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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 9, Number 24 | November 2, 2008

This edition is going to 8,271 subscribers

An unusual issue of Nu? What’s New? because of its diversity. There are items about Bukovina, Canada, England, France, Hungary, Israel, Poland, Ukraine and the United States.

Ancestry Unveils Its Jewish Family History Collection; Webinar Planned has launched its “Jewish Family History Collection” website. It is located at This Wednesday, November 5 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, I will be giving a Webinar (web-based lecture) introducing you all to the website and suggesting strategies on how to use it. Sign up for the Webinar to hear what I have to say. Just click here

The surprise announcement by Ancestry is that not just JewishGen databases have been added to the Ancestry collection. They also approached the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and now have two JDC Holocaust-related databases as part of the collection. Hopefully this is the tip of the iceberg in plans by the parent company, The Generations Network, to expand the Jewish collection. There are many other institutions like JDC that have collections of value to genealogy. Examples are HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society), American Jewish Historical Society, American Jewish Archives and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum—and that is just the United States.

Access to databases is primarily fee based, but the JewishGen and JDC data are free of charge. JDC is a Jewish rescue organization. Wherever there are Jews in the world in peril, the “Joint,” as it has been nicknamed, goes to the area and tries to resolve the problem, often by evacuating the Jews. For example, at the end of World War II, they assisted in relocating stateless Jews—Holocaust survivors—to countries outside of Europe. The two collections on Ancestry are Holocaust related. They are:
    • Jewish Transmigration Bureau Deposit Cards, 1939–1954 (JDC), a collection of records showing the amount of money paid by American Jewish citizens to support the emigration of friends and relatives from European countries during and after WWII.
    • Munich, Vienna and Barcelona Jewish Displaced Persons and Refugee Cards, 1943–1959 (JDC), a collection containing records of displaced Jews who were provided with food, medical care, clothing and emigration assistance by the JDC.

But there is a lot more genealogical data in the JDC archives. I know because there is a World War I record of a Charles Mokotoff sending money through the Joint to his mother Pesa who lived in Germany at that time.

For the past month, I have been working with Mike Daniels of Ancestry developing the Webinar and advising on the content of the Jewish Family History Collection web pages. I wrote the narratives that appear in the “Learn more” sections of the site. They are primarily meant for beginning genealogists or those genealogists new to the nuances of Jewish genealogy.

Join Mike and me at the Webinar on Wednesday for a tour of the site. There will be a 20-minute question/answer session after the lecture. To register, click here.

You can read the complete news release at Dick Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter site at

UK Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878
1960 has added a database of incoming passenger lists to the UK only from ports outside of Europe and the Mediterranean from 1878
–11888 and 1890–11960. There are a few records for European and Mediterranean ports, such as Hamburg (1,597 records), but that occurs only in the case where vessels originated outside of these areas and then picked up passengers in European or Mediterranean ports en route. Using the originating port as “New York,” the system indicated there are more than six million entries. Information listed on the passenger lists may include: name of passenger, birth date or age, port of departure, port of arrival, date of arrival, and vessel name. There is a Gitla Mokotow in the index who came to England in 1921, stated she was a citizen of Argentina, but planned to take up permanent residence in England.

The database can be directly searched at

1911 Census of England and Wales To Be Released Early
British censuses are normally in the public domain 100 years after they were recorded. The British Information Commissioner has announced that the 1911 census for England and Wales will be launched three years early. Scotland does not plan to release the information until 2011.

Some of the individual data will not be released early because it is considered personally sensitive. The full information will be available in 2011. The interim version will be available in 2009 through This will provide an online service enabling researchers anywhere in the world to search and download digital scans of images from the census. It will be both address and name searchable.

Complete information can be found at

France Lessens Privacy Restrictions of Records
A bill enacted last July in France has eased privacy restrictions on most genealogically relevant documents from 100 years to 75 years. This includes all vital records and census records. A complete list can be found at

Back Issues of Canadian Jewish Review Now Online
Back issues of the Canadian Jewish Review are available online with full-word indexing. The digitized images run from 1921 to 1966 with some years missing and other years lacking issues. An unusual feature for sites of this type is that it not only provides the actual digitize image of the periodical but also a text version of the page. This allows easy copying of the contents of the page. To search the Canadian Jewish Review, go to As the domain name implies, it is a multi-cultural site containing information about other ethnic groups. Sources include newspapers, oral histories, photographs, books, newsletters, legal documents, meeting minutes and other ephemeral materials. It may be wiser to do a broader search than just the one newspaper from its home page at

Odessa and Cherkassy Jewish Records To Be Indexed
Routes to Roots Foundation has signed an agreement with the Odessa Oblast Archives whereby the Foundation will index names from a collection of 4,505 heads of Jewish families in Odessa for the period 1894–1918. The searchable database will be added to the existing database at It will be possible to order copies of actual documents from the Odessa archives.

The Foundation plans a similar venture to index for the 1858 revisky skasky (census) for Cherkassy. This is a joint venture with the Cherkassy Oblast Archives and there will be instructions on the website as to how one can request digital copies of specific documents from the archives.

Routes to Routes Foundation has, by far, the most comprehensive list of Jewish records available in the archives of Eastern Europe. This includes the countries of Belarus, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland and Ukraine. To search the database, go to The results are for Jewish records only. Absence of information does not mean there is no information about ancestors. Records independent of religion may exist such as census records.

Entries from 1909 Bukovina Directory Now Online
A posting to the ROM-SIG Digest on JewishGen indicates that the 1909 Directory of Czernowitz and suburbs (Horecza, Kaliczanka, Klokuczka, Manasteryska, and Rosch), including Radautz and Suczawa has been indexed by Edgar Hauster. The list can be found at Scroll down to “1909 Directories Czernowitz and Suburbs” in the left column. Excel versions of the data can be found at

Wanted: Human Interest Articles for Winter Issue of AVOTAYNU
The Winter issue of AVOTAYNU is our human interest issue. Many years ago, Sallyann Sack and I wanted to recognize that there is more to genealogy than ancestor hunting. There is the human side of genealogy. The emotional reactions of a genealogist to discoveries in his/her family's history can be both happy and upsetting. There is the pride a researcher feels in successfully breaking down a brick wall. The discovery of long-lost family or linking to the family tree of another genealogist can be exhilarating. Our solution was to reserve a portion of the Winter issue each year to articles about the human side of genealogy.

Articles should be submitted to AVOTAYNU editor, Sallyann Amdur Sack at

An Excellent Chanukah Gift for Only $99
It is that time of year when you have to start thinking about gifts for Chanukah, which this year starts at sundown, December 21. In the next few issues of Nu? What’s New? we will feature books that we think would make perfect gifts for a friend or relative who has a Judaic library or as a gift to an institutional library. Or treat yourself.

In this issue we feature clopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust. This remarkable three-volume, 1,824-page work provides information about more than 6,500 communities, primarily in Continental Europe where Jews lived before the Holocaust. It traces the communities’ development through history. The stories and numerous photographs share small details of everyday life—the culture, politics, and faith that inspired the Jewish communities.

The multi-volume work originally sold for $325.00. sells it for $199.00. Barnes & Noble is selling it for $159.20. Through special arrangements with the publisher, we are offering it for only $99.00 plus shipping.

Ordering information plus a complete list of towns can be found at

Tel Aviv Chevra Kadisha Website Now Also in English and Russian—Sort Of
In 2006, the Tel Aviv Chevra Kadisha (burial society) created a web presence. (See Nu? What’s New? Volume 7, Number 5, April 18, 2006 ) The site was only in Hebrew. Now there are English and Russian versions of the site. But there is a problem. The evidence is that the searches must still be in Hebrew. At the English site, I tried the name Mokotov, the transliteration of the Hebrew version of my name, and got no hits. I then tried Cohen and got no hits. I then tried to search for the Hebrew version of my name, מוקוטוב, and got the four Mokotovs and one Mokotovski on their list. In addition, the Search button does not work with the Firefox browser.

The information online is about persons buried in the six cemeteries in the Tel Aviv area. Included is the name of the decedent, given name of father, date of death (both Hebrew and secular) and name of cemetery.

The site is located at It is shut down on Shabat and holy days. If you do not have a Hebrew keyboard, use the Stephen P. Morse English to Hebrew transliteration program located at

Wooden Tombstones of Poland
There is an interesting article about Jewish wooden tombstones of Poland written by Tomasz Wisniewski at

Hungarian Jewish Tourist Brochure available to Download
It was reported on the Hungarian SIG Discussion Group of JewishGen that the Hungarian Tourist Ag has published a full-color brochure that includes information about the history of Hungarian Jewry and sites of interest. Called “Shalom Hungary” it can be downloaded at The brochure includes names, addresses and phone numbers for synagogues and Jewish community organizations.

It’s Not Genealogy, But...
My friend, Evelyne Haendel, made me aware of magnificent website created by an Israeli photographer, Igal Marag, that has a large number of PowerPoint presentations showing his artistic ability. Most presentations are of places in Israel and are not limited to just Jewish themes. I particularly enjoyed the ones of the Churches in Jerusalem, the Tunisian synagogue in Akko (Acre) and Jerusalem of Holiness. The latter is a tribute to the three great faiths of the Western world. You can view the 25 presentations at

Help Grow the Shoah Victims’ Names Database
Yad Vashem wants volunteers who are willing to contact local institutions and individuals to grow the Shoah Victims Database whose principal documents are Pages of Testimony. With the aid of promotional materials Yad Vashem has developed, volunteers will reach out to survivors and their families and assist them in registering the names of Jews who they know were murdered in the Shoah. This will be done through synagogues, Holocaust centers, Jewish Community Centers, Jewish student organizations, senior centers and social service agencies. To volunteer send your name, address, phone number and e-mail address to with the subject heading "Names Volunteer"

To submit a Page of Testimony, there is a link on the left portion of the screen from the Basic Search page at Click the words “Submit Additional Names.”

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