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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 15, Number 15 | April 20, 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
Lots of little items in this issue.

No Issue Last Sunday
There was no issue of Nu? What’s New? Last Sunday. Belated Happy Pesach to all our Jewish readers and a Happy Easter to the Christian subscribers.

Sid Caesar’s Family History Determined
When noted comedian Sid Caesar died in February 2014, at the age of 92, the news media claimed his father’s name was changed at Ellis Island. Even Wikipedia states this as fact noting three citations. A group of Jewish genealogists decided to research this urban myth. Their results are published in Mishpacha, the journal of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington by Robin Meltzer its V.P. Communication for JGSGW. Included is the discovery that the original name prior to arriving in the U.S. was Ziser. The article can be found at Marlene Bishow, president of JGSGW, called it “An excellent primer for researchers.”

“A Glimpse into the Thriving Business of Family History”
Desert News, a leading Salt Lake City newspaper, has printed an article about the thriving business of family history. Featured is Gilad Japhet who launched in 2005 which has grown to one of the top genealogy sites. Also interviewed are Tim Sullivan, CEO of, and Annelies van den Belt, CEO of The article can be read at A-glimpse-into-the-thriving-business-of-family-history.html.

The Size of
Eastman Online Genealogy Newsletter notes that an article in Baseline, an online magazine, states that has 1,400 employees, a 10 petabyte (10 quadrillion bytes) database with 13 billion structured and unstructured records going back to the 1300s, a number that grew by 1.2 billion documents in 2013. Its paid subscribers number 2.7 million people who generate an average of 75 million searches a day on the company's various websites, including,, and

In addition, the AncestryDNA database currently has data from more than 300,000 people. The Baseline article can be read

Gesher Galicia Adds 28 New Record Sets to All Galicia Database
Gesher Galicia, the Special Interest Group (SIG) for people researching their Jewish Galician family history has added 18 new databases to their All Galicia Database located at Many of these cover 20th century vital records up to 1942, an important addition to Holocaust-era research. This brings the total number of records in the All Galicia Database to 290,826 records from 121 different data sources.

Additions are: Bukaczowce Jewish Birth Records (1840–1865), Horodenka Jewish Birth Records (1851–1867), Jezierna Jewish Birth Records (1893–1898 and 1922–1942), Kanczuga Homeowners List (1849), Kozielniki Jewish Birth Records (1859), Kozielniki Jewish Death Records (1877, 1895, 1897), Kozielniki Jewish Marriage Records (1892), Monasterzyska Jewish Birth Records (1939–1942), Monasterzyska Jewish Death Records (1941–1942), Nienadowa Property Owners (1852), Probuzna Jewish Death Records (1817–1876), Rohatyn Jewish Birth Index (1886–1890), Rohatyn Jewish Marriage Index (Grooms Only), (1935–1937), Rudki Jewish Death Index (1877–1940), Sanok Jewish Birth Index (1869–1889), Skala Podolska Jewish Birth Index (1872–1876), Skala Podolska List of Electors (1867),

There are other resources at the site, some of which are a map room, town histories, and back issues of The Galitizianer which has been published by this SIG since 1993.
There are numerous Special Interest Groups. A complete list can be found at

Pennsylvania Death Records To Be Available Online
Pennsylvania death records, 1906–1963, will be released and made available online in sections throughout the current year. Pennsylvania residents will have free access to the records by registering at Paid subscribers to will find them available at The schedule is:
   • 1906
24 death certificates – April 2014
   • 1925
44 death certificates – June 2014
   • 1945
63 death certificates – November 2014
In addition, 1906 birth certificates will be released in March 2015.

In Pennsylvania there is moratorium of 50 years on public access for death certificates and 105 years for birth certificates. Additional years will be released as the moratorium passes. Additional information is at

Marriage records are not located at the Pennsylvania State Archives but are maintained at the courthouse of the county issuing the license. Therefore, these records are not part of the program.

Ancestry Australia Offering Free Access to Immigration Records is offering free access to their Australian immigration records through Monday April 21. One collection includes the era of immigration to Australia by Holocaust survivors. They also include UK outward passenger lists 1890–1960. Access the records at

Taking of 2021 UK Census Likely To Be Predominately Online
Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee, states that a report by the UK Statistics Authority indicates, “The National Statistician has concluded that the demand for a decennial census remains strong and that there is general support for the next census being conducted predominantly online (with help and support being provided to individuals who may not be willing or able to respond in this way).” The full census would be supplemented by use of administrative and survey data. It is now for the Government and Parliament to determine the arrangements for future census taking in England and Wales. The Statistics Authority originally considered whether the census was an unnecessary costly method of acquiring information about the population and that administrative data only could replace the census.

The announcement and letter the UK Statistics Authority wrote to the Minister for the Cabinet Office is at The report to Parliament is at

UK Offers Free Access to WWI-Era Records Through April 21 is offering free access to its World War I era records through April 21. They can be accessed at The site includes a complete list of record collections being made available. They include the 1901 and 1911 censuses; and WWI Medal Ross Index, pension records and service records. Certain birth and death indexes are included.

Jewish Heritage Month in Ontario
Since it unanimously passed the Ontario Legislature on February 23, 2012, the month of May has been Jewish Heritage Month in that Canadian province. The celebration has provided all citizens the unique opportunity to learn about the history and culture of Ontarians of Jewish heritage who have made an impact in communities across the province. This includes significant contributions made by the Jewish community in the fields of medicine, law, politics, arts, business and philanthropy.

There is a website at that provides readers with a gallery of photographs of Jewish leaders and events throughout the years. A calendar identifies events planned for the month.

Family Tree DNA Reworking Its Population Finder Feature
Family Tree DNA has announced that a new and vastly improved version of its Population Finder will be released in a few weeks. Population Finder results show the relative proportions of an individual’s ancestry from among the major continental groups, Africa, the Americas, East Asia, Europe, Middle Eastern, Oceania, and South Asia. Those who paid for FTDNA’s Family Finder testing will be able to take advantage of this feature.

Recent FamilySearch Additions
Recent additions to FamilySearch include more than 2.1 million civil registration images for Italy. The list can be found at

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.

Harry Katzman z”l (1925–2014)
Harry Katzman, founding publisher of Stammbaum - The Newsletter of German-Jewish Genealogical Research passed away in his home April 4, 2014. He was 90.

The JewishGen Discussion Group (JGDG) archives messages he posted started in October 1993. In November 1993, the JGDG included emails between Katzman and JewishGen founder Susan King about a project he had already started to create a database of "looking for" birth, marriage, death and simcha (happy events) notices published in Aufbau, the New York City German and English language newspaper from the 1930s on. Harry probably played a part in creating existing Aufbau-centered databases added to JewishGen by Peter Lande.

He was active in his local JGS. He responded generously to inquiries from researchers who contacted him via Gary Mokotoff's New York JGS “Family Finder," now the JewishGen Family Finder. When John Paul Lowens wrote to him via the Family Finder circa 1995, Katzman immediately sent Lowens a multi-page outline database shattering a 30-year-old brick wall hiding his direct MOSES ancestors in Beerfelden. Lowens is certain that other GerSIG members have had similar help from Harry Katzman.

The first issue of Stammbaum, Vol. 1 No. 1 can be found at

(Article based on a posting to the GerSIG by John Paul Lowens.)

Avotaynu Anthology of Jewish Genealogy
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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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