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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 16, Number 37 | September 27, 2015

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
Underlined words are links to sites with additional information.

Pamela Weisberger (1951
2015) z"l
One of the most productive members of the Jewish genealogical community, Pamela Weisberger, died Friday, September 26, after a brief illness. Her accomplishments were many. Pamela is best known for her work with Gesher Galicia, the Galician Special Interest Group, where she was President and Research/Program Coordinator. Under her leadership, Gesher Galicia grew to be a major source of family history information about the region. She posted regularly the progress of Gesher Galicia projects to JewishGen Discussion Groups.

Pamela was also known as an active lecturer. She spoke about Galician research to Jewish genealogical societies and about tracing your Jewish roots to Jewish organizations. She also spoke at the conferences of non-Jewish genealogical organizations including RootsTech, Federation of Genealogical Societies and National Genealogical Society. She was a regular lecturer at the annual IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy.

Her involvement in leading organized Jewish genealogy started in 2003 when she joined the board of directors of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles. In 2010 she co-chaired the IAJGS conference which was held in Los Angeles. At the time of her death, she was the society’s Vice-President of Programs.

Michael Goldstein, past president of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies called her a “creative giant.”

A memorial page has been established at the Gesher Galcia site to honor her..

Her accomplishments will be her legacy. May her memory be a blessing.

Rieke Nash (1938–2015) z"l
Rieke Nash, a pioneer of organized Jewish genealogy in Australia, died on Sunday, September 20, after a long bout with cancer. She was president of the Australian Jewish Genealogical Society from 2002–2009 and a founding member of the Society. She was JRI-Poland Wloclawek Archive Coordinator for more than 15 years. Rieke and her husband Peter regularly attended IAJGS International Conferences on Jewish Genealogy.

May her memory be a blessing.

FamilySearch Adds More Than Six Million Records This Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, more than 6M indexed records and images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Colombia, England/Wales, France, Italy and the U.S. states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah and Virginia.

Most of the new records are the addition of indexes and images to the BillionGraves database (3.5M records) and a new images-only collection of Pennsylvania Civil Marriages (1677–1950). There are also 57,000 new indexes and images to Richmond, Virginia, births (1870–1912). There might be other items of interest to Jewish genealogists.

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.

FamilySearch Trying To AutoIndex Records
FamilySearch is now publishing collections that have been indexed by automated indexing tools. You can recognized an autoindexed entry in their database by the presence of a tab labeled “Errors?” at the bottom of the results page. If you find the automated tools have made an error, click the “Errors?” tab, and report the problem.

The announcement of this feature can be found at familysearchoctober-2015-2/.

FindMyPast Adds 2.9 Million School Records for England, Wales, Ireland and Australia
FindMyPast has added nearly 2.9M School Admission Register records from England, Wales, Ireland and Australia. They include:
   • National School Admission Registers (1870–1914). Records from 25 archives and more than 3,600 schools from England.
   • Ireland National School Registers (1860–1920)
   • Surrey, Southwark, St Saviour’s Grammar School Admissions (1690–1895)
   • Coffs Harbour District Schools Index (New South Wales) (1912–1984)

Additional information as well as links to these various collections can be found at

British Directories and Almanacs. FindMyPast has also added 122 almanacs and directories from Great Britain. The collection includes trade directories, county guides, almanacs and general directories. They can be accessed at

Restoration of Kaunas and Vilnius Jewish Cemeteries Has Started
Jewish Heritage Europe reports that restoration work is beginning at the Old Jewish Cemetery in Zaliakalnis in Kaunas, Lithuania. Opened in 1861 and closed in 1952, the cemetery is on the Lithuanian Heritage Registry and is a state-protected site, but it has been long neglected and also subject to vandalism.

Restoration work is also being carried out by the Vilnius municipality at the old Uzupis Jewish cemetery on Olandu Street, in Vilnius.

The complete report can be found at lithuania-cemetery-work-in-kaunas-and-vilnius.

European Countries Dig In Their Heels Regarding Privacy Matters
Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee, reports two recent decisions regarding privacy matters in European countries that can affect records access.

Google loses yet again. CNIL, the French Data Protection Agency, rejected Google’s appeal regarding the European Union (EU) position that its privacy ruling be applied worldwide. What this means is that anything indexed on Google whose source is a non-EU country but affects an EU citizen, must be considered for deletion from Google worldwide if requested by the individual. Additional information can be found at

“Safe Harbor” provision thrown out with regards to Google and Facebook. An advocate general of the EU Court of Justice rendered a non-binding legal position about a trans-Atlantic “safe harbor” agreement allowing companies to share data between the United States and the EU. The legal position found the “safe harbor” agreement insufficient on checks on how the information may be used. This could have significant impact on social media postings on such companies as Facebook and Google outside the 28-member EU bloc. A final judgment is expected by the end of the year or as early as next month. The Safe Harbor concept can be read at

Maximillian Shrems case. Regarding this “safe harbor” concept, Meisels Allen reports this may affect the suit by Austrian citizen Maximillian Shrems against Facebook where he accused Facebook of compiling its users’ personal data in violation of Austrian and EU legislation. Shrems first brought suit in Ireland against the Irish Data Protection Commissioner stating that Facebook (whose EU headquarters are in Ireland) transfers the data to the U.S. When he lost there, the Irish Courts then referred the case to the EUCJ. In light of Edward Snowden’s revelations about the U.S. National Security Agency, the EU advocate general found the law and practices of the U.S. offer no real protection about the data that is transferred to the U.S., and do not offer EU citizens adequate protection or legal recourse if the online data is misused. A New York Times article about this matter can be found at

Avotaynu Anthology of Jewish Genealogy
 All back issues of our journal AVOTAYNU from 1985–2011

    • 27 years   • 105 issues   2,900 articles  • 7,000 pages 
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 Download or print articles

 Cost is $35 (one-time charge).

 Additional information at

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

* Also see Russia and USSR ** Also see individual countries
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