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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 11, Number 3 | January 31, 2010

This edition is going to 8,546 subscribers

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.
Online Information about 10,000 European Jewish Cemeteries
An organization, Lo Tishkach Foundation, has developed an online database of more than 10,000 Jewish cemeteries located throughout Europe. It also includes information about mass burial sites in Eastern Europe. Many entries included pictures of the cemetery as it exists today.

The current inventory by country is: Austria (66 cemeteries), Belarus (298), Bosnia and Herzegovina (28), Bulgaria (31), Croatia (82), Czech Republic (419), Denmark (16), Estonia (28), Finland (4), France (263), Germany (2401), Greece (31), Hungary (1313), Ireland (3), Italy (66), Kosovo (1), Latvia (169), Lithuania ( 417), Luxembourg (5), Macedonia (5), Malta (4), Moldova (41), The Netherlands (244), Norway (2), Poland (1453), Portugal (13), Romania (870), Serbia (103), Slovakia (415), Slovenia (8), Spain (26), Sweden (6), Switzerland (28), Turkey (50), Ukraine 1666), United Kingdom (196)

The site is located at Touch the “Database” tab to open a pull-down menu with the option to search the database. The Search tab on the home page is used to search the web site, not the database.

The Lo Tishkach European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative was established in 2006 as a joint project of the Conference of European Rabbis and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. It aims to guarantee the effective and lasting preservation and protection of Jewish cemeteries and mass graves throughout the European continent. Lo Tishkach is Hebrew for “do not forget.”

Register Now for the 30th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy
Registration is now open for the 30th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy which is being held at the newly built JW Marriott Hotel Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE from July 11–16, 2010. The Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles is the host. Full registration prior to May 1 is $265 with spouse/partner an additional $150. There are also discounts for full-time students (age 19 or older) or those persons 18 or younger. It is also possible to register for on a daily basis.

Register at The complete schedule of rates including the cost for late registration can be found at

The conference is the premier event of the year for Jewish genealogy. It is anticipated that more than 1000 people will attend to hear presentations by renowned scholars, archivists and research specialists from around the world. The conference will offer films, methodology workshops, evening musical and dramatic performances, and opportunities to network and schmooze with a friendly, global community of Jewish genealogists. The resource room will be staffed by representatives from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Shoah Foundation, Steven Spielberg Visual History Archive, Jewish Genealogy Learning Center in Warsaw and Yad Vashem, providing attendees with one-on-one assistance with their research.

There are also lunches and dinners sponsored by Special Interest Groups (SIGs), Breakfast-with-the-Experts, Midnight with the Mavens, computer lab and tours of the Los Angeles area.

Persons planning to arrive early can take advantage of two pre-conference, all-kosher, welcoming dinners with speakers and a special Shabbat-friendly learning session on Kabbalah with author, Arthur Kurzweil, on Saturday afternoon, July 10.

At the Thursday evening (July 15) IAJGS awards banquet, Canadian singer Mitch Smolkin will perform "Rexite on the Radio: Live from the Golden Age of New York's Yiddish Broadcasts." He will croon the songs of the "Yiddish Frank Sinatra," accompanied by Russian concert pianist, Nina Shapilksy.

A description of the conference hotel with a link to hotel reservations can be found at

The conference has an e-mail newsletter. Subscribe to it at Login required.

Who Do You Think You Are Coming to Israel
The popular television program Who Do You Think You Are is coming to Israeli television Channel 1. The first episode will be broadcast with Gabi Gazit and will air Thursday, February 4 at 21:00. On subsequent Thursdays at the same time are Tal Friedman, February 11; Ehud Knoller, February 18; Shifra Horn, February 25; Michal Yanai, March 4; and Professor Yuval Yovel, March 11.

As described in the Canadian version of the show, Who Do You Think You Are? is a “genealogy series in which well-known personalities set out to discover their family roots. The series combines the allure and appeal of celebrity with the intrigue of uncovering secret, tantalizing tales. Each half hour episode combines the intimacy of observational documentary, the revelation of a well told detective story, the fascination of biography and the excitement of big picture history. The individual journeys into family history reflect the sweep and drama of Canada's past.”

The show originated in Great Britain and has already aired or will air in Australia, Canada and the United States.

Mount Olives Cemetery Graves to be Indexed
The graves at the world’s oldest Jewish cemetery—that on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem—are in the process of being indexed and placed on the Internet at Approximately 20,000 of the estimated 200–300,000 graves have been indexed to date. For notable people, there is biographical information. There is an option for anyone to upload data and photographs for a given person.

Massive vandalism of the cemetery took place from 1948-1967 when the area was under Jordanian control. Tens of thousands of graves were desecrated. A road was cut through the cemetery which destroyed hundreds of Jewish graves, some from the First Temple Period. After the Six-Day War, restoration work began, and the cemetery was re-opened for burials.

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Further information about the project can be found at

JewishGen Uses Video for JOWBR Online Education
In its first use of video, JewishGen has developed a “how to” screencast (short video) to teach people how to submit data and photos to the JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR). The ten videos, all less than five minutes, explain how to make a complete and successful JOWBR submission. The screencasts can be found at There is also a written “how to” for JOWBR at

Museum of Family History Adds Lodz Ghetto Deaths
The Museum of Family History has added the names of about 1,400 people who died in the Lódz Ghetto and were buried in its cemetery. The list is located at Plans are to add an additional 500 burials sometime this Spring.

If you are unfamiliar with this site, it is worth a visit. It is a virtual, multimedia, and interactive site designed for those who are interested in learning more about modern Jewish history. Start at the home page Then jump immediately to the site map where you can select from more than 400 exhibits. The entire site is designed like a museum with floor plans, theaters, dining facilities and a bookstore. Go to and view the floor plan of the Main Floor, Second Floor, Upper Floor and Music Pavilion. For example, on the extreme left of the Main Floor plan are the country exhibits: Austria, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, Scandinavia, Spain and Ukraine. In the center of the main floor is the Family History Theater which links to audio/visual presentations at the site.

Browse this site. You will undoubtedly find items that will enhance your family history research.

25th Anniversary Sale: 25% Discount on Guide and WOWW
Avotaynu is 25 years old this year, and we decided to start the year with a sale of our two landmark books: Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy and Where Once We Walked: Revised Edition (WOWW) for all Nu? What’s New? subscribers. They are a requirement for any basic Jewish genealogy library. For a limited time—until February 15—we are offering these books at a 25% discount. The Guide and WOWW for just $63.75 each plus shipping.
Just enter Coupon Code "DISC25" at checkout on the page that lists the items bought.

The Guide is a 624-page book that is the definitive guide to Jewish genealogical research. It is written by more than 60 authors, all experts in their own field. The list of authors is a veritable “Who's Who in Jewish Genealogy.” Its more than 100 chapters cover all important aspects of the rich body of information available to do Jewish genealogical research. Each chapter in “Researching by Country of Ancestry”—there are more than 50 such chapters— typically has: (1) history of the Jewish presence in the country, (2) records that are available, (3) how to access records, (4) address of repositories and other institutions, (5) bibliography, and (6) Internet addresses. The book is of immense value to both the novice and the experienced researcher. The reviewer for the American Library Association stated the Guide is “...a beginning and advanced guide for anyone seriously researching Jewish family heritage.”

Ordering information, the Table of Contents and a sample chapter can be found at Important: When you check out,
enter Coupon Code "DISC25" on the page that lists the items bought.

The award-winning Where Once We Walked is a 736-page gazetteer of more than 23,500 towns in Central and Eastern Europe where Jews lived before the Holocaust. It includes an additional 17,500 alternate names for these towns including Yiddish, pre-World War I, interwar and post-World War II names. The root entry for each town shows these alternate names, the latitude/longitude, often the Jewish population before the Holocaust and citations for as many as 50 books that reference the town.

WOWW was the first major application of the Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex Code. For all 41,000 names there is an index in the back of the book that lists the names by how they sound rather than how they are spelled.

Ordering information, the Table of Contents and a sample chapter can be found at
Important: When you check out, enter Coupon Code "DISC25" on the page that lists the items bought.

This is a limited item offer for these books. The deadline is February 15. Take advantage of this offer now to expand your library to include these two important books.

Join the Global Effort to Recover the Names of Shoah Victims
Join the ranks of Yad Vashem’s worldwide network of volunteers working in one-on-one outreach efforts with Holocaust survivors and members of their generation to recover the names of Shoah victims before they are lost forever. For ideas and resources on how to launch a names recovery campaign in your area, visit Yad Vashem’s Community Outreach Guide for updated program information on the project in Israel and in Russian speaking Jewish communities around the world.

Yad Vashem has provided a 10-minute Pages of Testimony tutorial video to learn how to help survivors and others from their generation to fill out Pages of Testimony. To volunteer for the project or for more information contact

 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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