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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 14, Number 16 | April 21, 2013

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.

Past issues of Nu? What's New? are archived at
JRI-Poland Begins Linking Its Index to Actual Records
Jewish Records Indexing – Poland has started its previously announced plans to link their 5 million
indexed records to the actual digital images of documents in Polish archives. The first major collection comes from fond 300 of the AGAD - Archiwum Glowne Akt Dawnych (Central Archives of Historical Records) in Warsaw. More than 700,000 records are now linked to images.

When using the JRI-Poland index at, if there is notation "View Image" in the leftmost column, it means the image is now online. Write down the contents of the “Akta” column. This is the consecutive entry number in the AGAD register. Then click "View Image.” This may not bring you to the exact page of the document but it will be close. The last four digits of the URL is the page number of the sub-collection. Increasing/decreasing the value will take you to the next/previous page.

Example. Searching for persons named “Terner” from the town of “Kolomyya” produces 70 results, one of which is Lazar Terner, born in 1897 in Kolomyya. The record number (Akta) is 92. Clicking “View Image” displays birth entries 85–88 (link here). Entry 92 is on the following page. To get to that entry, change the four-digit number at the end of the URL from “0022” to “0023.” This displays entries 89–92.

There is a major advantage to these highly structured URLs: You can browse the collection by changing the value in the URL and searching the collection page by page. (There are other methods to browse the collection. I found this method to be the easiest.) This may be useful when an entry cannot be found in the JRI-Poland index but the approximate date of the event is known.

Preliminary Program of 2013 Conference Now Online
Planners of the 33rd annual IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy have placed a preliminary program on their website at It includes lectures, Special Interest Group luncheons, and computer workshops. The program can be searched in a number of ways: by title, speaker, date, experience level, type of presentation (e.g., lecture or workshop), topic category, and geographical focus. For example, there are 13 events that include Hungarian information and 13 on the topic of “Genetics and DNA Research.”

Some of the notable speakers include:
   • Ward Adriaens - Head of Archives, Kazerne Dossin (Memorial, Museum and Documentation Center of the Holocaust) , Mechelen, Belgium,
   • Dr. Lenka Matusikova - Archivist, Deputy Head of the First Department (responsible for the pre-1848 state and church archival holdings) of the National Archives in Prague, Czech Republic
   • Olga Muzychuk - Deputy Head of the State Archival Service of Ukraine
   • Zsuzsanna Toronyi - Head of the Hungarian Jewish Archives
   • Yochai Ben Ghedalia - Director of the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People

Historians and experts from England, Germany, Ireland, Lithuania, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the U.S. will provide the historical context to our ancestors' lives and the methodologies to find them. Also, there will be speakers who regularly lecture at IAJGS conferences, many of whom have more than 20 years experience in Jewish family history research.

There also will be many hands-on computer workshops (both Mac and
PC) and workshops on photo identification and preservation, on document restoration, and on various languages (German, Russian, Polish and Hebrew). Continuing the tradition of previous conferences, there will be an Exhibitor Hall (Avotaynu will be one of the exhibitors), Resource Center, author events, and book signings throughout the week.

Not available until about mid-May is the purchase of optional fee-based items including meal events (Breakfast with Experts, SIG Luncheons, Thursday night banquet), computer workshops and tours.

Register for the conference now! The early-bird registration period ends on April 30. Go to the home page at The conference is being held from August 4–9 in Boston at the Park Plaza Hotel & Towers.

Boston University Adds Jewish Genealogy to Its Curriculum
Since 2008, Boston University has had a curriculum leading to a “Certificate in Genealogical Research.” (See Nu? What’s New? article.) It now has added a course in Jewish genealogical research to the program. The instructors, both Certified Genealogists, are Nancy Levin and Rhoda Miller. The course will be held at the university’s Charles River Campus in Boston July 29–August 2, the week before the annual conference.

The course will provide researchers with the tools, resources, strategies, and background information specific to Jewish genealogical research. Among numerous topics, participants will learn about working with foreign languages and alphabets; naming patterns and traditions; border changes; Jewish cemetery research; Holocaust research; and research websites. Country-specific research and documents will be discussed.

To register and find additional information about the course, go to Information about the total program is at Free Marriage Search Ends Today
Access to marriage records at no charge ends today, Sunday, April 21. It can be accessed at It not only includes indexes for many U.S. states but also, at a minimum, records from Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands and the UK (using the “Levy Test” discussed in the April 7 issue of Nu? What’s New?).

JDC Records from Post-WW II Period Now Online
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee has placed online their post-World War II New York 1945–1954 collection. This collection contains more than 2,800 files, including policy memos, telegrams, correspondence generated by JDC’s New York Headquarters, and eyewitness reports from JDC field staff working in displaced persons and refugee camps in Germany, Austria and Italy. The database can be searched at In some cases, the actual documents are shown. Additional information about the collection is at

Cape Town Jewish Burials Online
The Cape Town, South Africa, Jewish Cemeteries Maintenance Board has online a list of deceased from the city. It is at Summary information provided includes full name, Hebrew name, and year of death. Clicking on an individual adds date of death reckoned by both the secular and Hebrew calendar, cemetery and grave number, affiliated synagogue (if any), gender and whether the person was a Cohain or Levite.

New Website: Digital Public Library of America
Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) was launched this past week. It is a project to make the holdings of America’s research libraries, archives, and museums available online and free of charge. It is located at (how is that for a short URL!) and currently contains 2.4 million records. The book portion includes out-of-copyright works or those provided with permission of the copyright owner. As a consequence, most books date from before the 1920s.

Since 2.4 million is a small number compared to the potential of this resource, much is the information is from isolated collections. Searching for “Jews” produced 407 results. Of these, 50 were from a collection of the Zionist Organization of America located in the South Carolina Digital Library - College of Charleston. Another Jewish entry was a book, The Jews of Eastern Europe, from the Brandeis University Library and published in 1921 by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. I found it to be a fair description of the status of Jews in post-World War I Europe. There are many oral histories in the Jewish collection.

Free Webinar on Photo Preservation
IAJGS Vice President Jan Meisels Allen notes that the American Library Association is offering a free webinar on preservation of family photographs. The webinar is scheduled for 2pm Eastern time, Tuesday, April 23, and lasts for one hour. The presenter is Debra Hess Norris the Chair of the Art Conservation Department of Delaware and Professor of Photograph Conservation. The presentation offers basic guidance on the care and preservation of family photographs from nineteenth-century tintypes to contemporary color prints. Strategies for preservation, such as proper handling, storage and display techniques, will be shared. Information, including how to register, is at

Museum of History of Polish Jews Opens
Virtual Shtetl Now Documents More Than 2,3000 Towns
On April 19, the Museum of the History of Polish Jews opened its doors and immediately began its cultural and educational programming. Planned events include concerts, lectures, films, guided walking tours, workshops for children and adults, and others. Many of the events planned for April and May commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising which began on April 19, 1943. The museum is the implementer of Virtual Shtetl, a site that includes information about more than 2,300 towns, including 78,000 photographs, 900 videos and more than 100 audios. Information about the museum can be found at The Virtual Shtetl site is at

Index to 2,255 Auschwitz Prisoner Photos Searchable Through Morse Site
Since last June, the Stephen P. Morse site has had an index to mug shots of 2,255 Auschwitz prisoners. From the opening of the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1941 through the middle of 1942 all entering prisoners were photographed, full face, right and left, with their prisoner number and insignia, i.e. type of prisoner, but not names. With very few exceptions, this process ceased in mid-1942 due to a shortage of photographic paper. As the Russians approached in 1945, an attempt was made to destroy the photos, but more than 30,000 were saved and are held at the Auschwitz Museum. Copies of some of these photos have been shared with the USHMM, Yad Vashem, and the International Tracing Service.

Volunteers at the USHMM were able to identify by name virtually all of the 2,200 photos in the possession of the museum, and these names have been placed in a database available at the Steve Morse website. Procedures for obtaining copies of the photos are explained at the website. Volunteers are now working to identify the photos which appear in the ITS collection. When this project is completed, the names will be added to the website.

While these few thousand photos show a tiny percentage of Auschwitz prisoners, they are an unusual and emotional last glimpse of these previously invisible victims of the Holocaust.

The index can be searched at

FamilySearch Additions for the Week
Recent additions to FamilySearch, both indexes and browseable images, can be found at They include records from Brazil, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Peru, Ukraine (church records), Venezuela and the U.S. States of Alabama, Maryland, Oregon and Washington. Most are images rather than index records.

Note that at the website announced collections may not be complete for the dates specified and will be added at some later date. Also note that counts shown are the number added, not the total number available in the collection.

FamilySearch Has Indexed Its One-Billionth Record
FamilySearch has reported that at 12:40 last Friday they indexed their one billionth record. In the 24 hour period after setting this record, they had already added an additional half-million records. The clock counter can be found at

Avotaynu Anthology of Jewish Genealogy
 All back issues of our journal AVOTAYNU from 1985–2011

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Number of articles in Anthology by topic:

Algeria 8
Argentina 21
Australia 36
Austria 17
Austro-Hungary 7**
Belarus* 26
Belgium 24
Bermuda 1
Book Reviews 289
Brazil 25
Bulgaria 5
Burma 1
Canada 94
Caribbean 9
Cuba 3

China 10

Computers 21
Conferences 52
Costa Rica 1
Croatia 3
Cyprus 1
Czech Republic 33
Denmark 2
DNA 25
East Europe– Gen’l
Egypt 11
England 125
Estonia* 5
Europe-General 25
Finland 1

France 102
Galicia 20
General 233
Germany 173
Gibraltar 1
Greece 12
Holland 83
Holocaust 177
Hungary 46
India 6
Iraq 3
Iran 5
Ireland 2
Israel 125
Italy 14 
Latvia* 26

LDS 29
Libya 1
Lithuania* 71
Methodology 84
Moldova* 5
Morocco 18
New Zealand 13
North Africa 2
Poland 118
Portugal 21
Rabbinic 57
Romania 33
Russia 46** 
Scotland 27
Sephardic 42
Serbia 2

Slovakia 1
South Africa 22
South America 1
Spain 13
Sudan 1
Sweden 5
Switzerland 27
Syria 3
Tunisia 3
Turkey 22
Ukraine* 57
United States   227
USSR 92**
Venezuela 1
Zimbabwe 1

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