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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 19, Number 1 | January 7, 2018

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.

Index to 1897 Russian Census Head of Households in Kyiv Guberniya Online
Professional genealogist Sarah Nadia Lipes has placed online an index to heads of households in Kyiv guberniya found in the 1897 Russian Census. It is located at Information provided is surname; given name; patronymic; age; and fond, document and page numbers. There are approximately 50,000 entries. The search engine uses a “Starts with” algorithm. Searching for “Kagan” also produces results for “Kaganovich.”

Lipes stated that the project is a work-in-progress, and she expects “to add many thousands of additional names in coming weeks and months.” She recommends researchers read the instructions page at before attempting a search. That page has, for example, the transliteration scheme used to go from the Cyrillic to the Latin alphabet.

For a fee, Lipes will provide a photocopy of the original census document which includes full family information.

The project was funded by a grant provided by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., host of the American genealogy show Finding Your Roots. Gates had a person of Ukrainian ancestry on his show and provided documents to demonstrate the person’s ancestry. Lipes informed Gates that the research was faulty and provided him with the correct documents. Gates was so impressed by Lipes work, that he donated his honorarium for speaking at the recent IAJGS Orlando conference to make it possible to place the Kyiv census records online.

Warsaw Conference Open for Registration
Registration is now open offering an early bird price for full-paying conference attendees for the 38th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy to be held from Sunday, August 5, 2018 through noon on Friday, August 10, 2018 at the Hilton Warsaw Hotel & Convention Centre. The conference website can be reached at for more information and a link to the registration form. Read the Registration Overview and Terms of Conditions before registering. The early bird price will be in effect until April 28, 2018 for full-paying attendees and their significant others.

The official conference language will be English. The program will include over 150 presentations on a variety of subjects including available archival material, research methodology and the history of Jewish communities throughout Central and Eastern Europe. Presentations will be aimed at everyone, from first-time conference attendees to veterans of IAJGS conferences, and from beginner to expert level genealogists.

The conference will begin officially on Sunday with an opening reception and program at 5 pm. Prior to that there will be morning lectures on local archival resources and how to use the conference mobile device app, walking tours of Warsaw, and an afternoon “ShareFair” including experts from all over Central and Eastern Europe. More to come about programming at a later date.

All official conference events (lectures, panels, receptions and workshops) will be held at the Hilton Warsaw Hotel. Hotel registration will be available shortly. Rooms at the conference hotel will be guaranteed only with proof of conference registration. The special conference price will include free wifi, access to the Holmes Place exercise club, and a breakfast buffet.

Canada Removes Restrictions on Access to Census After 92 Years
The Canadian Parliament has enacted legislation to remove restrictions regarding public access to census records. In 2005, Parliament enacted a law that allowed individuals to opt out of having their information released to the public when a census is released after 92 years. Furthermore, failing to answer the question was deemed to mean the person was opting out.

This law has now been reversed. Starting with the 2021 census, all information will be made public after 92 years. However, for censuses taken in 2006, 2011, and 2016 and for the 2011 National Household Survey, the government will honor the rules set at the time and records will be released only where consent was given.

Additional information can be found a

GenealogyIndexer Adds German Business Directories
GenealogyIndexer has added a large number of German business directories to its site. The years range from 1801 to 1987. The site now has 1,063,000 pages from 2,145 historical directories (business, address, telephone, etc., mostly from Central and Eastern Europe), 114,000 pages of 256 yizkor books (memorials to Jewish communities destroyed in the Holocaust), 32,000 pages of military lists (officers, casualties, etc., mostly from the Russian Empire and Poland), 45,000 pages of community and personal histories, and 24,000 pages of Polish secondary school annual reports and other school sources. It is estimated that 100 million entries exist on these pages.

The site is located at

New Year's Present: FamilySearch Adds 12 Million Records This Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, 12 million indexed records and images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. Those identified with a dagger (†) are Christian-only records. They include records from Brazil, Cape Verde, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, France(†), Ghana(†, Guatemala, Italy, The Netherlands, Peru and the U.S. states of Kansas and Louisiana. It includes nearly 6.5M indexes to Netherlands Public Records. In addition, United States Passport Applications (1795–1925) has been updated with an additional 150,000 indexes.

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.

GenSoftReviews Announces Genealogy Software Users Choice Awards for 2017
GenSoftReviews has announced what it considers the top 25 genealogy software programs for 2017. They consist of 13 Windows programs, 3 Mac programs, 4 programs built for Windows, Mac and Unix and 5 online programs. No handheld programs were included in the list.

I was unaware there were that many systems available. Consequently, it is more a list of all genealogy software programs available. It even includes Personal Ancestry File, which was developed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who stopped support in 2005.

The announcement can be found at An analysis of each system can be found at

NEHGS Complete Collection Accessible Until January 10 at No Charge
The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) is making their complete collection accessible at no charge through January 10. They indicate there are 1.4 billion names in their collection. NEHGS was founded in 1845 and they state they are one of the largest resources for family history research in the U.S. Search their collection at

MyHeritage Offering to Help Solve “Family Mysteries"
MyHeritage is offering to provide a bit of family history research at no charge. They state that “many people run into brick walls in their genealogy research.” A more appropriate expression would be that “most people run into brick walls.” Send your family mystery to for a chance to have it solved. Their team of researchers will help a select few solve their family mysteries.

Essay on Sharing Costs for Research with Family Members
Are you finding that the costs of family research are exceeding your budget? Would you like to hire a professional genealogist but find the cost too high? An article on the Ancestry blog discusses the latest rage in fund raising: crowdfunding.

Topics include:
   • Identify possible interested parties
   • Determine the scope of the project
   • Don’t be timid about asking
   • Accept non-financial contributions
   • Let children help, too
   • Don’t forget about DNA testing
   • Discuss what you’ll get for your money

The article can be found at

Library Archives Canada States We Are Now In the Digital Age
Library Archives Canada (LAC) states they are in an era where digital collections are surpassing analog collections in size. A recent inventory of their digital material revealed a vast and varied collection, both online and in physical media such as floppy disks, CDs and DVDs. Official federal publications are now primarily in digital format, since the government publishing regulations switched in 2013 to allowing online formats only. In addition, for the first time in its history, LAC received a private donation with 90 per cent of the collection in digital file format.

The LAC Digital Archive in the Preservation Centre serves as the central repository for its digital collections. Currently they preserve more than five (5) petabytes of digital material. Five petabytes of data, they state, would be equivalent to 1,338 meters (4,390 feet) of DVDs stacked on top of one another.

You can read the article at digital-preservation-at-the-crossroads/.

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.

 Avotaynu Online is free of charge. 

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