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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 16, Number 41 | October 25, 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.

Finding our Roots Third Season Begins January 5
The third season of Finding Your Roots will start on January 5, 2016. The new season will feature numerous celebrities including Patricia Arquette, Lidia Bastianich, Richard Branson, Donna Brazile, Ty Burrell, LL Cool J, Mia Farrow, Bill Hader, Neil Patrick Harris, Dustin Hoffman, Jimmy Kimmel, Norman Lear, Maya Lin, Bill Maher, Julianna Margulies, John McCain, Julianne Moore, Azar Nafisi, Bill O'Reilly, Shondra Rhimes, Maya Rudolph, Gloria Steinem, Kara Walker, and Keenen Ivory Wayans.

Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. of Harvard University has been the show’s host since the beginning of the series.

The announcement can be found at

Genealogy Roadshow Third Season To Start May 17, 2016
PBS will premiere the third season of Genealogy Roadshow, May 17, 2016, according to Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter with participants from Boston, Providence, Miami, Houston and Los Angeles. The program’s website shows they are also filming in Ft. Lauderdale on November 1 and Albuquerque on December 12.

Last Chance to Buy Every Family Has a Story For Only $18.50
Tomorrow is the deadline for purchasing Every Family Has a Story: Tales from the Pages of AVOTAYNU for only $18.50 plus shipping. The normal retail price is $37.00—that is a 50% discount. This offer is good only until tomorrow, Monday, October 26.

Every Family Has a Story consists of 72 articles from the pages of AVOTAYNU that focus on the human side of genealogy—how genealogists have been personally affected by their research and how the research of genealogists has affected others.

Genealogists will not only find the book interesting reading, but will undoubtedly want to give it to family and friends to demonstrate that "this is what genealogy really is all about." Interestingly, some people who bought the book this past week had purchased it previously, indicating they thought enough of it to give it to friends or relatives.

To summarize: Purchase Every Family Has a Story for only $18.50 plus shipping (regular price $37.00 plus shipping) through October 26. When checking out, use the discount code EVERYFAMILY. The book is hard cover and has 304 pages. Ordering information as well as additional information about the contents of the book can be found at It includes a sample story.

Fall Issue of AVOTAYNU
The Fall issue of AVOTAYNU will go to the printer this coming week. All told, there are 18 articles covering various aspects of Jewish family history research. Titles of some of the articles are: • Genealogical Research in the Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox) Community
   • Announcing the Avotaynu DNA Project
   • Is a Rabbi Hiding in Your Family Tree?
   • Resources to Identify Central European Locations
   • INS Subject Index: Locating Jewish Refugee Files from World War I and II
   • Genealogical Resources at the American Jewish Historical Society-New England Archives
   • Genealogical Resources at the Ontario Jewish Archives
This is in addition to the regular columns: From Our Contributing Editors, U.S. Update, Ask the Expert, Alexander Beider on Names, Book Reviews and From Our Mailbox.

The full Table of Contents can be viewed at Subscribe to AVOTAYNU at

IIJG Looking for Volunteers to Proofread Paul Jacobi Genealogies

The International Institute for Jewish Genealogy and Paul Jacobi Center (IIJG) initiated last year a project to publish the late Paul Jacobi's 114 typewritten genealogical studies (monographs) of European rabbinical and other prominent Jewish families. They now need volunteers to proofread the text. IIJG states that the work requires a high level knowledge of the English language, responsibility and fidelity. The work will be spread out over the next ten months. Contact Ami Elyasaf, IIJG Executive Director, at Information about the Jacobi collection can be found at It includes a list of the names of the 114 families that Jacobi documented at

Call for Volunteers: Raoul Wallenberg Passport Project
Peter Lande at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has asked for help indexing a list of Hungarian Jews who received Wallenberg passports. The list includes names, birthdates and places, and the address where the individual was sheltered in Budapest.

Raoul Wallenberg was a Swedish diplomat who gained fame through his efforts to prevent the deportation and murder of thousands of Hungarian Jews. With authorization from the Swedish government, he issued “protective passports” that identified the bearers as Swedish subjects awaiting repatriation. These documents were generally accepted by German and Hungarian authorities.

When the Russian army captured Budapest toward the end of World War II, Wallenberg was arrested by the Soviets and is believed to have died in a Russian gulag. The circumstances of his arrest, deportation and death have been a subject of controversy for the past 60 years.

Read about Wallenberg’s history at

If you are interested in working on this project, contact Vivian Kahn, Hungarian SIG Coordinator, at

FamilySearch Additions for the Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, 5.4M indexed records and images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Italy, Russia (church records) and the U.S. states of Colorado, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont and Washington State. Also included are additions to the index of United States Passport Applications (1795–1925).

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.

My friends at FamilySearch have confirmed that, indeed, their recently published Ellis Island Index (1925–1957) is their own creation and not a copy of the index. As noted in the last issue of Nu? What’s New?, independently created indexes have the advantage that an error in transcribing information into one database is unlikely to appear in the second database. This was useful for me this past week. Searching for a person in the Ancestry version of the Ellis Island database produced only the name of the person on the list of detained passengers. The actual entry on the passenger list was not in the Ancestry index. (I have had this problem in the past.) Switching over to the FamilySearch database provided the passenger list pages.

Spanish Court Allows Detrimental News Items To Remain Online
One concept that there is general agreement among the European Union nations is that while detrimental items about individuals should be removed from search engines such as Google, if the source is a newspaper item, the online representation of the item is permissible.

Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee, reports that this concept was upheld recently by the Spanish Supreme Court in a ruling rejecting a petition to have the newspaper El País remove information from its online archive that the petitioners viewed as detrimental to them.

Read the El Pais article at

New JewishGen Course: Using Google for Genealogy
JewishGen Education has added a two-week workbook class on “Basic 2: Using Google for Genealogy.” The program starts on November 1. Cost is $18; free to persons who donated at least $100 to JewishGen in the past 12 months. Additional information as well as information about other planned courses can be found at

ForcesWarRecords Adds 500,000 Worl War I Hospital Records
Forces War Records has added to their website 500,000 World War I hospital records; about a third of the total they estimate will soon be available. These records are from the Military Hospital records in the National Archives collection reference MH106. The record lists the soldier’s surname and initials, rank, regiment/sub unit, age, length of service, date of admission, date of discharge, injury/illness and any additional medical notes and more.

The ten most common reasons for hospitalization were:
   • Pyrexia (fever of unknown origin
   • Inflammation of connective tissue
   • Trench foot
   • Influenza
   • Scabies
   • Shrapnel
    • Gunshot wound
   • Mustard and chlorine gas poisoning
   • Diarrhoea
   • Rheumatism

Additional information, including how to search the database, is at

International Jewish Genealogy Month
International Jewish Genealogy Month is celebrated during the Hebrew month of Cheshvan, which this year is from October 14 to November 12. To support the event a poster is created annually in a competition. This year’s winner was created by Marcia Hirsch of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois. She also designed the winning poster for last year’s competition. The illustration shows family history as a puzzle with the notation: “Every piece tells a special story.” The poster can be seen at

Copies of the poster will be distributed to Jewish genealogical societies for placing in synagogues and other Jewish institutions in their area. Some societies plan events in conjunction with Jewish Genealogy Month to encourage other members of the Jewish community to research their family history. Previous posters can be seen at

To submit a Page of Testimony, go to Click the words “Download Pages of Testimony Forms.”

Join the ranks of Yad Vashem’s worldwide network of volunteers working in one-on-one outreach efforts with Holocaust survivors and members of their generation to recover the names of Shoah victims before they are lost forever. For ideas and resources on how to launch a names recovery campaign in your area, visit Yad Vashem’s Community Outreach Guide for updated program information on the project in Israel and in Russian speaking Jewish communities around the world.

Yad Vashem has provided a 10-minute Pages of Testimony tutorial video at the site to learn how to help survivors and others from their generation to fill out Pages of Testimony. To volunteer for the project or for more information contact
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