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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 16, Number 44 | November 15, 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.

Seattle Conference Notes: Devin Narr to Deliver Keynote Address, Deadline for Submitting Proposals is December 15, Consider Touring the Northwest
Devin E. Naar, professor at the University of Washington, will give the keynote address at the opening session of the 36th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy to be held at the Seattle Sheraton in Seattle, Washington, from August 7–12, 2016. Dr. Naar is chair of the UW Sephardic Studies Program and an assistant professor in the school's history department. He has received national attention for his work in Ladino language and literature. “The Sephardic Experience in the United States” will be one of the key topic tracks of the 2016 conference in Seattle, which has the third largest Sephardic population in the United States after New York and Los Angeles.

Call for Papers. The program committee is accepting proposals for presentations. Deadline for submission is December 15. Information on how to submit a proposal can be found at the conference website,, under the “Program/Speakers” menu.

Touring the Northwest United States and Southwestern Canada. For those who plan to attend the conference, consider touring the magnificent country of the Northwest United States and Southwestern Canada either by car or cruise. In 1995, the Federation of Genealogical Societies had its annual conference in Seattle and my wife and I rented a car and toured the west coast of Washington State and went briefly into British Columbia. The scenery is magnificent but for some mountains denuded by the lumber industry. Are you aware there is a tiny piece of land in Washington State that can only be entered into from Canada? It is called Point Roberts. When Canada and the United States determined what latitude would be the dividing line between the two countries, this four square mile (12 square km) of land became part of the U.S.

Consider an Alaskan Cruise. The conference planners have arranged both before- and after-conference cruises of British Columbia (Canada) and Alaska. Not only is the scenery magnificent, but the ships use the “Inside Passage” which means, for most of the trip, no rolling ocean waves. A pre-conference cruise departs Seattle, Friday, July 29, 2016, at 5p.m., returning to Seattle on Friday, August 5, 2016, at 8a.m. onboard the Celebrity Solstice. There are two post-conference cruises, both departing Seattle on Sunday, August 14 at 4p.m. and returning the morning of Sunday, August 21. According to the announcement, the Ruby Princess offers a variety of opportunities for a more family-oriented cruise. The MS Amsterdam offers a more adult-oriented cruise. Full information can be found at

Conference. Presentations, panel discussions and other events at the conference, are expected to draw upwards of 1,000 attendees from around the world, will take in the full global sweep of the Jewish experience, including European migrations, Jewish families in South America, Australia, South Africa, and Israel, as well as Jews in the Western United States. Preliminary information is available at its website

Israel Mandate Period Marriage and Divorce Documents Being Placed Online
Israel Genealogical Research Association has partnered with the Israel State Archives to index and place online documents within the Archives’ collection. The State Archives has begun a project to scan, at high quality, a large proportion of their holdings.

The first project is to place online marriage and divorce certificates issued during the Mandate Period (1921–1948). The entire set will contain more than 50,000 certificates. The first release has 4,220 certificates. These are not the same as the ledgers held in the Rabbinate offices, but are certificates issued upon request. Some of the certificates are for marriages that took place from three to twenty years earlier.

Certificates can be found using the IGRA search engine at Results show date, location, name, occupation, age and status. In order to see the scan of the certificate one must to be a member of IGRA.

IGRA now has nearly 640,000 records online. Visit to view the specifics of this enormous collection.

6 ‘Secret’ Google Search Tricks for Genealogy That’ll Help You Find Your Ancestors
Family History Daily is an unusual genealogy e-zine in that it does not report the events of the week but instead provides essays on topics of interest to family history researchers. A recent example is 6 ‘Secret’ Google Search Tricks for Genealogy That’ll Help You Find Your Ancestors located at Browse the list of other topics and if enough are of interest to you, subscribe to the publication.

Belgian War Dead Register for World War I Now Exists
There is now online a searchable database of Belgian war dead from World War I located at Information provided is name, date/place of death and cemetery (if known). It is a project of the Belgian National Institute for Veterans and Victims of War. Reports are that it may extend eventually to World War II.

Library of Congress Posts Its 10 Millionth Newspaper Page
The U.S. Library of Congress has celebrated a major milestone in its Chronicling America project. It has posted its 10 millionth newspaper page. Launched by the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in 2007, Chronicling America provides enhanced and permanent access to historically significant newspapers published in the United States between 1836 and 1922. The site is located at

IIJG Announces Tagger Prize Recipients
The IIJG Executive Committee announced this week that recipients of the Tagger Prizes for original, unpublished research in Jewish genealogy are:
   • Dr Kamila Klauzińska (Poland) for her 2012 doctoral dissertation on “Modern Genealogy of Polish Jews” – 1st prize of $5,000.
   • Judy Golan (Israel) for her paper entitled “Reading Between The Lines: Mining Jewish History Through Extraction Of Polish Archival Data” - 2nd prize of $2,000.

Dr. Klauzińska’s thesis (in Polish) is based on extensive genealogical research at the macro- and micro- levels. It illuminates the interdisciplinary nature of Jewish genealogy and makes the academic case for teaching the subject at the university level. Part of her commendation reads: “[This work] certainly should be useful to anyone interested in Polish Jewish genealogy because of the rich data it brings together.”

An extract from Ms. Golan’s commendation notes that: “[After making] her contribution to understanding [Jewish] marriage patterns [in Poland], her findings can help make sense of otherwise inexplicable genealogical findings and explain why ancestors chose the mates that they did. In short – this is a contribution both to history and genealogical explication.”

An English summary of the Klauzinska dissertation and the full text of the Golan paper will shortly be published on the IIJG Website at Adds Jewish records of Trebitsch/Trebic to Its Site, located at, has added approximately 10,600 new Jewish records of Trebitsch/Trebic to its site. They now boast more than 12.7M records.

They have also initiated a bilingual (German/English) mailing list at It is for people interested in the geographical area of the former Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and its bordering regions.

Both and are free of charge. Adds More Than 8 Million New Military Records
BillionGraves has added 8 million new military records to its BG+ Special Collections. They are accessible only by subscription.

FamilySearch Adds 5.7 Million Records This Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, 5.7 million indexed records and images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Brazil, Ecuador, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Nova Scotia, Peru, Philippines, Spain, United Kingdom and the U.S. states of Delaware, Iowa and Washington State.

Notable additions are United Kingdom World War I Women's Army Auxiliary Corps Records (1917–1920) and Washington Seattle Passenger and Crew Lists of Airplanes (1947–1954)

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.

Ancestry Now Has Spanish-Language Blog
As Ancestry becomes more of a global business there is increased pressure to provide services in multiple languages. Ancestry has announced it now has a blog in Spanish which can be found at The announcement is, of course, in Spanish.

History of the Jews of Krakow Online
The Polish-Jewish website has placed an extensive description of the history of the Jews of Krakow at,history/?action=view.

Genealogiequebec, at, calls itself “The Genealogical Site of French America.” It is a fee-for-service site that includes numerous birth, marriage and death indexes. It also includes an obituary index of more than 1.7 million entries which is available at no charge. Each entry includes the obituary notice itself, providing valuable information about family members. The site is available in French or English.

Contribute to the Success of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy
Help support a dynamic institution that in its brief existence already has been the catalyst for such benefits to Jewish genealogy as the Beider-Morse Phonetic Matching System,  Sephardic DNA and Migration project, inventorying the Paul Jacobi Collection of 400 prominent Ashkenazic lineages, the Proposed Standard for Names, Dates and Places in a Genealogical Database, and a system for Integrating Genealogical Datasets.

Visit the IIJG website at and read about these developments, as well as  ongoing and proposed projects.

Make your tax-deductible contribution by credit card or PayPal at Click the Donate link. If you prefer, mail a check to Avotaynu Foundation,  794 Edgewood Ave., New Haven, CT 06515, USA. Make the check payable to “Friends of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy.” Donations are tax deductible for U.S. taxpayers.
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