Nu? What's New?
The E-zine of Jewish Genealogy
Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 6, Number 15 | October 2, 2005

Happy New Year to all!

JewishGen and Avotaynu Servers
The computers that act as servers for JewishGen and Avotaynu have been up and down since they were moved out of the path of Hurricane Rita. They were temporarily moved inland to Palestine, Texas, but now are back in League City, Texas.

The servers that hold all the data files were not functioning as late as Sunday afternoon. They now appear to be working.

John Martino, Consummate Volunteer
John Martino of the Italian Genealogy Group (IGG) has a mission: to make all publicly available New York City records of use to genealogists accessible worldwide. To date, he and his host of volunteers have made more than 9 million records available. Some are indexes located on the Internet, others are now part of the microfilm collection of the LDS (Mormon) Family History Library.

Three major undertakings account for 6.7 million records. A New York City Death Index 1891-1936 (3.3 million) and a Groom Index 1909-1936 (1.8 million) are hosted at the IGG site at The third is the Old Timers Draft Registration from World War II which has been microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, the record acquisition arm of the Mormon Church. These cards were discovered at the New York branch of the National Archives a few years ago. It was known as the Old Timers Draft Registration because it included men aged 45-65 in 1942. The New York branch holds cards for men living in New York City, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. They were organized alphabetically by draft board making it very time consuming to locate an individual. John assembled dozens of volunteers and the cards were alphabetized by county. Lucille Gudis of the Jewish Genealogical Society (New York) suspected that comparable cards existed at other branches of the National Archives. This led to the microfilming by GSU of Old Timers Draft Registration cards for Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia.

Also available on the Internet at the IGG site is an index to more than 36,000 men and women who were naturalized by virtue of their service in the U.S. military in World War I, II and the Korean War. All were naturalized in the New York area. Veteran discharges for Nassau and Suffolk counties, 1890-2001, will be available on the Internet soon.

Projects nearing completion by Martino and his volunteers are brides indexes for Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens, all of which should be posted to the Internet by the beginning of the year. A Suffolk County groom and bride index will be on the Internet too. Compilation of a brides index for Manhattan, estimated to be about 500,000 women, will be started soon.

An index to naturalizations, including denial of naturalization, for Eastern District (Brooklyn), 1865-1957, should be available on the Internet by the beginning of the year. Southern District (Manhattan) naturalizations, 1907-1960, and denials are in the process of being worked on.

The group is also working on a list of ship arrivals, 1820-1897, which will identify the name and arrival dates of ships to New York harbor during that period. It will not show individuals, just the ship names.

The mild-mannered Martino has a politely assertive style that has allowed him to convince the holders of these records that he and his volunteers should have access to them so they can be indexed.

Persons interested in volunteering for these various projects should contact Martino at You do not have to live in the New York area to participate. Persons can make tax-deductible contributions to the projects. They go to offset out-of-pocket expenses. Contact Martino for further information.

News from 1920 Census Index and Florida Ship Arrivals now has an everyname index for the 1920 census. If you were unable to find a family using the name of the head of household, try searching using the name of another member of the family.

Many of our immigrant American ancestors departed this world after retiring to Florida, but if you suspect that they may have arrived in the United States through Florida, now includes in their immigration collection Florida Passenger Lists, 1924-1948. The two ports of entry were Pensacola and Panama City.

The fee-for-service site is located at

Ukraine SIG Offers Recipes
Cooking has invaded the Jewish genealogical world. The Ukraine Special Interest Group is publishing recipes for familiar Jewish cuisine at There are recipes for sweet and sour fish, kichel, gefilte fish, kreplach, hamentaschen, poppy seed cookies, rugelach, meatballs and sauce, bean & barley soup, chicken soup, and potato latkes.

Recipes for Jewish foods vary by region. In the past there have been scientific studies of Jewish migratory patterns that included how gefilte fish was prepared in various regions.

Last Chance for Discount Offer
October 7 is the last day to take advantage of Avotaynu's offer to buy the recently published Shaltiel: One Family's Journey Through History at a 25% discount. The book traces the ancestry of this distinguished Sephardic family back to King David. The author is Moshe Shaltiel-Gracian who spent years of research in uncovering the history of the Shaltiel family. This included traveling to many countries including Spain, France, Israel, Greece, The Netherlands and the United States. Shaltiel notes in the book that he found ancestors almost everywhere--from Babylonian rulers to cousins of Charlemagne, Annie Oakley's husband, Holocaust survivors, an Israeli general and a deputy mayor of Chicago. All of his discoveries, he states, have been "woven together into a single tapestry that is vast, colorful and historic, presenting a panorama of the Sephardic Diaspora and how the Shaltiel family participated in its history."

The book lists for $35.00, and, until October 7, you can purchase it for $26.25 plus shipping. Ordering information and the complete Table of Contents can be found at

Last year, Avotaynu published another book about a family of Davidic descent, The Lurie Legacy, by Neil Rosenstein. Information about his book can be found at

What Is the Most Universal Jewish Surname?
What is the most "universal" Jewish surname? Cohen? Levy? Miller? If you use Avotaynu's Consolidated Jewish Surname Index (CJSI) as the guideline, there is only one surname that appears in 38 of the 42 databases that make up CJSI. The name is Simon.

Five surnames appear in 37 of the 42 database: Adler, Berger, Blum, Solomon and Wolf. Nine more appear in 36 of the 42 databases: Baron, Cohen, Gold, Goldberg, Klein, Levy, Miller, Rosenberg, Rubin and Stern.

CJSI is a database of 700,000 surnames that appear in 42 different name-oriented databases. It is located at

AOL Users: Font Size Too Small?
Periodically I receive messages from AOL subscribers stating the print size is too small to read Nu? What’s New? easily. There is an AOL setting change that will make the problem go away. In AOL go to Settings, then Text, and then Font. Increase the font size and the problem will be solved.

Poor Bernard Kouchel
Bernie Kouchel is one of the pioneers of Jewish genealogy. He is the founder of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Broward County (Florida). He was on the JewishGen Board of Directors for many years. JewishGen honored Bernie by declaring the popular ViewMate system "The Bernard Kouchel Viewmate Project." He is one of my advisors on the Mormon/Jewish controversy and is the author of the JewishGen Infofile about the controversy which is located at

Bernie recently discovered that he is listed Florida Death Index, 1936-1998, located at Bernie wailed that not only is the announcement of his death premature, but he added that now he has to worry that the Mormons will baptize him.

Nu? What's New is published biweekly by Avotaynu, Inc.
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