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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 16, Number 15 | April 12, 2015

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
Underlined words are links to sites with additional information.

European Union Does Not Like Cookies
Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee, notes that a report commissioned by the Belgian Privacy Commission states that Facebook places cookies in a computer whenever someone visits a webpage belonging to the domain, even if the visitor is not a Facebook user—and that it is contravening European Union (EU) privacy rules. A cookie is a small file which a browser places on a computer that contains information to trace and identify the user.

When a user visits a third-party site that carries one of Facebook’s social plug-ins, it detects and sends the tracking cookies back to Facebook, even if the user does not interact with the Like button, Facebook Login or other extension of the social media site.

An article about the report can be found at

Meanwhile, an Austrian Facebook user, Max Schrems, is suing in an Austrian court, accusing Facebook of compiling its users personal data in violation of Austrian and EU legislation. He is suing in the name of 25,000 people who signed an online petition and seeking €10 million compensation. The Viennese Court will hold a technical hearing in order to determine if Schrems’ case can be put forward as a class action. As European Facebook is headquartered in Ireland, Facebook argues that a consumer complaint can only be made in the defendant’s country: Ireland. Schrem had previously lost a similar case in Ireland.

An Amazing Discount for an Amazing Set of Books
Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust for Only $49!!
One of the more remarkable books published in recent years is Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust. This three-volume work provides information about more than 6,000 shtetls and cities of your ancestors in almost every country of continental Europe (exceptions: Bulgaria, Finland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland). You can view a list of towns at It almost certainly includes towns of interest to you.

The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust is the condensation of the renowned Pinkas HaKehillot series published by Yad Vashem plus information on areas of Europe yet to be covered by the series. The Encyclopedia chronicles the history of the Jewish communities and its people, as well as the habits and customs of the communities. There are more than 600 photographs and illustrations.

Through special arrangement with the publisher, NYU Press, Avotaynu is offering to its Nu? What’s New? subscribers this three-volume work at the incredible price of only $49.00 plus shipping for the next eight days. The offer ends on April 19. Shipping costs are $10.00 for U.S. purchasers and $24.00 for any other country. This set originally sold for $325.00. You can buy the work today from for $139 plus shipping. Avotaynu has been offering it through Amazon for $99 plus shipping. Now—for one week only—you can get it directly through Avotaynu for only $49 plus shipping. This work is so valuable toward understanding history of these Jewish communities that you should not only contemplate buying it for yourself but also as a donation to your synagogue or community center library.

You must use the following links to get the special price:
U.S. Deliveries only:
Other countries:

Act now! This one-time offer ends next Sunday, April 19, 2015.

News About the Conference
There are a number of announcements about the 37th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy which will be held from July 6–10 at the Ramada Hotel in Jerusalem, Israel.

Program. A preliminary view of the program shows the planned lectures, workshops, luncheons, etc. It can be found at the conference website at Click the Program tab and select “Program & Schedule.” It identifies which programs will appear on what dates with no specific time slots assigned. The complete program will be available “after Passover.”

Special Speakers. The keynote speaker at the opening session will be Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, the Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv, Chairman of Yad Vashem and Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel from 1993 to 2003. Noted genealogist Dick Eastman will speak at the closing banquet. Eastman is author of the daily online newsletter "Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter" which is read by more than 60,000 genealogists. Eastman’s newsletter has been the source of a number of items in Nu? What’s New? in the past.
Early Registration Deadline Extended. The Early registration discount fee has been extended through May 6. Early registration not only has the benefit of a lower registration cost, but there are prize drawings for such items as free hotel room nights and lower registration costs.

Exploration Sunday. One of the more remarkable aspects of this summer’s conference is Exploration Sunday, a pre-conference program offering a variety of research and touring options. On Sunday, July 5, attendees can participate in any of the 13 special events. It is unique to Israel.

Information about each tour can be found by going to the conference website at, selecting the Program menu and from the menu selecting “Exploration Sunday.” The tours are:
   • Yad Vashem
   • Central Archives of the History of the Jewish People and the National Library of Israel
   • Central Zionist Archives and the Old Yishuv Court Museum
   • Ghetto Fighter’s House Museum and the Illegal Immigrants Detention Camp in Atlit
   • Old City of Jerusalem
   • New City of Jerusalem
   • Latrun and Mini-Israel
   • Caesaria, Zichron Ya’akov and Ein Hod
   • Palmach Museum and Tel Aviv Walking Tour; Weizmann Institute
   • Rishon Le-Zion Aliyah Museum and Museum of Babylonian Jewry; Eretz Israel
   • Museum and Jaffa
   • Dig For a Day
   • Masada and Dead Sea Area.

How To Find Missing Family Search Records
An online newsletter new to me, Family History Daily, has an excellent article on some of the more subtle ways of searching large genealogy Internet sites such as FamilySearch,, FindMyPast and MyHeritage. One part the article notes that FamilySearch has millions of images online that have not yet been indexed and, therefore, are not searchable. A technique for accessing these images is discussed. The article can be found at

FamilySearch Additions 18.3 Million Records (April 2 Announcement)
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, 18.3 million indexed records and images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from England, Italy, the United Kingdom and the U.S. states of Kentucky, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas.

Notable additions for Jewish family history research including more than 4.3 million United Kingdom World War I Service Records and Texas County Marriage Records, 1837–1977.
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.

FamilySearch Additions 2.3 Million Records (April 6 Announcement)
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, 2.3 million indexed records and images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Czech Republic, Mexico, New Zealand, Ukraine and the U.S. states of Kentucky, Texas and

There are a number of notable additions for Jewish family history research, so view the entire announcement.

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. Adds Lodz Ghetto/Czechoslovakia Lists
Lodz Ghetto. recently added a number of Lodz ghetto lists it acquired from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM). They include:
   • Ghetto Inhabitant Lists, 1939–1944
   • Ghetto Register Books, 1939–1944
   • Ghetto Hospital Death Records, 1941–1944
   • Ghetto Hospital Illness Records, 1940
   • Transports to Chelmo (Kulmhof) Camp, 1944
The first-named list can be found at Links to the other lists exist on that page to the right of the screen.

Czechoslovakia. Ancestry also has a number of Czechoslovakian Holocaust record collections at their site. One collection can be found at with links to other sites to the right of the screen.

Access to these records is at no charge per agreement with the USHMM, but registration is required.

U.S. National Archives Adds “Iraqi Jewish Archives” to Its Site
The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has added to its website a special section about the collection of Iraqi Jewish material that came into its possession as a result of the 2003 U.S. war with Iraq. It is located at It includes a search engine and an exhibit.

In 2003, shortly after U.S. forces secured Iraq, Harold Rhode, a past president of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington and then a U.S. government official, discovered Jewish artifacts, including a Torah, in the flooded basement of the Iraqi Intelligence Service in Baghdad. Rhode wrote about the find in the Summer 2003 issue of AVOTAYNU. These 2,700 books and tens of thousands of documents were severely damaged by the flooding. They managed to make their way to the United States and were given to NARA for record preservation.

The current Iraqi government has demanded the original material be returned to their country as “national treasures,” but public outcry (and U.S. senators) has delayed a decision. The ultimate disposition of the material is still undecided. Virtually no Jews live in Iraq today.
The story of how the artifacts were discovered and the consequences can be seen at Its title is “The Savior of Iraqi Jewish Heritage: An Interview With Dr. Harold Rhode.”

New: Virtual Museum of Judaica in Moldova
A Virtual Museum of Judaica in Moldova is now online at At present, the site is very poorly designed. The black background hides important elements of the home page that are presented in dark blue. At the lower left is the search engine. I searched for Tiraspol, a major city in Moldova, and got no results. The browsing mechanism is almost invisible in Firefox and barely visible in Internet Explorer. After selecting a subject, photographs, to view those beyond the first page, click the almost imperceptible dots (1, 2, 3, 4,…) in dark blue directly over the words at the bottom of the page: VIRTUAL MUSEUM OF JUDAICA IN MOLDOVA "ON THE TRAILS OF HISTORY" An announcement of the site can be found at

Wanted: Volunteer To Create Wikipedia Page for Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern
 A biography of Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern, considered the father of modern-day Jewish genealogy, should be included in Wikipedia. I have the text for the project but am unfamiliar with how to set up a Wikipedia page. I am looking for a volunteer to do the task. Reply to this newsletter if you have the skills and interest.

Have You Registered to Receive Notices from Avotaynu Online?

Have you subscribed to Avotaynu’s latest venture: Avotaynu Online? We have created a special sign-on site at By registering, you will receive a weekly notice of items added to the site.

By virtue of its focus on the in-depth reporting of specific subjects, Avotaynu Online will be entirely distinct from the existing print journal, AVOTAYNU, which for over three decades has covered the broad spectrum of Jewish family history research, and from the weekly Nu? What’s New?, which reports breaking stories in the world of genealogy.

 Avotaynu Online is free of charge. 

Nu? What's New? is published weekly by Avotaynu, Inc.
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