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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 19, Number 25 | June 24, 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.

ITS Places Online Post-War Files of Survivors of Nazi Persecution
The International Tracing Service (ITS) has placed online a large collection of documents on Holocaust survivors, former concentration camp inmates and former Nazi forced laborers. Numbering nearly 200,000, the files contain information on individuals and families who were under the care of the International Refugee Organization (IRO), ITS' predecessor organization in the post-1945 period. This is the first time the ITS has made such an extensive sub-collection of its archive available on the internet. The expansion of the ITS online archive will continue.

The files contain more than 900,000 individual pages, more than 580,000 names and in many cases ID photos. Only health records were excluded from the online publication. The files contain completed questionnaires. It was on the basis of these questionnaires that the IRO staff decided whether a person would receive support as a DP in the framework of the program.

Additional information can be found at

Search the database at Place the name or surname of the person in the box identified by the word “find.” It is possible to browse the collection, but due to its size it is very cumbersome.

Search all ITS digital collections at

The International Tracing Service (ITS), located in Bad Arolsen, Germany, is the largest archive for documenting Nazi persecution and the liberated survivors. Former victims of Nazism and their families receive information regarding their incarceration, forced labor and post-war Allied assistance. The more than 30 million documents in the ITS archives also provide the basis for research and education.

Free Genealogy-Relevant Sites for U.S. State and Local Agencies
Family History Daily has compiled a list of websites that have genealogically relevant data provided by state and local agencies. The institutions include state archives, historical societies, genealogical societies and others.

For each state and the District of Columbia, Family History Daily highlighted two of the best online research sites available—102 in all. All of these resources contain actual records that can be searched, as well as research guides and more.

The list is located at

Historic Aerial Photos of the United States
Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter reports that a website,, claims to be “home of the most comprehensive database of historical aerial photos of the United States.” After keying in a street address, the site displays a map of the area as it exists today. With the map there is a list of years for which the site has aerial photographs and topographical maps. Clicking on the year displays the photograph.

I was able to view many aerial photographs of my current home from 1934 when it was woods and farmland to 2014 when the area was fully developed with homes and industry.

There is no charge to view the results, but overlaying the map are gross watermarks making the map useless. The company will sell you a high-resolution map for a minimum charge of $60.

Additional information can be found at historic-aerials/#more-23198.

The Ancestor Hunt Lists College Newspapers Online
The Ancestor Hunt has a number of links to online U.S. college, university, specialty schools and high school newspapers. They note that some of these newspapers have only recent editions because it is likely there was no funding to digitize the older issues of the student newspapers.

The links can be found at

FamilySearch Adds More Than 12 Million Records This Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, more than 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 Albania, Chili, Denmark, Ecuador(†), England(†), France(†), Germany(†), Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, South Africa, Sri Lanka(†), Switzerland, and in the United States in Kentucky, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, and Utah.

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.

Reclaim the Records Requests Copy of New Jersey Death Index (1904–2017)
Reclaim the Records has asked for a copy of the New Jersey Death Index (1904–2017) which it claims it is entitled to based on the New Jersey Open Public Records Act (OPRA). A few years ago, the organization successfully acquired and published the New Jersey Death Index just for the years 1901–1903 from the New Jersey State Archives. This new request is to the New Jersey Department of Health. They have retained an attorney who has won a number of OPRA cases in court. If successful, they will place the index on the internet, accessible at no charge.

Additional information and future updates will be posted to

JOWBR Now Contains 3.33 Million Records and 594,000 Photos
The JewishGen's Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) now has 3.33 million records and 594,000 photos from approximately 7,750 cemeteries/cemetery sections located in 128 countries. The recent pre-conference update added 100,000 records and 34,000 photos. The JOWBR database can be accessed at When visiting a cemetery consider photographing the tombstones in the vicinity and submitting the photographs to the JOWBR project. Instructions can be found at Cemetery/Submit.htm

Memorial Plaques Database. The latest update brings the Memorial Plaques Database holdings to 177,500 records and 124,000 photos from 263 synagogues/institutions representing 11 countries. The database is located at

If you are a member of a synagogue or other organization with memorial plaques or yizkor lists, consider helping to grow this database. Information on submitting data is at

TheGenealogist Adds UK Change of Names Database
Jewish immigrants to the UK quite often Anglicized their names. Within the Mokotow family, names were changed to Marlow and Barnett. TheGenealogist has just released a Change of Names Database that covers information gathered from a number of sources including Private Acts of Parliament; Royal Licences published in the London Gazette and Dublin Gazette; notices of changes of name published in the Times after 1861 with a few notices from other newspapers; registers of the Lord Lyon (King of Arms) where Scottish changes of name were commonly recorded; records in the office of the Ulster King at Arms and also some private information. Interestingly, it does not include the Mokotow name changes.

Additional information can be found at

Ancestry (UK) Adds Aberdeenshire, Scotland, Electoral Records
More than three million Aberdeenshire electoral records have been made available to explore on The dataset contains details of eligible voters who were resident in this historic Scottish county between 1832 and 1976. Searchable by name, year and keyword, entries typically reveal the home address of the individual and the qualification that entitled them to vote. The records were compiled on an annual basis, meaning it is also possible to trace movements of ancestors in between census years.

The database is located at

Force War Records Site Has WWI Casualty Records
More than one million First World War casualty records are now available to explore on the website Forces War Records. The military genealogy site’s newly updated WWI Casualty Records collection allows subscribers to track details of British and Commonwealth soldiers who were injured on active service between 1914 and 1918. Searchable by forename and surname, the entries show the date on which the incident was recorded, soldier’s rank, regiment, service number and an indication of whether they were entitled to wear a Wound Stripe on their uniform.
Additional information can be found at

Who Is a Jew?
An ultra-orthodox member of the Israeli Parliament wants the government to establish a genealogy database that would be maintained by the Chief Rabbinate. The draft of the law states, “An existential threat looms over the Jewish communities in Israel and the Diaspora. In order to prevent the acceptance of fraudulent conversions, the Chief Rabbinate must establish a genealogy database listing every Jew who does not refuse to be listed in the database.” The Parliament member notes that, “With the database that would be established, every Jew can know [the status] of who he is marrying.”

The law is in reaction to another measure that would establish a new, independent conversion authority. State conversions would be removed from the auspices of the Chief Rabbinate, with a new Orthodox conversion council established to oversee all state-recognized conversions to Judaism in Israel. The plan would also grant formal recognition to Reform and Conservative conversions performed abroad.

Additional information is at

Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy: 2018 Edition
More a getting started guide than a beginner’s guide, it is meant to convince the reader that tracing one’s Jewish ancestry can be done. The resources described are primarily Internet resources. The Internet has revolutionized family history research. What used to take days or weeks now takes minutes or hours because of the wealth of resources on the Internet. It describes in detail such resources as JewishGen, Morse One-Step site, FamilySearch,, MyHeritage and many more sites. It alerts the readers to what types of documents of their ancestors will aid in their research—such records as birth, marriage, death, Immigration, census and naturalization records.

Cost is only $16.50 plus shippng. Addtional informaton, including the Table of Contents, can be found at

Nu? What's New? is published weekly by Avotaynu, Inc.
Copyright 2018, Avotaynu, Inc. All rights reserved

To change an e-mail address, send a request to

To subscribe to AVOTAYNU, The International Review of Jewish Genealogy, go to

To order books from our catalog, go to

To contact us by postal mail, write: Avotaynu, Inc.; 
794 Edgewood Ave.; New Haven, CT 06515

Telephone  (U.S.) : 475-202-6575