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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 17, Number 4 | January 24, 2016
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.

Register Early for the Conference and Have a Chance to Win a Raffle Prize
Early registration has begun for the 36th Annual IAJGS Conference on Jewish Genealogy, scheduled for Seattle, August 7–12. Early registrants will be entered in a raffle for various prizes to be announced, following the close of early registration, April 30. Register early. Those who register during the month of January will be given four entries in the raffle. Those who register in February will receive three entries. March registrants will get two entries, and April registrants will get one entry. To begin the registration process, go to the conference website at and follow the links.

Another reminder. The conference planners made provisions for week-long Alaska cruises leaving from Seattle before and after the conference. There are still some cabins available for these cruises. Information, including contact information to sign up, can be found on the conference blog accessed on the web site.

FindMyPast Allows Free Access Until January 25
Findmypast is allowing free access to their records and newspaper collection until 7am ET Monday, January 25. The British-based company is especially strong on records of the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Not included in the free access is access to the 1939 UK Register and the UK Companies House Directories. Information can be found at It is necessary to register to gain access.

Avotaynu No Longer Selling Books Through
Amazon has discontinued Avotaynu’s ability to sell its books through The consequence to buyers is that other third-party sellers are offering our books at higher prices than previously offered by Avotaynu. Solution: Buy from the Avotaynu website at

Readers should also be aware that some books published by Avotaynu are listed on as available directly from their company but are “Temporarily out of stock.” When that occurs, the order is not fulfilled. (Amazon has not bought a book from us directly for more than five years.) As a test, two months ago, I pretended to be a customer by ordering Sephardic Genealogy. I have yet to receive it.

JOWBR Documenting German Jewish Soldiers Killed During WWI
The JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) has started a project to document the final resting places of German Jewish soldiers killed during World War I. They are using the list of the Reichsbund Juedischer Frontsoldaten as the basis of their research. This has been combined with different burial lists from the Volksbund (German War Graves Commission) as well as a variety of other resources including photographs in actual cemeteries. To date they have mapped the graves of approximately 4,500 of the 12,000 German Jews who died during WWI.

The group is interested in obtaining additional information on specific ancestors or relatives. Contact Eric Feinstein at if you can help.

International Tracng Service Inquiries Increase by 25 Percent
The International Tracing Service (ITS) reports they have received more than 15,000 inquiries in 2015; 25 percent more than the previous year. The institution, located in Bad Arolsen, Germany, has the world’s largest collection of documents about former victims of Nazi persecution and therefore is essential for Holocaust-related research. This increase in inquiries is unusual because some of the member nations that determine policy for ITS have copies of ITS records in their own country and receive and process inquiries from their citizens. Examples are Yad Vashem in Israel and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in the United States.

One reason given by ITS is that, because of a change in Polish legislation, Jewish victims of the Nazi regime who had been in Poland at the time of their persecution but who have been living outside of Poland since then are now entitled to receive pension payments. The reform of the so-called “ghetto pensions,” which, according to an estimate made by the German Federal Government, pertains to approximately 40,000 former ghetto-workers still living, led to significantly more inquiries. ITS states there also has been an increase in the number of second and third generation Holocaust survivors looking for information about the fate of relatives.

Additional information is at

IAJGS Creates Glossary of Terms Used in Records Access Reporting
The IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee (PRMC) has created a glossary of 36 terms used in their reporting. It includes such definitions as Closed Records, Constituent, Court of Justice of the European Union, European Union, European Union Data Protection Regulation, HIPAA, Sponsor and Vital Records. It can be found at Questions, suggestions, and comments are welcome and can be submitted to PRAMC at

There are links to each U.S state and federal legislative website and Canadian Provincial and Federal websites at

Mocavo and Findmypast Are “Coming Together”
It is not uncommon in the business world that when a company acquires another company, the unique identity of the latter is short lived and it gets gobbled up by the former. Such has happened to Mocavo which was acquired by Findmypast in 2014.

Mocavo has announced that it and its parent company Findmypast are “coming together.” They are in the process of moving all Mocavo site content to Findmypast. As part of Mocavo’s ”Free Forever” promise, the company indicated that Mocavo subscribers will continue to enjoy free access to all of the same records that were previously published free on Mocavo.

Further information is at

Holocaust Remembrance Day January 27
January 27 is Holocaust Remembrance Day. The United Nations will have a special ceremony in the General Assembly at 11am that day. Monday, January 25, there will be an exhibit at the U.N. by the organization Yahad-In Unum founded by Father Patrick Desbois. It is titled “Holocaust by Bullets,” a term Father Desbois created to describe the Holocaust as it applied in Eastern Europe. Tuesday, January 26, there will be an exhibit “Life after Survival” about child Holocaust survivors cared for by the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration at Kloster Indersdorf, in the American Zone in Germany. Additional information about the events is at

Have You Submitted Pages of Testimony to the Shoah Victims Names Project?
Holocaust Remembrance Day should remind us all of the the Yad Vashem Shoah Victims' Names Project which is attempting to document—individually
the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust. Have you submitted Pages of Testimony for all your family members murdered in the Shoah? If not, follow the instructions below. If you have submitted some, but are unsure which victims have not been documented, go to the link below, click "Advanced Search" and in the Submitter's Name section, key in your name. It will provide a list of all Pages of Testimony submitted by you.

To submit a Page of Testimony, go to Click the words “Download Pages of Testimony Forms.”

Join the ranks of Yad Vashem’s worldwide network of volunteers working in one-on-one outreach efforts with Holocaust survivors and members of their generation to recover the names of Shoah victims before they are lost forever. For ideas and resources on how to launch a names recovery campaign in your area, visit Yad Vashem’s Community Outreach Guide for updated program information on the project in Israel and in Russian speaking Jewish communities around the world.

Yad Vashem has provided a 10-minute Pages of Testimony tutorial video at the site to learn how to help survivors and others from their generation to fill out Pages of Testimony. To volunteer for the project or for more information contact
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