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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 18, Number 24 | June 18, 2017

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.

Happy Father's Day!

Ceremony in Piła, Poland, to Recognize Town’s Yizkor Book
Eleven years ago, Avotaynu published a yizkor (Holocaust memorial) book titled History of the Jewish Community of Schneidemühl: 1641 to the Holocaust by Peter Cullman. Schneidemühl was Cullman’s mother’s ancestral town which today is in Poland and named Piła. The book was discovered by Piła native, Agnieszka Kin, who concluded the book was so important that she initiated an effort to translate it into Polish.

The project is now completed and, on June 19, there will be a formal ceremony at the Session Hall of Piła County to recognize Cullman and his book. Among the attendees will be Rabbi Michael Schudrich the Chief Rabbi of Poland.

Additional information can be found at historia-zydo-w-pile.pdf. It is in Polish. Use a translator such as Google Translate to convert the document to your native tongue.

Yizkor books are typically written by a group of Holocaust survivors from the town being memorialized in the book. In rare instances one individual writes a yizkor book. Avotaynu has published two such books. In addition to the Piła book, there are:
   • History of the Jewish Community of Schönlanke 1736–1940 (Cullman’s second yizkor book)
   • Between Galicia and Hungary: The Jews of Stropkov

Avotaynu has also published four books that are the history of the Jews of a specific town/region:
   • Jews of the Kaišiadorys Region of Lithuania
   • Jews of Kopcheve
   • Tide & Wreck: History of the Jews of Vardar Macedonia
   • Until the ‘Final Solution’: The Jews of Belgrade 1521–1942

USHMM “History Unfolded” Project
The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) has an ongoing project to identify American newspaper accountings of 32 different Holocaust-era events that took place in the United States and Europe. Called the “History Unfolded” Project, people are requested to submit articles they find to a national database, as well as information about newspapers that did not cover events.

The project seeks to determine what was possible for Americans to have known about the Holocaust as it was happening and how Americans responded. Participants look in local newspapers for news and opinion about these Holocaust-era events. Examples of the events include the 1933 “Nazi Boycott of Jewish Businesses” and “First Public Reports of the Auschwitz Extermination Camp” in 1945.

Additional information, including how to join the project, can be found at

Every Family Has a Story For Only $19.99 Extended Until Tomorrow
The deadline for purchasing Every Family Has a Story: Tales from the Pages of AVOTAYNU for only $19.99 (regularly $37.00) has been extended until tomorrow, June 19. The book consists of 72 articles that have appeared in our journal, AVOTAYNU, each story focusing on the human side of genealogy—how genealogists have been personally affected by their research and how the research of genealogists has affected others.

You must use a special web page to take advantage of the offer: At the site is the Table of Contents and a sample story.

All 72 stories will make delightful reading. Order now!

FamilySearch Adds More than 1.6 Million Records to Their Collection
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, more than 1.6M indexed records and images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Argentina, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Italy, Lesotho, Namibia, Peru, Portugal, Russia (Simbirsk revision lists), South Africa (church records) Spain and the U.S. states of Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Texas and Vermont.

Most notable is nearly 1M indexes to Michigan obituaries (1820–2006) and Vermont naturalization records (1908–1987).

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.

New at
Ancestry has added the following record groups at their site. Note that they do not indicate how many entries have been added. Announced collections may not be complete for the dates specified and will be added at some later date.

New Collection
Nebraska, Marriage Records, 1855–1908

Updated Collections
Washington, Marriage Records, 1854–2013
Indiana, Marriage Certificates, 1917–2005
Iowa, Marriage Records, 1880–1937

USCIS Webinar on “Disloyalty, Naturalization, and World War I” Planned
As part of the U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization Service (USCIS) History Office’s ongoing commemoration of the 100th anniversary of World War I, the Service will hold a webinar on “Disloyalty, Naturalization, and World War I.” The webinar will examine the Bureau of Naturalization’s loyalty investigations during the War and the Bureau’s efforts to revoke citizenship from naturalized citizens it deemed disloyal. In the webinar, you will learn about the Bureau’s wartime activities through primary-source examples of loyalty investigation files and cancelled certificate of naturalization files.

To join the webinar, find the June 29 webinar at Webinars%20Schedule, and click “Attend Session” just before it starts at 1 pm Eastern on Thursday, June 29. The webinar will not be recorded for future viewing.

Attend the 37th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy
23–28 July 2017  • Walt Disney World Swan Resort  • Orlando, Florida

   • More than 250 lectures and workshops
   • SIG meetings and luncheons
    Birds of a Feather meetings
   • Gala banquet
    Access to subscription-only online databases
   • Film Festival
    Network with other genealogists
   • Consult with the experts

Registration and additional information at

Nu? What's New? is published weekly by Avotaynu, Inc.
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