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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 14, Number 49 | December 22, 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
Limitations to Social Security Death Index Passes Congress
The recently passed budget bill for the years 2014–15 includes provisions to limit access to the Death Master File whose commercial version is known as the Social Security Death Index. Access will be limited to certified entities, such as life insurers and pension funds that use the data to combat fraud and administer benefits. This limited access would apply for three years after an individual’s death. Thereafter, the public will have access to the information.

Entities who want access must make an application; pay a fee which is designed to recover costs of program; and then be certified as a need to know. It is claimed that the proposal will save $786 million over the next ten years, including $517 million in increased revenues attributable to preventing payment of fraudulently claimed tax refunds.

JOWBR Reaches 2.1 Million Records
The JewishGen's Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) now includes more than 2.1 million records from more than 4,200 cemeteries/cemetery sections representing 83 countries. Two new countries are the Dominican Republic and Sri Lanka. JOWBR can be accessed at

The JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry is a database of names and other identifying information from Jewish cemeteries and burial records worldwide, from the earliest records to the present. It is a compilation of two linked databases: a database of burial records, and a database of information about each particular cemetery. JOWBR's aim is to catalog extant data about Jewish cemeteries and burial records worldwide. Photographs of gravestones are also included in this database.

Website Devoted to Genetics and Genealogy of R1a1a Y-Haplogroup Ashkenazi Levites
A new website devoted to the genetics and the genealogy of R1a1a Y-Haplogroup Ashkenazi Levites is at The website contains a detailed analysis of the marker values of and interrelationships among individual R1a1a Ashkenazi Levites, as well as discussions of the historical background of this genetic class and theories concerning their origins. There is specific focus on the Horowitz rabbinical family. Current analysis indicates that perhaps half of R1a1a Ashkenazi Levites may be descended on their direct male lines from the founder of the Horowitz rabbinical family—Isaiah ben Moshe Asher Halevi Horowitz (ca. 1440–1515)—who moved to Horovice, near Prague, in the 1470s. Horowitz family tradition traces the family's direct male line back to the year 1000 in Aragon and Provence.

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 Brazil, China, Czech Republic, Ecuador, England, Italy, New Zealand, Peru, South Africa, South Korea, and the U.S. states of Alabama, Missouri, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. The additional Missouri “County Marriage Records, 1802–1969,” appear to be indexed through the year 1959.

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 in the announcement are the number added, not the total number available in the collection, which can be greater.

Jamaican Family Search Research Library Online Includes Jewish Records
Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter reports that a significant resource for Jamaican genealogy is now available free of charge at The site contains about 296,000 names of people who lived in Jamaica at some time.

The home page lists a number of Jewish records at the site including:
   • Births and Marriages in the Ashkenazi Congregation in Kingston 1788–1906.
   • Births, Marriages and Deaths in the Sephardic Congregation in Kingston, 1809–1902.
   • Births in the Amalgamated Congregation and United Congregation of Israelites, 1884–1930.
   • Marriages in the Amalgamated Congregation and United Congregation of Israelites, 1883 - 1945.
   • Deaths in the Amalgamated and United Congregation of Israelites 1883–1993.
Access to these records are at the “Jewish Page” at

60th Anniversary of Yad Vashem—Online Exhibit of Bratislava
This year marks the 60th anniversary of Yad Vashem, the institution located in Jerusalem that is described as a living memorial to Jews caught up in the Holocaust. Established in 1953, through a law passed by the Israeli parliament, it provides documentation, research, education and commemoration of the Holocaust. Its name is derived from a passage in Isaiah 56:5: “Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name (yad vashem) better than of sons and of daughters. I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.”

Of interest to genealogists is their huge collection of documents about specific individuals. Best known is the “Shoah Victims’ Names” database, which provides information about more than 3 million Holocaust victims. Yad Vashem’s home page is On that page is a link to the “Shoah Victims Names” database.

Yad Vashem recently added to their site a history of Jews of Bratislava, Slovakia, at

Gesher Galicia Map Room
The Gesher Galicia Map Room, located at, is one of the many projects of the Gesher Galicia Special Interest Group. It currently contains 10 regional maps (example: Tobias Conrad Lotter Map of Galicia and Lodomeria, ca. 1775); 38 cadastral maps; 10 general and street maps (example: Greater Lwow General Street Map 1903; and 4 special maps (example: Jewish Population Density Map of Galician Districts 1910). A cadastral map is a map that shows the boundaries and ownership of land parcels in a particular town. They often show the names of the landowners and shop owners written onto plots, fields and in the market square.

Contribute to the Success of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy
Help support a dynamic institution that in its brief existence already has been the catalyst for such benefits to Jewish genealogy as the Beider-Morse Phonetic Matching System,  Sephardic DNA and Migration project, inventorying the Paul Jacobi Collection of 400 prominent Ashkenazic lineages, the Proposed Standard for Names, Dates and Places in a Genealogical Database, and a system for Integrating Genealogical Datasets.

Visit the IIJG website at and read about these developments, as well as  ongoing and proposed projects.

Make your tax-deductible contribution by credit card or PayPal at Click the Donate link. If you prefer, mail a check to Avotaynu Foundation,  794 Edgewood Ave., New Haven, CT 06515, USA. Make the check payable to “Friends of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy.” Donations are tax deductible for U.S. taxpayers.
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