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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 15, Number 46 | December 7, 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

FamilySearch Adds FindAGrave Database to Collection
FamilySearch has added 124 million records from as well as images and indexes to records from Michigan, Montana, Tennessee, Utah and Washington State. It includes an index to Michigan obituaries, 1820–2006. A list of these additions can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections.

The FindAGrave data is just basic birth and death information. Additional information can be found at For example, FamilySearch shows the birth and death date of my stepuncle, but FindAGrave also includes bibliographical information about him. After viewing the FamilySearch information, click the “View Partner Site” button to the right to access the information located at

RootsMagic Adds MyHeritage Matching
Israel is known for being a great source of new technology, so when Israel-based MyHeritage was founded just 11 years ago, I knew it wasn’t going to be just another “,” but would provide valuable technology to the field of genealogy. What it has brought to genealogy is SmartMatching and Record Matching, a technique so powerful that FamilySearch was willing to trade millions of records for access to the technology. (See “FamilySearch Continues To Make Alliances” in Nu? What’s New? Volume 14, Number 41: October 20, 2013)

Now MyHeritage and RootsMagic have announced that Smart Matching and Record Matching have been integrated into RootsMagic’s latest version of its genealogy software program. This means RootsMagic users will be able to match their family trees with millions of family trees and billions of global historical records available on MyHeritage.

This announcement follows other integrations of MyHeritage matching technologies by British genealogy software, Family Historian, and Dutch genealogy services Aldfaer and Coret Genealogie.

The announcement can be found at

MyHeritage Digitizing Tombstones of Largest Cemetery in Israel
As part of its partnership with to create a global initiative to digitize tombstones, MyHeritage recruited a group of volunteers to digitize Israel's largest cemetery—Holon Cemetery—with more than 200,000 graves. It was collaboration between the company and all leading genealogy organizations in Israel as well as MyHeritage power users. In one day, some 120 people photographed 150,000 gravestones. There was no indication when the images would be available online or at what sites. For more information, read

Historic Newspapers of 23 European Countries Online
Historic newspapers from 23 European countries are now available at While the amount of content in the browser continues to grow rapidly, one can already explore 1.8 million historic newspaper issues and perform full-text searches across 7 million pages. By the end of January 2015, the browser will contain about 30 million newspaper pages from 25 libraries in 23 European countries. The libraries include the National Libraries of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey and Wales. Some State and University libraries are included.

The full announcement is at

FindMyPast Adds 3.4 Million British Trade Union Registers
FindMyPast has announced the release of more than 3.4 million British Trade Union Membership registers. These registers consist of digitized images of original records books from nine different unions. The documents include details about individual members such as payments made, benefits received and names of spouses. A number of unions also published profiles of their members or those who held offices. Although a range of years was not included in the announcement, searching for the surname “Cohen” produced results as late as 1940.

South Australia Vital Records. They have also added South Australia births 1842–1928, marriages 1842–1937 and deaths 1842–1972.

The complete announcement, including links to databases can be found at

Who Do You Think You Are? Live! 2015 from April 16–18
The 2015 version of Who Do You Think You Are? Live! will be held at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham, England, from April 16–18. Early-bird tickets are on sale for UK’s largest family history show for a limited time—two tickets for £22. No specific deadline was given but was merely described as “for two weeks.” Quote EARLY2422 when booking. Information about the conference can be found at

Call For Papers: 25th Annual Conference Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies
The 25th annual conference of the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies will be held in Miami, Florida, July 19–21, 2015. The Society has issued a Call for Papers on crypto-Judaism from any discipline (anthropology, history, sociology, philosophy, literature, music, etc.) and from any geographic location or time period. They also welcome papers on all aspects of the Sephardic experience and that of other communities exhibiting crypto-Jewish phenomena anywhere in the world.

Deadline for proposals is April 1, 2015. Additional information can be found at

Deadline for Lecture Proposals for Jerusalem Conference Is Today
Today, December 7, is the last day for submitting lecture proposals for the 35th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy to be held in Jerusalem at the Ramada Hotel July 6-10, 2015. Go to and click on Speakers > Call for Papers for additional information. Lectures are 45 minutes, including time for questions. Workshops are 105 minutes each in the computer lab. Panel discussions are 105 minutes.

Registration is now open for conference at its website: Sign up for the Conference Discussion Group at discussion--3 to post messages and see other inquiries and announcements about the conference. It is also possible to follow the conference on Facebook or Twitter.

EU Still Tackles Its Data Protection Plan
Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee, has reported additional information about the European Union Proposed Data Privacy Regulation. On December 4, the EU member states reached a broad consensus on this issue. Highlights are:
   • International companies can tackle EU-wide data cases through the data chief in the EU country in which they have their headquarters, instead of dealing with 28 national regimes. For example, Google is based in Ireland, so their cases would be resolved for all EU countries by the data chief of Ireland.
   • A single data protection authority would also be responsible for taking legally binding decisions against a company. His or her final decision applies to all other member states.
   • If things go awry, a European Data Protection Board (EDPB) would step in to make sure the rules are applied correctly. It would act as an arbitrator.
   • The EDPB’s decision is final

To read more about the subject, see

Hessen-Darmstadt Jewish Records Online...Barely
It was reported on the German Special Interest Group of JewishGen that the Hessian State Archives in Darmstadt has put up the first part of a planned set of Hessen-Darmstadt Jewish records. There is no interface yet, but you can crudely browse the images starting at

Twenty Jewish communities are represented, almost all from the Starkenburg district of Hessen-Darmstadt (one of three, the other two being Oberhessen and Rheinhessen). At the bottom of the above link there is a PDF file that shows the inventory of all the items that the archive is planning to include in this collection.

The German SIG also reports that a second update to its Hessen Gatermann index will be here soon—another 23,000 records. It currently contains 31,000 records. This database is a surname and town index of 19th- and 20th-century Jewish vital records from Hessen, linking to images of the records. It is located at

Polish State Archives Puts Warsaw Vital Records Online
The Polish State Archives has digitized and placed online the vital records of Warsaw 1858–1912. The index, located at, includes the record type (birth, marriage, death), district (cyrkul), year and number of scans (number records is typically double that number). It appears that the records are complete, that is, a district that had only eight scans for births in that particular year had less than 16 births.

Since they are images only, and they are by district, use the JRI-Poland Index to locate a document of interest. The JRI-Poland index includes the district and record number, so you can go directly to the record.

New Organization: The Surname Society
Britain already has a Guild of One-Name Studies, but a new group, The Surname Society, has formed in the UK which appears to have the same goals, namely an online society “for individuals, groups and associations with an interest in surname studies, regardless of their location in the world, the surname they are studying, or their level of research expertise.” Information of The Surname Society is at Information about the Guild of One-Name Studies is at

Annual Conference of Chabad Lubavitch Emissaries
Have you every seen a banquet hall that can accommodate more than 5,000 people? Each year, Chabad has an annual meeting of their emissaries worldwide which is webcast on the Internet. In addition to the business of the meeting they have entertainment for the attendees. The 5,000 dancing rabbis can be seen at

Mazal tov!
One of the consequences of announcing to 2,000 people in the last issue” of Nu? What’s New? that you attended the bat mitzvah of your twin granddaughters, is you receive nearly 100 “mazal tovs” in your InBox. Thank you all.

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.
Nu? What's New? is published weekly by Avotaynu, Inc.
Copyright 2014, Avotaynu, Inc. All rights reserved

To change an e-mail address, send a request to

To subscribe to AVOTAYNU, The International Review of Jewish Genealogy, go to

To order books from our catalog, go to

To contact us by postal mail, write: Avotaynu, Inc.; 
794 Edgewood Ave.; New Haven, CT 06515

Telephone  (U.S.) : 475-202-6575