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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 15, Number 42 | November 2, 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 stuff about sites worth visiting.

International Jewish Genealogy Month
The Hebrew month of Cheshvan, October 25 – November 22 is International Jewish Genealogy Month. The event is sponsored annually by the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS). Each year a poster is created that IAJGS encourages Jewish genealogical societies to post in their areas, typically in synagogues. The poster can be seen at

IAJGS is using the occasion this year to encourage societies and individuals to participate in their Memorial Plaques Indexing Challenge Project. It is an effort to transcribe yahrzeit memorial plaques that exist in synagogues as memorials to loved ones. The plaques typically include the birth and death year and father’s name and therefore can help people trace their Jewish ancestors and relatives.

IAJGS states that every plaque photographed and indexed is another clue to an ancestor not lost. Many plaques have been lost over time when synagogues have closed, merged or were abandoned. Sometimes there is no one left to keep the records. Ellen Levitt, author of the Lost Synagogues series of books about buildings in New York City that are no longer synagogues but often churches, found yahrzeit plaques in some churches. The congregants indicated they did not know what the purpose was for these plaques but concluded it must have been something important to the Jews who previously occupied the building, so they left them as is. To participate in the project follow the information fond at

JDC Plans to Place Online Its Poland Collection 1945–1949
The Joint Distribution Committee plans to place online by the end of the year, its Poland collection from 1945–1949, according to Linda Levi, Director of JDC’s Global Archives. The collection documents JDC’s efforts to assist Holocaust survivors and support Jewish community life in Poland in the aftermath of the Holocaust. It will be integrated with their current online Global Archives which can be accessed at

FamilySearch Additions for the Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, 3.4 million indexed records and images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Bahamas, Cape Verde, Peru and the U.S. states of Illinois, New York, Ohio, South Dakota and Pennsylvania. Notable addition is the more than 2.6 million records for an index to the New York State census of 1865.

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.

Billion Graves Has Largest Collection of GPS Tagged Headstones
BillionGraves claims to have the world’s largest collection of GPS-tagged headstones. Its competitor, Find-A-Grave, still has more headstones in total. BillionGraves has added a number of new features, mostly for paid subscribers. The announcement is at

News of British and Estonian Newspaper Archives
The British Newspaper Archive now states they have 9 million pages for 282 titles from 1710 to 1959. Most are late 19th century and early 20th century papers. The site is at

The National Library of Estonia has launched an online digital newspaper archive called DIGAR that contains 17,399 issues comprising 175,751 pages and 290,224 articles. Searching for the Estonian world for “Jewish” (juddi) produce 4,340 results. The database is at

Opening of  
Core Exhibition at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews

Participants in the opening of the Core Exhibition at the
Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw on
October 28 included Marla Raucher Osborn and Pamela
Weisberger of Gesher Galicia and Mark Halpern and
Michael Tobias of JRI-Poland.

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Holocaust Survivors and Victims Database
The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum reports that their Holocaust Survivors and Victims Database contains about 7.5 million entries. This does not mean 7.5 million individuals are identified, since a name may appear in several contexts, e.g. deportee, different camps etc. Use the Advanced Search because the simple search produces soundex searches. With the Advanced Search, the default is “Exact” with the option to do a D-M Soundex or Fuzzy search. The database is located at

Issues of Rom-Sig News: Romanian Jewish Soldiers Killed in World War I
In the pre-Internet days (1992–1998) the Romanian Special Interest Group published a newsletter called RomSig News. Persons who are relatively new to genealogy with Romanian Jewish roots might find it worthwhile to browse the Table of Contents of the various issues.

A recent posting to the JewishGen Rom-SIG Discussion Group notes that the newsletter published lists of Romanian Jewish soldiers killed in World War 1. They can be found in RomSig News Vol. 6, No. 2, Winter 1997–98, pages 28 to 34 and Vol. 6, No. 3, Spring 1998 Pages 22 to 33. The newsletters are at These entries apparently do not appear in the JewishGen Romania SIG Database.

Is a New Collection Really a New Collection?
It is becoming increasingly difficult to determine whether a newly announced record collection by one of the giants of online genealogy—, FamilySearch, MyHeritage—is really a new online collection. This is because of the sharing agreements that are occurring between the Big Three as well as lesser sites.

MyHeritage recently announced “Millions of Historical Records Added to MyHeritage.” One collection is Illinois, Northern District (Eastern Division), Naturalization Index 1926–1979. But this collection already exists on FamilySearch. MyHeritage’s source likely was their sharing agreement with FamilySearch.

FamilySearch, in a recent announcement, often includes additions to their collection from

Correcting Database
The last issue of Nu? What’s New? noted that a site has the 1939 German Minority Census online. The site authors are interested in correcting any information in the database. Send information to

Nu? What’s New? Being Treated As Spam
From time to time we get e-mail from a Nu? What’s New? subscriber claiming they missed an issue of this e-zine. In almost all cases, the problem is that the recipient’s e-mail provider has treated the issue as spam. This is especially true for Gmail, academic institutions (.edu) and private domain names (rather than major Internet providers).

If you think you missed an issue, check your spam folder before contacting us.

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 
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 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

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