Gary Mokotoff, Genealogical Lecturer

Gary Mokotoff is one of the foremost lecturers and authors on Jewish and Eastern European genealogical research. He has lectured at virtually all annual Jewish genealogical conferences and at most Federation of Genealogical Societies and National Genealogical Society national conferences in the past ten years. He is the first person to receive the Lifetime Acheivement Award of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS). As past president of IAJGS and publisher of
Avotaynu, the International Review of Jewish Genealogy, Mr. Mokotoff is in the forefront of developments in access to genealogical records in Central and Eastern Europe as well as Jewish records in general. He is the author of Where Once We Walked: A Guide to the Jewish Communities Destroyed in the Holocaust, How to Document Victims and Locate Survivors of the Holocaust and Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy.

Contact Information:
Write: 155 N. Washington Avenue; Bergenfield, NJ 07621
Phone (days): (201) 387-7200
Fax: (201) 387-2855

Fees: Contact for information.

    Lecture Topics
  1. Researching Your Jewish Roots. This lecture is designed for general Jewish audiences who have not yet caught the genealogy bug. It dispels the two biggest myths of Jewish genealogy: (1) no one in my family remembers, and (2) all the records were destroyed in the Holocaust. It is a show-and-tell lecture where Mr. Mokotoff demonstrates from research into his own family history that (1) people do remember, you just have to ask the correct questions, and (2) there is a wealth of information available--you just have to know where to find it. One illustration used is the death record of Mr. Mokotoff's great-great-great-greatgrandfather.

  2. Holocaust Research: Documenting Victims, Locating Survivors. Useful for a general Jewish audience or genealogists, this lectures steps you through the basic resources available for the Holocaust era. Mr. Mokotoff has documented more than 250 members of the Mokotoff family murdered during the Holocaust; he uses many of the documents he acquired as examples of the kind of information available.

  3. The Changing Geography of Central & Eastern Europe. In the past 200 years, the political changes in this area have caused the names of countries and towns to change. This lecture offers guidance on how to locate ancestral towns whose names have changed.

  4. Recent Advances in Jewish Genealogical Research. There are constant major improvements to Jewish genealogical research as new resources are discovered. Meant for audiences of intermediate and advanced genealogical researchers.

  5. Fundamentals of Researching Jewish Families. Designed primarily for a non-Jewish audience of genealogists, it provides an overview of the nuances of Jewish genealogical research and what resource are available today.

  6. The Human Interest Side of Genealogy: Three Interesting Stories. This is a banquet talk which gives three stories of how genealogical research has impacted the lives of people who have traced their family history.

  7. Beginners Workshops on Jewish Genealogy. An all-day workshop that gets beginners going on a wide variety of resources available. Many topics are covered including how to organize your material, using computers for genealogical research, how to interview, the changing geography of Europe, and a multitude of resources including birth, marriage and death records; census records; immigration and naturalization records; Holocaust documentation; and much, much more. A workbook is provided to all participants.

    Genealogical Accomplishments of Gary Mokotoff

    President, International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (1989-95). Established AJGS as advocate of the interests of Jewish genealogy to government agencies, Jewish archives and libraries, genealogical groups, LDS Family History Department and other organizations. Encouraged the establishment of Jewish genealogical societies throughout the world; the number of societies grew from 35 to 56 during his tenure. Established an IAJGS Gift Fund to assist Jewish archives and libraries in providing improved access by genealogists to their records. First person to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award (1998) by IAJGS.

    Publisher, Avotaynu, The International Review of Jewish Genealogy. Founded in 1985 as a 20-page semiannual, it has grown to 68-page quarterly that is one of the most respected magazines in genealogy. It is considered by many to be the definitive source on the status of access to genealogical records in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The parent company, Avotaynu, Inc. publishes books of interest to Jewish genealogists.

    Member, Board of Directors, Federation of Genealogical Societies (1991-2000; treasurer 1995-1998; vice-president development 1999-2000, member 2003- ). As chair of the Forum Advisory Committee, guided the FGS magazine, Forum, through the transition from unpaid to paid subscription. Recipient of the George E. Williams Award (1994) for his accomplishments on this project. Recipient of the David S. Vogels Award (1997) for his contribution to FGS. Production manager, FGS Forum (1994-present)

    Member, Board of Directors, JewishGen (1996-2002), the principal presence of Jewish genealogy on the Internet.

    Member, Board of Directors, Association of Professional Genealogists (2002-present), treasurer (2002-present).

    Member, Board of Directors, Jewish Genealogical Society (New York) (1981-95), Treasurer (1985-89). During his tenure on the Board, membership grew from 150 to 900 members, beginners workshops were initiated, the first National Seminar on Jewish Genealogy was held in 1982. He was on the committees of the 1982, 1985 and 1986 seminars. He was responsible for the publishing and marketing functions of Genealogical Resources in the New York Metropolitan Area (more than 3,500 sold to date).

    Member, Board of Directors, International Institute of Jewish Genealogy (2004- )

    Member, Advisory Committee, Douglas E. Goldman Genealogy Center, Beth Hatefutsoth, Tel Aviv, Israel (1986-89). Assisted in promoting, worldwide, the family tree database of the Center.

    Member, Advisory Committee on Russian-American Genealogical Archival Exchange (RAGAS) which established the first exchange of genealogical data between the U.S. and Russia.

    Author, How to Document Victims and Locate Survivors of the Holocaust (Teaneck, New Jersey: Avotaynu, 1995), a "how to" book on Holocaust research.

    Co-author, Where Once We Walked: A Guide to the Jewish Communities Destroyed in the Holocaust (Teaneck, New Jersey: Avotaynu, 1991; Revised edition, 2002), a gazetteer of some 23,500 town in central and Eastern Europe where Jews lived prior to the Holocaust. The book was named "Outstanding Reference Book of the Year" for 1991 by the Association of Jewish Librarians. It is the standard gazetteer of Eastern European towns in many libraries and archives throughout the world.

    Author, WOWW Companion (Teaneck, New Jersey: Avotaynu, 1995), an index to towns in Where Once We Walked that permits you to locate towns within the vicinity of towns.

    Co-author, Getting Started In Jewish Genealogy (Bergenfield, New Jersey: Avotaynu, 1999). Primer on Jewish genealogical research.

    Co-editor, Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy (Bergenfield, New Jersey. Avotaynu 2004)

    Author, "Jewish-American Genealogy" chapter of The Source, Revised Edition; author of "Business Management of Journals and Newsletters" chapter of Professional Genealogy; author of numerous articles on Jewish and Eastern European genealogy in NGS Quarterly, FGS Forum, Ancestry Newsletter, and Avotaynu.

    Teacher, Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, 1997.

    Seminar co-chair, Third International Seminar on Jewish Genealogy, Salt Lake City, Utah, July, 1991.

    Seminar co-chair, Fourth International Seminar of Jewish Genealogy, Jerusalem, Israel, April, 1994.

    Seminar co-chair, 20th International Seminar on Jewish Genealogy, Salt Lake City, Utah, July, 2000.

    Co-developer, Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex System, considered by many to be the most significant improvement to soundexing systems since the creation of the Russell soundex system in 1918. It is the standard soundex system for all computerized Jewish genealogical databases. The United States Holocaust Memorial Musuem in Washington, DC, and the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) have declared it to be the standard soundex system for their databases.

    Creator, JewishGen Family Finder, a registry of over 65,000 family surnames and ancestral towns being researched by some 10,000 Jewish genealogists throughout the world.

    Creator, Jewish Genealogical People Finder (Family Tree of the Jewish People), a registry of family trees compiled by Jewish genealogists throughout the world.

    Creator, Consolidated Jewish Surname Index, a database of more than 500,000 different Jewish surnames taken from 34 different databases.

    Creator of numerous other Jewish genealogical computer databases including "Name Changes in the Palestine Gazette," "Index to Memorial to the Jews Deported from France," and others. All told, database projects under his direction have totalled more than one million entries.

    Creator of the computer aspect of the National Registry of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, a registry of some 100,000 Holocaust survivors and their children. Information about survivors includes place of birth, town before war and locations during war. This database is now located at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

    Consultant on indexing projects of Russian Consular Records and index to the book First American Jewish Families by Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern, FASG.

    Advisory Board: Ultimate Family Tree genealogy software system (1996-1998).

    Advisory Board: Ancestry, Inc. (1996-present)

    Special Contributor for genealogy: Prodigy (1993-1999).

    Lecturer at NGS and FGS conferences, most of the 22 annual seminars of Jewish Genealogy, regional genealogical societies, Greater New York City Jewish interest groups and beginners workshops on various subjects of Jewish genealogy including Holocaust research, geography of central and eastern Europe, status of genealogical resources in central and eastern Europe, and getting started.

    Member, Association of Professional Genealogists.

    Member, Board of Directors (1995-2001),
    Jewish Book Council. Judge: Holocaust category, National Jewish Book Awards.

    Member, Board of Directors (1996-present),
    Association of Jewish Book Publishers.

    Copyright © 2003 by Gary Mokotoff

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