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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 17, Number 25 | June 26, 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.

Blood & Frogs Site Adds Encyclopedia of Jewish Genealogy
Philip Trauring has created at his website Blood and Frogs an Encyclopedia of Jewish Genealogy which complements Cyndi’s List that has links to sites with Jewish genealogical information. Cyndi’s List is organized by type of information (Blogs, Cemeteries & Funeral Homes, Census, Directories, etc.) while the Encyclopedia is organized by country.

Trauring describes his new venture as a directory of online resources related to Jewish genealogy for each of more than 200 countries, and more than 80 provinces (provinces are currently only in place for Canada, Poland, the UK, and the US). To seed these countries and provinces, the Encyclopedia now has more than 1,200 links.

Each resource is in one of seven different categories: History, Genealogy, Cemeteries, Holocaust, Diaspora, Contemporary and Books. These resources are all intended to help one researching their Jewish families from these areas, and while they don’t all provide specific genealogical information, they are all intended to offer some piece of the puzzle one can use to pursue their research.

Cyndi’s List of Jewish resources can be found at The Encyclopedia is at

IGRA Adds Tel Aviv Records to Its Collection
Israel Genealogy Research Association (IGRA) has recently formalized its relationship with the Tel Aviv Municipal Archives which has resulted in adding more than 60,000 records to the IGRA database. Included are:
   • Voters List Tel Aviv Local Council Election 1922. More than 5,000 records
   • Voters List Tel Aviv for the Second Assembly, National Election 1925. More than 21,000 records
   • Voters List Tel Aviv Local Council Election 1926. More than 13,000 records
   • Voters List Tel Aviv Local Council Election 1932. More than 16,000 records
   • Beit Yaakov High School and Seminar, Tel Aviv, Jubilee Book 1936-1960. List of more than 900 students.
   • Graduating Classes of Gymnasia Herzlia 1918–1948 Between 1918–1948. 3,000 records

A description of the contents of each database can be found at The databases are located at

Findmypast Makes Military Records Accessible at No Charge
Findmypast is making its entire collection of 65 million world military records of their “Military, Armed Forces and Conflict” category free for eight days from June 27 04:00ET - July 4 06:59ET. This includes all UK, Irish, Australian and U.S. military records in their collection. Free access to all UK and Irish census records is also included in the offer. To access the military records, go to

On June 29 at 4:00 PM British Standard Time, Findmypast is offering a free webinar on “Slaughter on the Somme” about finding and interpreting WWI records on their website. The lecturer is Paul Nixon a military expert. This webinar will focus on the Somme campaign in 1916 and the information that survives today. Register for the webinar at

FamilySearch Has Brooklyn and Newark Naturalization Images Online
A posting to JewishGen notes that FamilySearch has added digitized images to their collection of Naturalization Petitions for New York Eastern District and New Jersey Newark District. These records are not indexed, but an index exists at at

The combination of the two sites makes it easier to locate the documents because both contain the year of naturalization and the Petition number for the immigrant. First search on ItalianGen and note the year and Petition number. Then go to FamilySearch. For Eastern District link to For Newark, link to Scroll down to the appropriate year and note the range of petition numbers identified for each subcollection. Finally, click on the camera icon to view all the documents in the subcollection.

In the one case I tried for a 1928 naturalization, the documents included both the Declaration of Intention as well as the Petition for Naturalization.

JOWBR Now Exceeds 2.8 Million Records
Memorial Plaque Database Exceeds 128,000 Records
JewishGen's Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) now includes 2.8 million records from 6,400 cemeteries in 123 countries. The database is located at Persons who wish to contribute burial information and photographs of tombstones should read the instructions at

The JewishGen Memorial Plaques Database (MPD) now includes 128,800 records and 89,000 photos from more than 200 organizations covering 6 countries. The MPD database includes the data from plaques and yizkor lists from synagogue and other organizations.

If you are a member of a synagogue or other organization with memorial plaques or yizkor lists, consider helping us to grow this database.

Jewish Heritage Center at New England Historic Genealogical Society
In 2010, the American Jewish Historical Society and New England Historic Genealogical Society launched a collaboration designed to enhance Jewish historical and genealogical research and the continued collection and preservation of Jewish history. In 2015, the collaboration was further strengthened with the permanent deposit of the New England Archives of the American Jewish Historical Society at New England Historic Genealogical Society.

Now this Jewish Heritage Center, with the American Jewish Historical Society - New England Archives as its cornerstone, is expanding its mission to include more educational opportunities, exhibits and programming, scholarly research and publications, genealogy and expanded community outreach as we continue to be a resource for exploring and preserving the histories of Jewish families and institutions in New England and beyond.

Additional information can be found at

French and Belgian Courts Take Opposite View on
“Right to Be Forgotten” vs. Freedom of the Press

Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee, reports that on May 12 the French High Court rendered a decision stating the right to be forgotten does not supersede the freedom of the press. Meanwhile on April 29, Belgian High Court came to exactly the opposite conclusion.

Allen notes that the 2014 landmark case by the Court of Justice of the European Union required search engines, not original sites, to remove links to articles upon request, under certain circumstances. The High Court ruled that requiring a media organization to remove information such as names and surnames of individuals from its archive or to limit access by delinking links from its search engine exceeds the restrictions that may be imposed on the freedom of the press.

The Belgian court concluded that maintaining a non-anonymized article many years after the event in an online [newspaper] archive caused disproportionate damage to the individual and outweighed the benefits of a strict application of freedom of the press and speech.

FamilySearch Shutdown Monday
FamilySearch, in the past few days, has had a message at the top of the screen of its home page that it will be offline for 24 hours for a technical upgrade. There has been speculation that the consequence of the upgrade will be some significant improvement to FamilySearch, but the organization has made no such announcement.

Belarus SIG Partners with Miriam Weiner and RTR Foundation
The Belarus Special Interest Group (SIG) and Miriam Weiner and her Routes to Roots Foundation (RTRF) have entered into a partnership where the SIG will receive a large amount of material collected by Weiner during her 20+ years of working in the archives of Belarus. The material includes numerous archive inventories and copies of archive documents (with summary translations for much of the material) including thousands of personal names from more than 50 towns in Belarus as well as links to/or excerpts from the RTRF website. The Belarus SIG plans to spend the next few months reviewing and indexing these materials with a portion indexed and searchable at the IAJGS conference in Seattle in August.

Weiner is one of the pioneers of contemporary Jewish genealogy. Possibly her greatest accomplishment was creation of an inventory of the Jewish record holdings in the archives of Belarus, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland and Ukraine. This was achieved by numerous visits to the archives in these countries cajoling the head archivists to create a list of their Jewish records. The results exist today at the Miriam Weiner Routes to Roots Foundation website at The search engine is at For each town, there is a description of what record types exist and where they are located. This site has many other features of interest to Jewish genealogists with roots in Eastern Europe. It is worthwhile devoting some time to browsing the site.

Additional information about the agreement can be found at

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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