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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 18, Number 47 | December 10, 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.

Nu? What’s New? Has New Look
Those readers who use Microsoft Outlook will notice that the illustrations in Nu? What’ New? now appear to the right rather than just below the headline. This was always my intent. You can see it in archival copies of this ezine at I finally bit the bullet and researched the problem. It turns out that Outlook does not support the positioning HTML command my web page editor creates. I am now using the command supported by Outlook.

Reclaim the Records Motivates Ukrainian to Gain Access to Records
Lara Diamond reports on her blog that a cousin of Brooke Schreier Ganz, president and founder of Reclaim The Records, has a distant cousin in Ukraine who is trying to do the same thing there. Diamond states that Alex Krakovsky is working to digitize records from Ukraine's archives to be freely accessible to researchers across the world. However, some archivists are not allowing him to do this work, even though Ukrainian law clearly states that photography of records is permitted free of charge. So Krakovsky is taking the archives to court. He is suing the Zhytomyr archives for not allowing free access to and photography of records.

USHMM Survivors and Victims Database Continues to Grow
Peter Lande reports that the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's Survivors and Victims Database continues to grow, currently with 7,345,072 entries. Of these, 4,331,090 entries are publicly available on its website, with more than half linked to Instant Document Delivery. The remaining 3 million, and all records including those of the International Tracing Service, are available to Museum visitors, but are not on the web due to restrictions imposed by other organizations.

Instant Document Delivery is exactly what its name implies. If a resulting record has the statement, “You can request a digitized copy of the original document by submitting the Document Request Form,” click on the link, fill out the form, and you will receive the original source document in a matter of seconds in your email box.

The database can be searched

New Book: In Their Words: A Genealogists Translation Guide – German
The team of Jonathan D. Shea and William F. Hoffman have now published their fourth guide to translating genealogical records: In Their Words: A Genealogists Translation Guide – German. Previous books were devoted to translating records in Latin, Polish and Russian.

If you deal with German-language records, this book is a must to assist you in translating documents and more. The 665-page work is designed to help genealogical researchers find and understand German-language records that will tell them about the lives of their ancestors and relatives. The book’s features include:
   • Nearly 100 documents are illustrated–seven specifically Jewish—are analyzed, and translated, most with the handwritten parts repeated in modern Roman-style typeface to facilitate comparison.
   • a section on German grammar, phonetics, and spelling;
   • an 80-page chapter on using gazetteers and other sources to help locate ancestral towns and villages, as well as contact information for state and regional archives in countries where large numbers of Germans lived (Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Luxemburg, Poland, and Switzerland), including maps showing the modern administrative divisions of those countries;
   • a German letter-writing guide, to help you write to archives in German-speaking lands;
   • a 210-page vocabulary section, emphasizing archaic terms seen in old records. Every German word is given in Fraktur (the old Gothic blackletter typeface), Kurrentschrift, the old German handwriting) and modern italics, to help you get used to dealing with those old forms and recognize them more easily;
   • a 32-page chapter listing common German given names and their equivalents in other European languages;
   • a 19-page index designed to help you find information on any subject covered within the book.

Cost is $48 plus shipping. Additional information including a Table of Contents and how to order the book can be found at

Contribute to the SIGS
When deciding which charitable institutions to make your annual contributions, consider making a portion of your donation to the Special Interest Groups (SIGS) projects that are extracting records. Those associated with JewishGen can be found at Three SIGs have their own fund-raising efforts: Gesher Galicia, JRI-Poland and L
itvak SIG.

If you are from German-speaking lands, the world-renowned Leo Baeck Institute is worthy of a contribution. It has a vast library and archives and a genealogy-friendly atmosphere. Most of the LBI’s archival collections have been digitized and can be searched and viewed online at Donate to Leo Baeck at

Money isn’t the only way to contribute to the growth of Jewish genealogy databases. Contribute your time. There are numerous records waiting to be indexed. You have an especially valuable asset if you can transcribe records in the Cyrillic alphabet.

FamilySearch Adds More Than 2.5 Million Records This Week

A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, more than 2.5 million indexed records and images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. Most new items—more than 2 million—are for Denmark censuses; both indexes and images. Those identified with a dagger (†) as Christian-only records. They include records from Argentina(†), Denmark, England(†), Italy Sweden and the U.S. states of Georgia and Illinois. In addition, 224,000 records were added to the Billion Graves collection.

Most notable for persons with Jewish family history are an additional 330,000 Cook County (Chicago) death index records for 1878–1994,

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/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.

New Collections
New York, New York, Voter List, 1924
Colorado, Steelworks Employment Records, 1887–1979

Updated Collections
Louisiana, Statewide Death Index, 1819–1964
Massachusetts, Death Records, 1841–1915
Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1669–2013
Virginia, Death Records, 1912–2014
U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940–1947
Web: Multnomah County, Oregon Marriage Index, 1855–1919

The 1924 New York City Voter List only provides name and street address. Ancestry already has the 1925 New York State census online. If you can’t find a person in the 1925 census and do not know the street address, finding the person in the 1924 voter list would allow you to search by street address.

TheGenealogist Releases UK Outbound Passenger Lists for 1930s
TheGenealogist has just released more than 2.7 million UK outbound passenger lists for the 1930s. The records can be searched by name, year, country of departure, country of arrival, port of embarkation and port of destination. TheGenealogist states that this addition means they now have more than 19 million emigration records dating back to 1896. Additional information can be found at

TheGenealogist focuses on records for the UK. Many of their collections can be found on FamilySearch or Ancestry, especially vital records. One unique collection they have is an index for British naturalizations. This outbound passenger list collection is the most comprehensive.

Maps of 1910 London Now Online
TheGenealogist has placed online the 1910 Lloyd George Domesday Survey for the City of London and Paddington with plans to add other locations in the country. These maps and residential data, held by the National Archives, enables researchers to precisely locate their ancestor's house on large scale (5 feet to the mile) hand-annotated maps of London. Additional information is at 2017/1910-lloyd-george-domesday-survey-691/.

FindMyPast Claims It Has Largest Collection of British and Irish Newspapers
FindMyPast states they are the home to the world’s largest online archive of British and Irish newspapers. They add that in their pages, you will not only find the historical events your ancestors lived through, but also genealogical information, such as notices of birth, marriage and death, military commendations and more. The collection can be searched at FindMyPast is a fee for service organization. When you search their database, the results are an extraction of about the ten words before and after the results. To view the actual newspaper article requires a subscription.

“Google for Genealogy: Search Tricks to Tease Out Information”
Yet another article has been written about using Google for genealogy. If you consider yourself a Google maven (expert), this article is not for you. If you are relatively new to Google, it describes basic features that can expand your success in using the search engine.

The article is on the MyHeritage blog at

All Black Friday Orders Have Been Shipped
All orders from Avotaynu’s Black Friday sale have been shipped. Purchasers who live in the U.S. should receive their books in the next week. Those who live outside the U.S., it could take as much as 2–3 weeks.

Contribute to the Success of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy
Help support a dynamic institution that in its brief existence already has been the catalyst for such benefits to Jewish genealogy as the Beider-Morse Phonetic Matching System,  Sephardic DNA and Migration project, inventorying the Paul Jacobi Collection of 400 prominent Ashkenazic lineages, the Proposed Standard for Names, Dates and Places in a Genealogical Database, and a system for Integrating Genealogical Datasets.

Visit the IIJG website at and read about these developments, as well as  ongoing and proposed projects.

Make your tax-deductible contribution by credit card or PayPal at Click the Donate link. If you prefer, mail a check to Avotaynu Foundation,  794 Edgewood Ave., New Haven, CT 06515, USA. Make the check payable to “Friends of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy.” Donations are tax deductible for U.S. taxpayers.
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