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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 18, Number 28 | July 30, 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.

2018 IAJGS Conference to Be Held in Warsaw
For the first time in its 37-year history, the annual IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy will be held in Eastern Europe—in Warsaw, Poland—from August 6–10, 2018. Cohosts are POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews and Emmanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute, both located in Warsaw. The Marriott and Hilton hotels in the city will house the attendees but most of the activity will be at the POLIN Museum. Although it is only about a 15-minute walk between the hotels and the museum, there will be frequent shuttle bus service between the venues.

Organizers provided additional information about the conference this past week at the Orlando gathering. Included were:
   • Registration may start as early as October
   • All lectures will be in English
   • Room rates may be as low as $100/night
   • There will be activities for spouses and family members.
   • There will be accommodation of the needs of those who keep kosher. There are numerous kosher restaurants in Warsaw.
   • Taube Jewish Heritage Tours will provide custom tours for attendees both before and after the conference.
As various aspects of the conference become official, they will appear on

2019 conference. It was unofficially reported that the 2019 conference will be in Cleveland, Ohio.

HIAS Index 1955–2016 Now Online
An index to persons assisted by the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) is online at the American Jewish Historical Society site It is divided into two datasets:
   • Arrival records approximately 1955–1980
   • Arrival records approximately 1980–2016

The first list includes an image of the actual index card for the individual and may contain a wealth of information including names of persons accompanying the head of the household, birth dates and destination. The second list just includes name, birth country and case number.

Search options are Exact, Fuzzy and Soundex. Note that the soundex option follows the American Soundex rules, not Daitch-Mokotoff.

Miriam Weiner Donates Polish Lists to JRI-Poland
In her more than 28 years of working in the Polish archives (and in the archives of neighboring countries), Miriam Weiner has amassed a large collection of archival inventories, name lists, cemetery lists and other unique data and information that has not been seen outside of the archives in Eastern Europe. Weiner has now provided JRI-Poland with boxes of these materials accumulated through the years. A partial list of the contents can be found at JRI-Poland now has the daunting task of processing and adding these records to their website.

Weiner has also agreed to allow selected articles and chapters from her award-winning book, Jewish Roots in Poland, to appear on the JRI-Poland website. Included are chapters on 28 of the largest Jewish towns in Poland providing an overall picture of those towns.

Weiner is one of the pioneers of contemporary Jewish genealogy. Possibly her greatest accomplishment was creation of an inventory of the Jewish record holdings in the archives of Belarus, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland and Ukraine. This was accomplished by numerous visits to the archives in these countries cajoling the head archivists to create a list of their Jewish records. The results exist today at the Miriam Weiner Routes to Roots Foundation website at The search engine is at For each town, there is a description of what record types exist and where they are located. This site has many other features of interest to Jewish genealogists with roots in Eastern Europe.

Last year, Weiner entered into a similar agreement with the Belarus SIG. Information about that project can be found at The Belarus records can be searched at

Latvia Birth Database Launched
More than 62,000 birth records have been added to JewishGen’s Latvia Database. The transliteration from the Russian originals was taken on by the late Christine Usdin and Stephen Weinstein completed the project by reorganizing, collating and correcting the material in order for it to be searchable in its current form. The database is accessible at

Berlin/Frankfurt Address Books Online
A posting to JewishGen notes that the following Berlin directories are online:
   • Jewish Address Book (Judisches Adressbuch Berlin) for 1931 at
   • Adressbuchs for Berlin from 1799–1943 are at angebote/berliner-adressbuecher.html.

The University Library of Frankfurt/Main has placed online 110 address books from 1834–1943. The announcement (in German) is at The directories are at (Thank you, Peter Heuss.)

FamilySearch Adds Nearly 2.8 Million Records This Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, nearly 2.8 million indexed records and images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Argentina (church records), Brazil, Italy, Paraguay and the U.S./Canada states/provinces of British Columbia, Illinois, Louisiana, Texas and Washington State.

The majority of the additions are nearly 2M index records to the Washington State Death Index (1855–2014).

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.

FamilySearch Webinars for August
FamilySearch has published its list of webinars planned for August. A sample of those to be presented include:
   • Using the FHL Catalog Effectively
   • Genetic Genealogy: An Introduction to DNA • Researching in Prussian Poland
   • Organizing Your Family History Research

The complete list can be found at If you are unable to attend a class in person or online, most sessions are recorded and can be viewed later online. To access these, go to the archive at

New at
Some of the Ancestry record groups added recently are shown below. 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 Collections
South Carolina, County Marriages, 1910–1990
10,000 Vital Records of Western New York, 1809–1850

Updated Collections
U.S., Obituary Collection, 1930–2017
U.S., Cemetery and Funeral Home Collection, 1847–2017
1920 United States Federal Census
1880 United States Federal Census
1890 Veterans Schedules
Pennsylvania, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1800–1962
1900 United States Federal Census

Statistics about Ancestry. At the annual conference, Ancestry noted they add 2M records to their site every day. There are now 20 billion records in nearly 33,000 collections.

Two Possibly Useful Articles on the Ancestry Blog
Ancestry has recently posted two articles worth noting. “Is AncestryDNA Helpful for Jewish Genealogy?” is located at “When Is It Time to Hire a Professional Genealogist?” is located 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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