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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 14, Number 21 | May 26, 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
Commercial Genealogy Websites Offer Free Access to Military Records
What family history research needs is more holidays. It will permit annual access, at no charge, to various components of fee-based genealogy sites. There could be free access to Irish records on St. Patrick’s Day; free access to Jewish records on Israel Independence day; records of women, at no charge, on Mother’s Day; and for men, on Father’s Day.

To commemorate U.S. Memorial Day three major fee-based genealogy sites are offering access to their military records at no charge:, MyHeritage and FindMyPast. Their offers end on Memorial Day, May 27. All three are normally paid-subscription sites. boasts 155 million military records. Searching for the surname Mokotoff, the results include five World War I Draft Registration Cards, five World War II Draft Registration Cards and one World War II Enlistment Record. The collection is located at

MyHeritage claims to have “millions” of military records. None of them are for people named Mokotoff. and have the Army Enlistment Record of Max Mokotoff. MyHeritage includes this record group, but doesn’t include Max. The collection is located at

FindMyPast has 26 million (34 million according to their news release) U.S. and international military records. They have one Mokotoff in their World War II Enlistment Records, Max, and only one Mokotoff in their World War I Draft Registration Cards. The collection is located at

Try all three sites. Each has unique collections as well as those that overlap.

U.S. Version of Who Do You Think You Are? Returns to Television
The U.S. version of the family-history based show  Who Do You Think You Are? returning to television on July 23 at 9pm Eastern, 8pm Central time. It will appear on the TLC network. will remain as the sponsor. There will be eight one-hour episodes in the new season. The celebrities featured this year include: Christina Applegate, Kelly Clarkson, Cindy Crawford, Chris O’Donnell and Zooey Deschan. The announcement is at

New “Forced Labor 1939–1945” Website
A website “Forced Labor 1939–1945” has interviews with nearly 600 persons from 26 countries who had to perform forced labor during the Nazi period. It is located at Some are undoubtedly Jews because 25 of the interviewees live in Israel.

An interactive map shows sites of biographical relevance to the interviewees: place of birth, deportation, camps, companies and prisons, places of residence after 1945. You check off which of nine categories are relevant to your search and then all locations are highlighted on the map. Clicking on a location identifies which interviews include the location. If you are registered, you can listen to the interview. The most comprehensive search is “Mentioned Places” which includes hundreds of locations.

To hear the interviews requires registration which is processed by the site’s creators. You then receive a response in e-mail containing login details if your application to register was successful. I registered but never received a response.

USHMM Identifies Organizations Who Have Taken Oral Testimonies
The United State Holocaust Memorial Museum has a list of organizations who have taken oral testimonies. The aim of the catalog is to provide a tool for those interested in the location of Holocaust oral history collections worldwide. There are in excess of 125 entities represented in this catalog. The collections vary from museums, universities, and other major institutions where thousands of professionally produced interviews are archived; to local community organizations that have a handful of interviews conducted by volunteers; to individual documentary filmmakers who have produced Holocaust testimony for their films. The catalog contains names, addresses, and contact information for each organization. Where possible, there is a narrative description about the organization and its oral history collection, as well as information about the content of the collection. Additionally, relevant technical information is usually included; for example, number of interviews, formats used, access to the collection, finding aids, etc.

The site is at

UK National Archives Adds Naturalization Records Online
The records of thousands of 19th-century immigrants to Britain are now available to search and download online at The collection, which covers the period 1801 to 1871, includes records relating to more than 7,000 people who applied to become British citizens under the 1844 Naturalisation Act, as well as a small number of papers relating to denization, a form of British citizenship that conferred some but not all the rights of a British subject.

The records include:
   • All naturalization applications to the Secretary of State, 1844–1871
   • Some naturalizations by private Act of Parliament, 1801–1868
   • Some letters applying for denization, 1801–1940

The announcement can be found at

Plan to Document British People Who Participated in World War I
August 2014 will mark the centenary of the start of World War I. The British Imperial War Museum and Brightsolid, parent company of FindMyPast, are working in partnership to create “Lives of the First World War” an interactive digital platform that will hold the stories of more than eight million men and women who served in uniform and worked on the home front. It will bring together records from museums, libraries, archives and family collections across the globe.

The platform will go live later this year in time for the start of centenary commemorations from summer 2014. Further information, including a short film about Lives of the First World War can now be found at You can register at the site to be kept informed of the project’s progress.

JewishGen Offering Intermediate-Level Course in New York Research
Many Jewish family historians have ancestors or collateral relatives with roots in New York City. Starting June 1, JewishGen is offering an intermediate-level course in New York City research. It will focus on the more esoteric documents generated such as naturalization, probate, landsmanshaftn, voter registration, newspapers, and court cases.

The four-week course has seven text lessons that are downloaded; there are no specific times for the course; students interact with the instructor though a 24/7 forum, in a query and answer format. Phyllis Kramer, JewishGen Vice-president for Education is the instructor. Tuition is $100 (there are no waivers for this course). Additional information, including a video, as well as the registration process, is at

Library and Archives Canada Updates 1871 and 1901 Censuses
Library and Archives Canada has announced that updated versions of the 1871 and 1901 censuses are now online. The 1871 census was the first general census and covered the four provinces that were then part of Confederation: Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The 1901 census covered the seven provinces and the territory that were then part of Confederation: British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and the Territories. Both updates include suggestions for corrections received from users in recent months, as well as revised district and sub-district information.

The 1871 census is at The 1901 census is at

Irish Calendars of Wills and Administrations, 1858–1920
The National Archives of Ireland made an addition to its online genealogical resources with the Calendars of Wills and Administrations, 1858–1920. For the first time, users can search by the name of the deceased person and also by name of executor/beneficiary. The Calendars give details of principal family relationships and the assets of the person who died. Up to 1917, the Calendars cover the whole of Ireland, but since 1918 they cover only the 26 counties in the Irish Republic. The indexes are linked to digital images of the original calendars. Information is at

FamilySearch Additions for the Week
Recent additions to FamilySearch, both indexes and browseable images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Argentina, Austria, Italy, Paraguay, Portugal, Spain, and the U.S. states of Georgia, Illinois, Indiana and Oklahoma. Most notable are Illinois County Marriages, 1810–1934: 702,642 index records and 450,188 images.

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.

MyHeritage Subscription at 50% Off
MyHeritage is offering 50% off their regular Premium Plus + Data subscription price of $238.80 through Dick Eastman’s Genealogy Newsletter. Subscribe at to take advantage of an annual price of $119.39. The offer ends June 1.

Avotaynu Anthology of Jewish Genealogy
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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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