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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 12, Number 29 | July 24, 2011

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.
More Information About Release of the U.S. 1940 Census
 The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has uploaded the 1940 Enumeration District (ED) maps to their website. Stephen P. Morse and associates have created an easy-to-use finding aid to locate the map for a town that has multiple EDs. The new utility, called "Viewing 1940 ED Maps in One Step," is at

Morse’s utility caused me to experiment with the search engine at the NARA site located at Using the keywords “1940 census” and the name of any town in the U.S. produced an image of the page on which the ED number is provided. If the town name is not unique (most aren’t), add the state and/or county name to limit the results. Maps are provided for towns with more than one ED, but also available are the books that identify each town within a county and a typed list of each ED and its boundaries. This is important for towns with only one ED. Searching for “1940 census Harrington Park New Jersey” identified the only ED for the town: ED 2-172.

On the ED maps, the borders of each ED are heavily marked in ink or pencil obliterating the street name of the boundary. If you are not familiar with the street names in the town, a contemporary map of the town can be useful.

Other NARA Digital Images
Since this is the web site for all digital images placed at the NARA site, I searched for other material. Searching for “Dallas” provided numerous photos of the city. Also included was a book, World War II Honor Roll of Dead and Missing—State of Texas, produced by the War Department in 1946. Realizing it was a federal government publication, I searched for “World War II Honor” and found there are lists for each state.

Searching for “Warsaw” produced 1940 census digital images associated with every town in the U.S. named “Warsaw.” Using the Advanced Search option and including in the “without the words” field the words “census” removed these images. What was left included a number of Warsaw ghetto photographs and some World War II documentary movies about Warsaw (downloadable if you want to spend the time). Searching for “London” produced no results.

This is the tip of the iceberg. One could spend hours browsing the site for potentially useful images.

More on FamilyTreeDNA Probabilities
In the last issue of Nu? What’s New? I discussed the matter of Y-DNA matches with other contributors to the FamilyTreeDNA database. I noted that while the probability of being closely related to a specific person matching your DNA may be considered low, when there is more than one person with the identical match, the probability increases that one of the persons is closely related.

There is another consideration in using the probabilities. As stated on the FTDNA page which shows the percentages, the probabilities displayed are based on the assumption that the two matching individuals do not share a common ancestor within 1 generation. To put it in the reverse way, it is based on the possibility that two matching people could have a common ancestor that is two generations away. This is an unreasonably low value for the premise—that the two persons might share a common grandfather—unless it is a case of an adoptee trying to determine his birth father. We all know the descendants of our father. We almost all know the descendants of our paternal grandfather. Most Jewish genealogists know all the descendants of their great-grandfathers.

The FTDNA website provides the ability to change the number of generations that it is known two people do not share a common ancestor. When the number of generations is increased from 1, the probability numbers go down! In one case I am monitoring, a person whose DNA had an exact match at 12 markers with 390 other men, the probability of their being a common ancestor in 4 generation was 33.57% and 55.88% in 8 generations if that common ancestor could be as close as 2 generations. Changing the no-common-ancestor value from 1 to 3 reduced the probability of a common ancestor within 4 generations to 18.5% and 45.86% in 8 generations.

The lesson to be learned is do not take the default probability values, but first exclude as many generations as possible based on your research. Then follow the formula presented in the last edition of Nu? What’s New? to determine the probability of being related to any of the close matches. Applying these procedures to my own case demonstrates that of the 8 men who are at 67 markers-genetic distance 3, there is a 98.2% probably I am related to them within 8 generations.

USHMM Establishes a Holocaust Survivor & Victim Database
The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum maintains a “Holocaust Survivor & Victim Database” at The database includes personal records from the museum’s extensive collections of archival and library materials, oral histories, artifacts, photographs, film and videos and other materials that could assist in researching the fates of individuals during the Holocaust. It currently contains six million names. The results include name, sex, date/place of birth (when provided in the source) and a reference to the source.

Latest Conference News: Lithuanian Ambassador to Address Attendees
The Honorable Zygimantas Pavilionis, Lithuanian Ambassador to the United States, will address attendees of the International Conference on Jewish Genealogy on Wednesday evening, August 17, at 7:00 p.m. He will speak on “The Importance of Jewish Heritage to the History of Lithuania.” In that address, the Ambassador will discuss the current Lithuanian government’s renewed revitalization of Jewish heritage in Lithuania. A question and answer session will follow his presentation.

The address is part of the Conference’s “Embassy Experiences” program, in which six other embassies also are participating. At each of these embassy visits or addresses, high-ranking representatives first will provide background information about these countries, and then allow time for questions.

Other noted speakers at the conference include David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, who will speak at the conference Gala on Thursday evening, August 18, and Sara Bloomfield, the director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, who will deliver the keynote address on the opening night, Sunday, August 14. Her talk is titled, “Honoring the Victims: It Takes a Village”

The Conference website is

Order Avotaynu Books Now to Pick Up at Conference
Avotaynu will be selling more than 60 books and map sets at the conference. For the most part, we will have only one copy of each book and will ship to you, free of charge within the U.S., any books you purchase with an order of over $50. If you plan to buy books and prefer taking them with you, e-mail us at We will bring an extra copy and reserve it for you. If you live outside the U.S., send your order now to the above e-mail address. We will reserve copies of the books you wish. You will save time and shipping costs by taking the books with you. Shipping costs to places outside the United States are very high so there will be a substantial savings.

A complete list of our books can be found at

Consider a Gift Certificate for a Genealogy Friend
One of our customers came up with an inventive idea. She is giving Avotaynu gift certificates to two of her friends who are attending the Washington conference. Now they can choose what they want from the more than 60 books and maps we will be offering there.

To create a gift certificate, just transfer funds to using PayPal or pay by credit card using our shopping cart at We will create a custom certificate that you can pick up at the Avotaynu booth, or we could mail it to you or your friend.

FamilySearch Additions for the Week
Below are the only additions of images and/or indexes to FamilySearch that I have concluded may be of interest to Jewish genealogists. The complete list can be found at

To search indexes, use the search engine at To view images, go to the same web page and then click the appropriate “Browse by Location.” Narrow it down to the country or state and then click the appropriate record collection.

Index Only
Germany, Westfalen, Minden Citizen Lists, 1574-1902. New index
U.S., Michigan, State Census, 1894. New index.
U.S., Texas County Tax Rolls, 1846-1910 Added records to existing collection.

Images only
Belgium Civil Registration, 1795-1920 Additional images
Canada, Quebec Notarial Records, 1800-1900 Additional images
U.S., Arkansas, Draft Registration Cards, compiled 1948-1959 Additional images
U.S., California, San Mateo County Records, 1856-1967 Additional images
U.S., Louisiana, Second Registration Draft Cards, compiled 1948-1959 Additional images
U.S., Maine, State Archive Collections Additional images
U.S., Maryland, Register of Wills Books, 1792-1983 Additional images
U.S., Mississippi, Tippah County Marriages, 1858-1979 New image collection.
U.S., Montana, Rosebud County Records Additional images
U.S., New York, Orange County Probate Records, 1787-1938 Additional images
U.S., North Carolina, State Supreme Court Case Files, 1800-1909 New image collection.
U.S., Washington State, Army National Guard Records, 1880-1947 Additional images
U.S., Wisconsin, Probate Estate Files for Green County, 1848-1933 Additional images

Do You Have Information about Former Synagogues of Manhattan?
Ellen Levitt, author of the Lost Synagogues of Brooklyn, is planning books on the other boroughs of New York City. Her book, The Lost Synagogues of The Bronx and Queens is in production and will be available in the Fall. These books are picture essays about former synagogues, many of which are now churches. Now she is working on her third work, Lost Synagogues of Manhattan. If you are familiar with ex-synagogues in Manhattan, please write to her in care of Avotaynu identifying the name of the synagogue and exactly where it was located. Also provide any reminiscences of your involvement with the synagogue. Write to This is a second request for information. If you responded to the first request, there is no need to reply again. The Lost Synagogues of Brooklyn describes 91 former synagogues and includes photographs of how they appear today. Many are now churches. Additional information about the book, including a complete list of the synagogues, is at

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