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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 15, Number 48 | December 21, 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
Happy Chanukah to all!!

Searchable Yizkor Books at
For a number of years, Logan Kleinwaks has been posting to his site,, historical directories (business, address, telephone, etc.), fully indexed. Now he is tackling the process of placing at his site all yizkor books, fully indexed, available at the New York Public Library (NYPL) site, He now has 74 out of about 650 yizkor books searchable.

Almost all yizkor books are written in Hebrew and Yiddish, so when searching GenealogyIndexer, you must present the search argument in Hebrew characters. A transliteration program exists at Kleinwaks plans to eventually integrate a transliteration process into his site. Search results take you directly to the page in the yizkor book that has the information. There is no browse capability, but that too is planned. In the interim, use the NYPL site to browse.

A list of currently available yizkor books is at

Who Do You Think You Are? New Season Starts February 24
Eight hour-long episodes of Who Do You Think You Are? will complete the new season which premieres Tuesday, February 24 at 10ET on The Learning Channel (TLC). Among the celebrities will be Julie Chen, Angie Harmon, Sean Hayes and Bill Paxton. will once again sponsor the program. Last summer’s season averaged 1.4M viewers.

Additional information is at

New FamilySearch Additions
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, 1.3 million indexed records and images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Brazil, Canada, China and the U.S. states of Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee and Virginia.

Notable additions of interest to Jewish family history research include additional index records for Cook County (Chicago) birth certificates (1878–1938) and deaths (1878–1939, 1959–1995); and additions to the Canadian 1911 census index.

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.

Final Day — AVOTAYNU Offer: 6 issues for Price of 4
Today, Sunday, is the last day we are offering to non-subscribers a six-issue subscription to our journal AVOTAYNU for the price of four issues. The cost of a six-issue subscription is only $38.00—the cost of a four-issue subscription—instead of $53.00, a $15 saving. Non-U.S./Canada subscribers can subscribe for only $46 instead of $65, a $19 saving. The offer expires today.

Go to, place your order, and when checking out, use Coupon Code 6FOR4D for U.S./Canada and 6FOR4F for other countries.

National Library of Australia Has Guide to Vital Records
Jan Meisels Allen reports that the National Library of Australia has a guide to locating birth, marriage and death records by Australian State and Territory. It is located at marriage-and-death-records. I went to the Victoria state site and found a search engine which provided the number of results in their database, but it cost 99 cents to view each index entry. This structure may be true of other states. and FamilySearch both have Australian death indexes. They are not identical. Remarkably two Mokotow deaths in 1984 in Victoria appear, one each at the two sites.

Bureaucracy Comes to Spain’s Offering of Naturalization of Sephardic Jews
Some time ago, the Spanish government announced they would offer Spanish citizenship to the living descendants of Jews who fled the country at the time of the Expulsion in 1492 and the Inquisition that followed. It was welcomed by many Sephardic Jews.

Now the legislation that would formalize the process is being criticized by Sephardic Israelis who claim the bill is “declarative but ultimately meaningless.” For example, the bill requires that application must be made in Spain rather than through its embassies. It also requires that applicants must have cultural and linguistic ties to Spain, and lineages accepted by recognized rabbinical authorities as Sephardic and thus traceable to Jews who resided in Spain before the mass expulsions.

Additional information can be found at naturalizing-sephardic-jews-make-it-meaningless.

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