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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 15, Number 13 | March 30, 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
Accessing Social Security Death Index
While the U.S. Congress has plans to ban release of information for people who have died within the past three years, two of the three major genealogy sites still have current information from the Social Security Death Index (SSDI). Both and FamilySearch include deaths through February 2014. MyHeritage has not updated their files since 2010. Implementation of the three-year rule for SSDI, also known as the Death Master File, is imminent. Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee, states that after March 26, 2014, in order to access the Limited Access Death Master File, a person must make application that demonstrates a need to know and pay an annual fee of $200.

Back In Print! In Their Words–Russian
After a two year hiatus, In Their Words, A Genealogists Translation Guide–Russian is back in print. Written by the authors of Avotaynu's Following the Paper Trail, the popular book assists researchers in translating documents written in the Cyrillic alphabet. There are:
   • more than 88 Russian-language documents and extracts from American and European sources, analyzed and translated — they include extracts from birth, death, and marriage records of various formats; gazetteer entries; revision lists; obituaries; population registers; military service records; passports; etc.
   • sections on Russian grammar, phonetics, and spelling
   • information on how to locate records in America and Europe
   • a chapter on gazetteers and how to use them, with 10 maps showing Russia's changing borders and divisions, and letter-writing guides for Russian, Lithuanian, and Ukrainian
   • an 80-page vocabulary with over 3,700 entries, featuring archaic terms and spellings most likely to be found in records but rarely included in modern dictionaries
   • a 25-page list of over 700 Christian and Jewish given names with equivalents in English, Latin, Lithuanian, and Polish
   • a section oriented toward of the needs of genealogists with Jewish family history regarding transliteration of Jewish names from the Cyrillic Alphabet

The book is rich with illustrations of documents. Some are Jewish including:
   • Jewish Birth Record from Russian Poland
   • Written Transcript of a Jewish Birth Record from Russian Poland
   • Jewish Columnar Birth Record
   • Paragraph-Form Jewish Marriage Record from Russian Poland
   • Jewish Columnar Marriage Register from Russian Poland
   • Jewish Paragraph-Form Death Record from Russian Poland
   • Jewish Columnar Death Record from Russian Poland
   • Jewish Divorce Record from Bialystok

The book is 8½" x 11", 520 pages and softcover. Cost is $35.00 plus shipping. Ordering information plus the complete Table of Contents can be found at

FamilySearch Additions for the Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, 11.1 million indexed records and images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Barbados, BillionGraves, Brazil, Canada, England, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and the U.S. states of Illinois, Iowa, New York, North Carolina and Texas. Also included are Muster Rolls of the U.S. Marine Corps, 1798–1892

Notable additions are more than a half million indexes and records from; index to 760,000 headstones at; 275,000 index entries for the Northern District of Illinois Petitions for Naturalization, 1906–1991; 223,000 index entries for Iowa County Marriages, 1838–1934; 2.6 million index entries to Texas County Tax Rolls, 1846–1910.

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.

Additional Directories at Genealogy Indexer
1926 Palestine Directory and Handbook. The 1926 Palestine Directory and Handbook is now full-text searchable at Because there are English and Hebrew sections that can contain different information, search in both languages. Searches with default options will include this and all other sources at the site. Restrict a search to just this directory by appending {d997} to the search term. Example: segal {d997}. Alternately, change the "Any Place" option below the search box to "Israel" also to include the previously added 1932 edition, 1937 Rehavia Business Directory, and the 1965 Israel Telephone Directory.

Search results link directly to the corresponding images on the website of the University and State Library of Halle, which digitized this directory from its collection. To browse, instead of search, visit

Ottoman, Turkish directories + Bulgaria, Egypt, Greece, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Romania, Serbia, Syria and More. Ottoman Empire and Turkish trade-oriented directories with significant coverage of other territories in Europe and the Middle East are now full-text searchable at The following years have been added, with more to follow: 1881, 1883, 1885, 1889/1890, 1893/1894, 1894, 1913, 1922, 1938. Written primarily in French, the original titles contain "Annuaire Oriental" or "Indicateur Oriental." Their geographic scope varies, but can include, outside of the Empire proper or Turkey at the time of publication: Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, Egypt, Greece, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Romania, Serbia, Syria, and Yugoslavia; plus manufacturers, exporters, and diplomats from throughout Europe. Listings for Constantinople are the most extensive and include both businesses and residences, but neither comprehensively. Note that some surnames are transcribed in a French style (e.g., Polyakoff, not Polyakov).

For a more detailed description of this series of directories, see the following article from the Ottoman Bank Archives and Research Centre at

1939 Who's Who In Egypt. A directory of the "elite" in Egypt in 1939, "Le Mondain Egyptian: The Egyptian Who's Who," is now full-text searchable at Searches with default options will include this and all other sources. You can restrict a search to just this directory by appending {d1004} to your search term, like this: katz {d1004}.

Search results link to the corresponding pages of a large scanned PDF on the website of CEALEX, the Center for Alexandrian Studies. Note that because of the way the PDF is hosted, you will have to wait for it to completely download before the display jumps to the correct page. The file can be directly downloaded the PDF directly at CEALEX also hosts scans of the 1941 and 1943 editions, which will be added to in the near future.

Plans To Place Online 1939 Identity Card Register of UK
DC Thomson Family History (owner of Findmypast) and the UK National Archives have announced a joint project to make available online records of 40 million civilians held in the 1939 Identity Card Register. Once digitized, it is estimated that the collection will comprise almost 1.2 million scanned full-color images of documents covering the entire civilian population of England and Wales at the outbreak of WWII.

The 1939 register was taken on September 29, 1939, by the British government and recorded personal details of individuals in order to issue identity cards and ration books. It later formed the basis of the National Health Service’s records. The records contain the address, full name, date of birth, sex, marital status and occupation of individuals, as well as changes of name. Although the Register is literally within living memory for many people, information about living individuals will be kept closed for 100 years from their year of birth, or until proof of death has been authenticated. This implies that if the database was online today, information could be gotten only about people who were born before 1914 unless some procedure was followed to show proof of death.

Persons interested in being kept informed about the project can register at A version of the announcement can be found at

Canadian Tombstones Website contains more than 459,200 headstones at gravesites in Canada. Few appear to be from Jewish cemeteries, but it does include tombstones at the Old Holy Blossom Cemetery in Toronto on Pape Avenue.

MyHeritage Adds Jewish Chronicle to Collection
MyHeritage has added the (London) Jewish Chronicle archive to its SuperSearch system. The Jewish Chronicle is the world's oldest continually published Jewish newspaper. The archive contains over 200,000 pages and millions of names, dating back to 1841. The collection is available at I had trouble using the site. With Internet Explorer, the image of the newspaper page did not appear, probably indicating there was some piece of missing software. Using Firefox, the image appeared, but trying to zoom in to make the text readable, resulted in an unreadable blurry image.

Last Chance: Renewal Time for AVOTAYNU at a Discount
If you received a yellow sheet with your Winter issue of AVOTAYNU, it means it is time to renew your subscription to the publication. Note that if you renew before March 31, there is a discount and you are entitled to participate in a drawing for a free copy of ANY book published by Avotaynu. We are already working on the Spring issue. If you are not a subscriber, you can do so 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.
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