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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 17, Number 13 | April 3, 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.

Vast Array of Databases to Be Available at
36th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy

One of the many, many benefits of attending the annual International Conference on Jewish Genealogy is the vast array of fee-based databases available at the conference at no charge. Among the databases attendees will have access to are the Ancestry family of websites (including,, and; FindMyPast; GenTeam; MyHeritage family of websites (including, and World Vital Records);; the New England Historic Genealogical Society;; and many more.

Yad Vashem and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum will also make available through dedicated computers their extensive archives that are normally accessible only at their facilities. In addition, on Wednesday, August 9, for one day only, the uniquely comprehensive ProQuest newspaper archive will be available in its entirety.

The 36th annual International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) International Conference on Jewish Genealogy will be held at the Sheraton Hotel in the heart of downtown Seattle. The conference runs from August 7–12. Banks of computers in the Sheraton’s resource room will provide access to these paid subscription and “behind the wall” databases, all at no charge. Take advantage of the conference’s early registration period, which ends April 30. It offers the lowest fees, with savings of $55 for the full conference. The conference website is at

ICRC Places World War 1 Prisoners Information Online
The International Committee of the Red Cross has placed online information about 10 million people—servicemen and civilians—who were captured and sent to internment camps during World War I. The collection can be found at The site includes sample cards by country of service. It includes the prisoner-of-war record of Charles De Gaulle.

During the First World War, 8 million soldiers and 2 million civilians, mainly those living abroad in enemy countries or areas under enemy occupation, were taken prisoner and interned in camps for several years. ICRC established the International Prisoners-of-War Agency in Geneva, to which the warring States submitted, more or less regularly, lists of prisoners.

For each name listed, the Agency made out an index card. The cards were then classified by nationality and the detainee’s military or civilian status and filed alphabetically in 29 different card indexes. These indexes also contain enquiry cards, drawn up on the basis of data taken from the thousands of written requests for information submitted daily by relatives of the missing, which the Agency indexed before destroying the correspondence.

Original information provided by Jan Meisels Allen and Jeanette Rosenberg

ProQuest Will Be Distributing Shoah Foundation Testimonies
The USC Shoah Foundation's Visual History Archive is a video collection of more than 53,000 testimonies of survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust and other crimes against humanity. These testimonies have been difficult to view because they are available only in a 53 locations throughout the world. Now ProQuest and the Shoah Foundation have embarked on a partnership where ProQuest will begin distributing the Visual History Archive to colleges and universities this summer. The vast majority of the testimonies contain a complete personal history of life before, during, and after the interviewee’s firsthand experience with genocide.

The complete announcement can be found at

Reminder: Who Do You Think You Are? Returns to TLC on April 3
 Who Do You Think You Are? returns to TLC every Sunday at 9pm ET starting April 3. It will feature family history journeys with Aisha Tyler, Scott Foley, Katey Sagal, Molly Ringwald, Lea Michelle and Christopher Noth—likely in that order.

The program features a celebrity researching his/her family history based on research done by Ancestry and archivists in locations of ancestry.

FamilySearch Adds 14 Million Records This Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, 14 million indexed records and images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Belgium, Czech Republic, Demark, Japan and the U.S. states of South Carolina and Texas. The unusually large number of additions are mostly from Czech Republic School Registers 1799–1953, (1.1M records); Denmark Deeds and Mortgages 1572–1928, nearly 3M records; Find a Grave Index, 7.5M records; and United States War of 1812 Index to Service Records 1812–1815, 1.1M records.

FindAGrave index has an unusual subset to their collection. Apparently they extracted Memorial to the Jews Deported from France which contains information about 70,000 Jews deported from France (1942-44). Find a Grave has declared they are all buried at the Shoah Memorial in Paris. In reality, most died at Auschwitz. Also included are survivors, so the list includes living people.

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.

FindMyPast Adds Records for England and Australia
More than 527,000 school records from eight separate archives across England have been added to the National School Admission Registers & Log-Books 1870–1914 collection at FindMyPast. The collection, which was originally launched in September 2014 is now complete.

Details contained within the log books from the period leading up to World War I include attendance records, reasons for absence, visitors to the school and the daily activities of school life. The admission registers provide many useful details for family historians including birth date, admission year and the school they attended. Also included may be parents' names, father's occupation, exam results and any illnesses that led to absence from school. The collection can be found at The announcement is at

Eight Steps for Protecting Water-Damaged Photos
The Ancestry blog includes an article on “Eight Steps for Protecting Water-Damaged Photos.” It is a quick guide to steps you can take to minimize long-term damage to photos and paper heirlooms. All examples shown were captured during a salvage effort after the Central Texas floods of 2015. The article is at

Czernowitz Database Now Includes 128,576 Records
The Czernowitz BMD Index Database now includes 128,576 records and are searchable at The project includes births, 1855–1933; marriages, 1871–1941; deaths 1855–1933; and other records: 1853 – 1940. The project is a work in progress.

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.

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