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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 18, Number 31 | August 20, 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.

Last Chance for Introductory Offer – See What You Are Missing
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Tomorrow, Monday, August 21, is the last day to take advantage of the unusual offer of receiving all 2017 issues of our quarterly, AVOTAYNU: The International Review of Jewish Genealogy, for half price; only $19.00. This offer also applies to people outside of the U.S./Canada where the regular price of $46 is reduced to $19.00—a 58% discount.
Act now! You will immediately receive the Spring 2017 issue and the remaining three issues—Summer, Fall, Winter 2017 editions—when they are published. Order at

Will There Be Problems with the 2020 U.S. Census Enumeration?
Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter notes some people are speculating that the 2020 U.S. Census will not be taken, as required by the Constitution. They blame bad budget planning and a lack of leadership as the primary cause of the problems.

The Constitution requires the United States government to conduct a census every 10 years to determine how many seats each state will have in the House of Representatives. In my opinion, this guarantees that there will be a 2020 census, because those states that will benefit from the redistribution will demand it be taken. What is possible, is that it will be an abbreviated census similar to the pre-1850 censuses of the country. In those days, only the head of households were named, and there was merely a tally of the number of men and women in the household.

You can read the Eastman column at act-now-to-save-the-2020-census/.

Hebrew University’s Index of Jewish Art Includes Photographs of Towns
The Center for Jewish Art at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has launched the world’s largest online database of Jewish art today. The Bezalel Narkiss Index of Jewish Art is a collection of digitized images and information about Jewish artifacts from all over the world. The online collection includes more than 260,000 images from 700 museums, synagogues and private collections in 41 different countries, as well as architectural drawings of 1,500 synagogues and Jewish ritual buildings from antiquity to the modern day.

Going to the site at and searching by town name reveals that the collection includes many photographs of synagogues, other Jewish buildings and cemeteries.

Additional information is at

Encyclopedia of Jewish Genealogy Adds 200 Additional Towns in Poland
The Blood & Frogs Encyclopedia of Jewish Genealogy has recently been updated to include 200 additional towns in Poland. This brings the number of towns in the Encyclopedia to more than 1200.

The Encyclopedia provides information or links to resources for more than 200 countries and 80 provinces. For country and province topics there are currently seven potential sections of resources: History, Genealogy, Cemeteries, Holocaust, Diaspora, Contemporary and Books. For cities, which currently exists only for Poland, there is also an additional section called General, which provides general (i.e. non-specifically Jewish) links for the city.

The Encyclopedia can be found at

New at
Ancestry has updated 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.

Updated Collections
U.S., Cemetery and Funeral Home Collection, 1847–2017
Georgia, Death Index, 1919–1998
U.S., Obituary Collection, 1930–2017
Tacoma, Washington, Obituary Index, 1882–2015

Lodz Names Added to USHMM Holocaust Survivors and Victims Database
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum recently added 68,009 name records to its Holocaust Survivors and Victims Database taken from the collection “The Elders of the Jews in the Lodz Ghetto.” You can request and immediately receive digital copies of the original documents in your email. Search at

JewishGen Plans to Award Grants
JewishGen has announced plans to stimulate new initiatives, productivity and creativity by issuing “Ignition & Signature Grants” that will result in additional records being accessible on JewishGen's databases, and to expand this effort beyond our traditional sources of material. Jewish genealogical and historical societies, as well as any community based organizations, such as a synagogues, schools and libraries, are encouraged to apply.

JewishGen will be offering ignition grants up to $5,000 and signature grants up to $25,000 for exceptional applications. Projects can focus on primary or secondary records, and are not restricted to any specific geographic location.

Applications are being accepted now through November 15, 2017. Winners will be announced in January of 2018. Additional information can be found at

2017 Pamela Weisberger Memorial Fund Awards Given
Gesher Galicia has announced its first Pamela Weisberger Innovation Award. The prize of $2,500 comes from the fund established by Pamela’s family, friends, and colleagues after her death in September 2015. It is given for “outstanding technology in support of genealogical research.”

This year's recipient is Banai Lynn Feldstein for “Crowd-Sourced Indexing.” With this advanced tool, genealogical groups can organize, work on, and track their entire projects in an easy-to-use, self-contained manner. It is a significant advance in streamlining a basic process fundamental in family history research. The program is free to use and will enable many more groups to engage in indexing projects.

The second award is a Pamela Weisberger Creative Grant to Jay Osborn, the technical innovator behind Gesher Galicia’s digital Map Room. This grant of $3,500 is awarded to individuals in the field of genealogy research who “show extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.” It is intended as an investment in a person's unique insight and in the potential for the future project development.

The awards were formally announced on July 24, 2017, at the Gesher Galicia SIG Meeting at the IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Orlando, Florida. For details about Pamela Weisberger, the Memorial Fund and the awards, go to about-gesher-galicia/pamela-weisberger-in-memoriam/.

International Tracing Service Receives Grant to Preserve Its Maps
Germany’s Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM) and the Culture Foundation of the German Federal States (KSL) have granted 20,000 euros towards restoring layout plans from concentration camps and maps showing the routes of death marches in the possession of the International Tracing Service.

Within the framework of this project, creases, tears and damages caused by adhesive tape and lamination will be removed from the large-scale maps in the ITS archive. The paper will also be deacidified. Many of the selected documents date from the Nazi period and were produced by the concentration camp administrations.

Additional information can be found 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 
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 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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