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Gary Mokotoff is a noted author, lecturer and leader of Jewish genealogy. He has been recognized by three major genealogical groups for his achievements. He is the first person to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS); recipient of the Grahame T. Smallwood Award of the Association of Professional Genealogists; and the Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern Humanitarian Award of the Federation of Genealogical Societies.
He is the author of a number of books including the award-winning
Where Once We Walked, a gazetteer that provides information about 23,500 towns in Central and Eastern Europe where Jews lived before the Holocaust, How to Document Victims and Locate Survivors of the Holocaust, and Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy.
Mokotoff is also known for his application of computers to genealogy. Among his accomplishments is co-authorship of the Daitch-Mokotoff soundex system; the JewishGen Family Finder, a database of ancestral towns and surnames being researched by some 70,000 Jewish genealogists throughout the world and the Consolidated Jewish Surname Index.
He has been on a number of Boards of Directors including the Federation of Genealogical Societies, JewishGen, Association of Professional Genealogists, Association of Jewish Book Publishers and Jewish Book Council.

Genealogical Accomplishments of Gary Mokotoff

President, International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (1989–95). Founding president. 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. has published more than 75 books of interest to Jewish genealogists.  Five of these books have won awards. In 2004, the Association of Jewish Libraries awarded Avotaynu its "Body of Work" award for the collection of books it has published in the area of Jewish genealogy.

Member, Board of Directors, Federation of Genealogical Societies (1991–2006; treasurer 1995–1998; vice-president development 1999–2000, member 2003–2006 ). Production manager, FGS Forum (1994–2010). 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. Recipient of the Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern Humanitarian Award (2006) to "recognize the lifetime contributions of a rare individual whose positive personal influence and example have fostered unity in the genealogical community, provided leadership to its individual members, and helped make family history a vital force in the community at large."

Member, Board of Directors, JewishGen (1996–2002), the principal presence of Jewish genealogy on the Internet. Member Board of Governors (2009
2017) Co-chair Board of Governors (2009–2014).

Member, Board of Directors, Association of Professional Genealogists (2002–2005), treasurer (2002–2005). Winner of Grahame T. Smallwood Award for contribution to the organization: 2006. Awarded life-time membership for contribution to genealogy: 2008.

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 4,500 sold to date). 

Member, Founding Committee, International Institute of Jewish Genealogy, Jerusalem, Israel. (2004– )

Member, Advisory Committee, Douglas E. Goldman Genealogy Center, Beit Hatfutsot, 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. (1989–1994)

Author, How to Document Victims and Locate Survivors of the Holocaust (Teaneck, N.J.: 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, N.J.: 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, N.J.: 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, N.J.: Avotaynu, 1999). Primer on Jewish genealogical research. Sole author, revised editions (New Haven, CT: Avotaynu, 2016)

Co-editor, Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy (Bergenfield, N.J.. Avotaynu, 2004). The book won Honorable Mention in the Reference Book category of the National Jewish Book Council. 

Editor, Every Family Has a Story (Bergenfield, N.J.: Avotaynu, 2008). Tales of how genealogical research affected people's lives.

Editor, Nu? What's New?, the e-zine of Jewish genealogy (2000– )

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

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 Museum 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 more than 500,000 family surnames and ancestral towns being researched by some 100,000 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 700,000 different Jewish surnames taken from 424 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 totaled more than one million entries.

Creator of the computer aspect of the National Registry of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, a registry of more than 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.

Teacher, Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, 1997.

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: (1996–present). Author of the "Where Do I Begin?" narrative of the  "Jewish Family History Collection" at

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

Lecturer at NGS and FGS conferences, most of the 36 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. Awarded lifetime membership in 2008.

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

Member, Board of Directors (1996–2001),
Association of Jewish Book Publishers.

Computer Software Career

1959–1963. IBM Corp Applied Programming Department. Developed systems software that IBM delivered with its first commercial computer, the IBM 1401. Part of the team that designed and wrote 1401 SPS, Autocoder and FORTRAN,

1963–1965. U.S. Army. Installed the first computer and Fort Dix, New Jersey. Achieved the rank of SP-5 in two years. Received commendation for work at Fort Dix.

1965–1968. IBM Corp Commercial Analysis Dept. Developed IBM's strategy for marketing software in its competitive environment.

1968–1993. Data Universal Corp. President of software company that focused on serving the retail chain industry. Installed the first computer at such retail chains as Linens n' Things. The Childrens Place, Bed Bath & Beyond.

Received two certifications while in this field: Certified Data Processor (1986) and Certified Systems Programmer (1985)

Copyright © 2017 by Gary Mokotoff
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