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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 15, Number 37 | September 28, 2014

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
Geni Now Supports Multilingual Profiles
The influence of being part of the MyHeritage family can been seen with the announcement that now supports multilingual profiles. This means you can enter names and biographies in multiple languages. Geni will store them separately and display them in your preferred language. MyHeritage’s Family Tree Builder genealogical software program supports 40 languages and the MyHeritage website itself can be viewed in 39 languages.

We all have relatives living in countries with native languages other than our own. Now they can add information in the language they know best, and you can review their information in the language you know best.

Geni states they now have more than 79 million profiles of people from 70 million contributors. The announcement of this new feature can be found at multilingual-profiles-386125.html.

New Historical Newspaper Site is a new site for searching historical newspapers. It does not digitize newspaper collections but instead acts as a comprehensive search engine currently linking to 20 other websites that have digital indexed newspaper collections. Its two largest links are to the Trove collection of the National Library of Australia and to Chronicling America of the U.S. Library of Congress. Their statistics show they link to 2,677 newspaper titles containing 2.6 million editions with 141 million articles. A list of newspapers can be found at Seven newspapers have the word “Jewish” in their title, all from the United States.

FamilySearch Wants To Gather Fondest Grandma Stories
If you could share one story about your grandma, what would it be? That’s the question FamilySearch is nudging people worldwide to respond to as part of its worldwide #meetmygrandma social media campaign. FamilySearch is seeking 10,000 stories to kick off the global initiative where descendants are invited to share and preserve online or through a mobile app the fond memories or stories about their grandmothers’ charms or idiosyncrasies. Find out more about the program at The launch of the initiative runs through September 30, but the campaign will run indefinitely.

Wanted: Human Interest Stories for Winter Issue of AVOTAYNU
For the past 28 years, AVOTAYNU has devoted a portion of each Winter issue to genealogy human interest stories. Stories are typically about how genealogy affected people’s lives, whether it be the researcher or the people they are researching. Deadline for submission this year is December 2, 2014. If you would like to share such a story with AVOTAYNU subscribers, submit it by e-mail to When possible, illustrations should accompany the article. Please conform to Avotaynu writing style rules. They can be found at In 2008, Avotaynu published 72 of these human interest stories in a book, Every Family Has a Story. A sample story in the book that originally appeared in the Winter 1998 issue of AVOTAYNU can be read at

You can subscribe to AVOTAYNU at

YIVO to Digitize Its Vilnius Collection
YIVO Institute for Jewish Research has announced a project to preserve, digitize and virtually reunite YIVO's prewar archives located in New York City with what once existed in Vilnius, Lithuania. The project will also digitally reconstruct the historic Strashun Library of Vilna, one of the great prewar libraries in Europe. Project partners are The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, The Central State Archives of Lithuania and the National Library of Lithuania.

YIVO's original prewar archives and library are the preeminent source of documentation on the subject of East European Jewish civilization, which spanned over 1,000 years. The majority of this unique collection has not been conserved, preserved and digitized, and remains at risk of deterioration and loss. The YIVO Vilna Project will create the single largest digital collection related to East European Jewish civilization, including the largest collection of Yiddish language materials in the world. The Project's primary objective is to ensure the collections' survival and public accessibility.

In 1941, the Germans destroyed YIVO in Vilna and ransacked the archives and library. A portion of YIVO's archives was sent to Frankfurt to become the basis of the Institute for the Study of the Jewish Question; another part was hidden in Vilna; another part was destroyed. In 1946, the U.S. Army discovered the seized YIVO materials in the train depot in Offenbach, Germany, and returned them to YIVO. The part that remained in Vilna was saved from the Soviets by a Lithuanian librarian, Antanas Ulpis, and remained hidden in the basement of a church until 1989. This project will digitally reunite the two portions of the YIVO collection.

Additional information about the project can be found at

Free Access to 1875 Valuation Rolls for Scotland Available
Scotlands People announced that the 1875 Valuation Rolls will be available at no charge for index searching and browsing through the end of 2014. This will enable searches for property owners, tenants and occupiers across Scotland during the time of the Roll, often revealing valuable information about the inter-census years. The latest addition to the valuation rolls comprises morfe than 900,000 index entries and almost 72,000 digital images taken from 141 volumes of Valuation Rolls. Registration is required to access the database. To read more about the rolls go to Registration is required to access the database. They can be searched at

Proceedings of the International Conference Held in Paris Now Available
The Proceedings of the 32nd IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy held in Paris in July 2012 are now available for sale. It is a multi-volume work. Each volume can be purchased separately in printed form or downloaded as a PDF file.
   • Volume 1: "The Western World": texts relating to France, Western Europe (including Italy but not Spain, Germany or Austria), the United States, and Israel. 32 papers, 330 pages. English and French versions are available.
   • Volume 2: Central and Eastern Europe: (including Germany and Austria). English and French versions are available.
   • Volume 3: Sephardim, Jews of Africa, Jews of Asia: Some texts are translated. Others are in their original language accompanied by abstracts in the other language (bilingual volume).
   • Volume 4: Thematic lectures without specific geographic basis:
Holocaust, genetics, ethics, biblical genealogies and methodological workshops (genealogical travels, use of pictures, publishing, deciphering Hebrew, software) English and French versions are available.

Additional information is at iajgs-paris-conference.

These Websites Have New Look
Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People website has a new look. It is at There is a section of the site devoted to its function as a genealogical resource. The institution notes that the chief genealogical sources are birth, marriage, death and burial registers. In recent years the Archives have begun microfilming genealogical registers in government archives in Eastern Europe, especially for what was once Galicia. A more detailed description of their resources oriented toward the need of family historians can be found at

Library and Archives Canada has a newly designed website at Their genealogy section is at It has a comprehensive description of what records exist for Canada and how to access them.

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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