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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 17, Number 11 | March 20, 2016

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.

Brooke Schreier Ganz Taking New York City Clerk’s Office to Court
Brooke Schreier Ganz, through her organization, Reclaim the Records, is taking to court the New York City Clerk’s Office. Ganz claims she is entitled to a copy of the New York City marriage index (1938–2015) by virtue of the New York State Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). The City Clerk’s office has ignored previously written and phone call requests by Ganz for the index. Additional information about the case can be found at The actual 25-page petition can be found at

Ganz previously was successful in gaining access to the New York City index to marriage licenses and affidavits (1908–1929) using FOIL as justification for her claim. Information about that action can be found at

IAJGS Conference Will Have Special Program for Jewish Educators
For the first time in conference history, the 36th International Conference on Jewish Genealogy will offer a special program to help Jewish educators incorporate genealogy and family history into the school curriculum—whether it is a day school, synagogue school or a high school. The program will take place on the first day of the conference, Sunday, August 7, from 9am to 2pm. The educators’ program requires a separate registration from the regular conference; attendees at the educators’ sessions receive breakfast and lunch and, for an extra fee, they can attend the keynote lecture.

This annual conference will also feature a Jewish Film Festival created by Jewish film scholar and teacher of cinema Eric Goldman. Other highlights of the Seattle conference include the opening night keynote address by Dr. Devin Naar, chair of the University of Washington Sephardic Studies Program, and the banquet address by “legal genealogist” Judy Russell, a Certified Genealogist and Certified Genealogical Lecturer. As at previous conferences, remote streaming of selected programs will be available through LIVE!

The early registration period for the regular conference, which runs until April 30, offers the lowest fees, with savings of $55 for the full conference.

For more information about the conference go to

Genealogy Roadshow Announces Third Season Dates
Genealogy Roadshow will have seven airings in May/June on PBS stations. They are:
   • Albuquerque May 17th
   • Miami May 24th
   • Houston May 31st
   • Our Favorite Stories June 7th
   • Boston June 14th
   • Providence June 21st
   • Los Angeles June 28th

The program features professional genealogists who solve problems regarding the inquirer’s family history. Additional information is at

Ancestry Adds 500,000 Gravestone Photographs to Collection
Ancestry has added to its collection more than 500,000 gravestone photographs which identify more than one million individuals. They can be found at The original source is The gravestones come primarily from Australia, Canada, England, France, New Zealand, Scotland and Wales. Data at the original source site is available at no charge.

Book: Nazi Persecution and Postwar Repercussions
Peter Lande reports that while the archives of the International Tracing Service in Bad Arolsen, Germany, have long been known to hold more information on the fate of Holocaust victims and survivors than any other source. Access to this treasure trove of information was virtually impossible until the November 2007 decision to open it, and its contents are only gradually becoming available. Suzanne Brown-Fleming's book, Nazi Persecution and Postwar Repercussions: The International Tracing Service Archive and Holocaust Research, offers the first comprehensive description of the structure/composition of this archive and provides a valuable guide as to how to conduct research at the USHMM, Yad Vashem or the European institutions where access is possible.

The book will be reviewed by Lande in the Spring issue of AVOTAYNU.

FamilySearch Adds More than 5 Million Records This Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, more than 5 million indexed records and images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Brazil, Denmark, England, Peru, Spain and the U.S. states of California, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and New Hampshire.

Not much is of interest to Jewish genealogists except perhaps indexes to Illinois and Indiana civil and county marriages. Major additions are Denmark Deeds and Mortgages (1572–1928) and United States War of 1812 Index to Service Records (1812–1815).

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.

Doing Republican Delegate Math in One Step
Confused about the delegate count in the race to be the Republican candidate for president of the United States? Steve Morse, author of “Searching for Ellis Island Passengers in One Step” and more than 100 utilities, has added to his website a chart that shows the current status of the Republican party candidates. The chart shows where the count stands now and how much each candidate needs to reach the magic number to be elected. All candidates having received delegates are included, even if the candidate's campaign has been suspended. Morse states that these numbers are updated each time new results are released. The site is at

All-Akkerman Database Created
There is now a searchable database of 5,000 records of persons related to the town of Akkerman (today Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi, Ukraine). They were extracted from several collections (Yad Vashem, Ellis Island, USHMM, business directories, etc.). The information is accessible on the JewishGen KehilaLinks site under the research menu or directly at This is yet another example of how volunteers have grown JewishGen databases to millions of records. If you do not already volunteer for JewishGen projects, sign up at

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
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