   • complete and accurate source citations
   • analysis and correlation of the collected information
   • resolution of any conflicting evidence
   • a soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion.
Each element contributes to a conclusion's credibility in a different way, but all the elements are necessary to establish proof.

The complete announcement can be found at The 100-page book can be ordered at

Find A Grave Now Has Mobil App
Find A Grave has released a mobil app for the iPhone with plans to make it available also on Android devices. Now when you are with family or friends, while you are doing family history research at Find A Grave on your Phone, you can tell them you are merely checking the weather for the week. With the new app, you can see cemeteries around the world, search for persons by name, take photos of existing memorials, or add new ones. It has the ability to request photos and take photos for others. Additional information is at The site claims they have more than 100 million graves in half a million cemeteries.

IAJGS Conference “WWI Stories” Expanded To Include Non-registrants
IAJGS has announced that due to the enthusiastic response of their announcement that this year’s IAJGS Conference is collecting family stories and related pictures of the World War I era, they have opened this feature to non-conference registrants. IAJGS plans to create an online memory book containing stories and pictures that are contributed. This memory book will likely include a surname index and will be available on the Internet at no charge. There are plans to create a wall of pictures at the conference. All submitted stories are subject to editing for length and clarity. To share a story and pictures, go to and select the "WWI Stories" tab. At the site there is an FAQ and the ability to upload stories.

The 34th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah, from July 27 – August 1, 2014. Information about the conference is available at the site.

Mocavo Introduces “Free Forever” Service, a search engine site that provides results from genealogy-related websites, has introduced what it calls their “Free Forever” service. Previously, Mocavo provided links to sites that included the words in the search parameter. Now they attempt to show the actual document that contains the words. This service is offered at no charge.
The search field contains three boxes: Ancestor’s First Name, Last Name and Keywords. In reality, the results were the same no matter where I placed the search parameters. What this means is that Mocavo is a full-word search engine. Placing the word “Avotaynu” in the “Last Name” field produced results that included the U.S. Congressional Record where the invocation was given by a rabbi who used the Hebrew expression “Elohaynu v’elohay avotaynu” (Our God and God of our ancestors). Coincidentally, this is the origin of the name of our company and journal Avotaynu.

Mocavo is a for-profit company that derives income from its Mocavo Gold service which charges for discovery alerts, the ability to search all of its databases at the same time, and other features.

New York State Restricts Access to Probate Files
Jan Meisels Allen, chairperson of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee, reports that the New York State Chief Justice has issued an order restricting public access to records included in probate files. Previously they are treated as public documents. Only those people with a direct interest in the estate can view the documents. Because it is an order from the courts rather than a proposed legislative enactment, there will be no public hearing. As Allen notes, “[it] is a fait accomplait.”

Probate records are an extremely valuable set of documents for family history research. For example, they can include the married names of women who are heirs to the estate (typically daughters of the decedent).

New Features at Ukraine SIG Website
The JewishGen Ukraine Special Interest Group (SIG) has added audio files of the pronunciation in both Ukrainian and Russian for each town covered by the SIG. They have also added the Russian and Ukrainian spellings for each town. The group hopes to add Yiddish pronunciation and spelling at a later date. Links to the towns identified by the SIG are at

Cape Province South Africa Deaths Being Indexed
The Genealogical Society of South Africa is indexing a number of collections located at FamilySearch where there are only images, including an index to civilian deaths for Cape Province (1895–1972). Unfortunately, there is no common search engine for the index; each town has its own listing and search engine. Each list is browseable by any of the fields in the index. Click on any heading—for example, Surname—and the list is reordered alphabetically for the field selected. The civilian death database is at

Irish Freedom Fighter Records Now Online
As part of the centenary commemoration of the founding of the State, Ireland’s Department of Defence has placed online details about 3,200 men and women who signed up to fight for Irish freedom. The first collection includes more than 10,000 files on members of the Irish Volunteers, Citizen Army, Hibernian Rifles, Irish Republican Army, Cumann na mBan, Na Fianna Eireann or National Army between 1916 and 1923. The records contain service pensions from veterans involved in the Easter Rising, the War of Independence, the Civil War and those awarded the 1916 Medal and The Service (1917–1921).

It is part of a wider program to catalog 300,000 military service pension files. The database is located at An expanded version of the announcement is 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 a check to Avotaynu Foundation,  794 Edgewood Ave., New Haven, CT 06515, USA. 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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