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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 16, Number 36 | September 20, 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.

Crowdsourcing Becoming Popular Among Archives, Libraries, Etc.
Crowdsourcing—the concept of using the general public to assist in various projects on a volunteer basis, rather than use employees or suppliers—is becoming popular among archivists, scientists, librarians, and curators. This is according to Mike Ashenfelder of the Library of Congress (LOC).

In an article on the LOC blog, Ashenfelder states, “Many cultural institutions have accelerated the development of their digital collections and data sets by allowing citizen volunteers to help with the millions of crucial tasks that archivists, scientists, librarians, and curators face.” Examples of projects are:
   • Analyzing images, creating tags and metadata, and subtitling videos
   • Transcribing documents and correcting OCR text
   • Identifying geographic locations, aligning/rectifying historical maps with present locations, and adding geospatial coordinates
   • Classifying data, cross-referencing data, researching historic weather, and monitoring and tracking dynamic activities.

His complete comments can be found at

German Jewish Registration Cards (1938–1942) Being Indexed
Speaking of crowdsourcing, the number one crowdsourcer at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum for genealogy-related matters is Peter Lande. Lande’s latest project is to index the registration cards of all Jewish residents in Germany from 1938–1942. The cards were prepared by the Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland, the umbrella organization for all Jewish residents in Germany, under close Gestapo supervision.

Lande has indexed to date about 6,000 persons whose family names begin with the letters A, B, C and L (as in Lande). They are listed at Each card contains name; residence; date and place of birth; emigrated or deported. It is particularly useful for information on Jews who died within Germany, since death certificates are often difficult to locate/obtain. Lande states it includes a large number of Jews born in Eastern Europe who were in Germany at that time.

In reality, it is unfair to describe Lande as part of the crowdsourcing community. It is more appropriate to call him an unpaid professional. He was chosen for the IAJGS Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001. IAJGS noted then that “among [his contributions] is his outstanding work on identifying resources and creating finding aids at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.”

National Archives of Australia Going Digital
National Archives of Australia is building a new storage facility which will be able to house about 10 million Commonwealth records when it opens in 2017. But according to an article on Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter, it may be the last such a facility.

Almost all Australian government records are now created digitally—not on paper. While the Australian government will maintain archives for future records, the storage will be digital. The Canberra Times has an article on the subject at

RootsTech Now Open for Registration
Rootstech, the largest genealogy event in the world—more than 20,000 attendees—is now accepting registrations. It will be held in Salt Lake City from February 3–6, 2016. It is also suggested that hotel registrations be made immediately, because such a large event will rapidly fill the available rooms. (The Marriott is already sold out.) Registration is at and hotel registration is at

There will be 241 sessions, hands-on activities in the expo hall, and evening entertainment. There is early-bird discount pricing for full passes. The sessions can be viewed in detail at

The conference website is at The complete announcement is at

FamilySearch Additions for the Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, 2.5 million indexed records and images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Brazil, Italy and the U.S. states of Delaware, Michigan, Montana, New York, Utah and Washington State.

Notable additions are to the indexes of Brazil Immigration Cards (1900–1965) and Delaware Wilmington Vital Records (1847–1954).

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.

JewishGen Announces Fall Education Courses
JewishGen has announced two education courses for the Fall season. Both are four-week courses that permit interaction with an instructor. They are:
   • 10/1-11/1 Dead Ends and Brick Walls - An advanced class to review and analyze your data and gain insights for new research.
   • 11/15-12/15 Organize & Research Online - for Advanced Beginners. What to do after you have gathered documents from Ancestry and FamilySearch.

In addition, there are two-week text-based classes for quick updates on research. Tuition is waived for persons who have contributed at least $100 annually to JewishGen. They are:
   • 11/1 - Basic 2: Search Strategies
   • 1/4 - Basic 1: Exploring JewishGen

Some of the courses are open for registration now. Others will be open 2–3 weeks before they start. Additional information can be found at

To find out more about the many benefits to being an annual $100-or-more contributor to JewishGen, see

FindMyPast Has Free Access For Weekend
FindMyPast collection of more than 4 billion records and 11 million newspaper pages is free until 7am Monday, September 21st (EDT). Go to to access the collection.

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

* Also see Russia and USSR ** Also see individual countries
Nu? What's New? is published weekly by Avotaynu, Inc.
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