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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 18, Number 1 | January 1, 2017

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.

Happy New Year!!

FamilySearch Gives Year-End Report
The new year is the time when organizations reflect on the accomplishments of the previous year, and FamilySearch is no exception. In a report at familysearch-2016-genealogy-highlights/, the organization reflected on its accomplishments in the past year. Here are some of the highlights:
   • The organization’s online indexing initiative celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2016. Because of these efforts, more than 5.57 billion searchable names are available from 1.2 billion published searchable historical documents. As an example, nearly 19,000 online volunteers finished indexing the 2 million handwritten records of the Freedmen’s Bureau records from the United States National Archives and Records Administration. These records are pivotal for African American research because they document freed slaves and others who struggled to redefine themselves after the Civil War.
   • Nearly 315,000 volunteers logged 11 million hours during the year. Volunteers indexed 274.8 million records last year, bringing the total number of indexed records freely searchable online to 2.4 billion.
   • FamilySearch’s 320 camera teams around the world digitally preserved more than 60 million new images of historical records in 45 countries.
   • Dozens of free video courses were added online during the year. These courses are accessible through the FamilySearch Learning Center. More than 100,000 helpful, how-to articles specific to family history are also now available through on the FamilySearch Wiki.
   • More than 561,000 new contributors added information to Family Tree, making a total of 3.45 million contributions. Now 1.1 billion individuals are linked in the FamilySearch Family Tree.
   • Numerous improvements have been made to the quality and capability of the website.

USHMM Holocaust Survivors and Victims Database Continues to Grow
A posting to the JewishGen Discussion Group notes that the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Survivors and Victims Database has grown significantly. Searching for the rare surname “Mokotow” identified a large number of sources including:
   • Kindertransport lists
   • Sh'arit ha-pl'atah. A list of survivors
   • Persons deported from France
   • Emigration case files of the Australia Jewish Welfare and Relief Society
   • Jewish refugees arriving in Australia via Melbourne between 1946–1954
   • List of persons interned in Dachau
   • Lwow Ghetto work cards

Each data field can be searched as Exact, Fuzzy or Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex System.  Search the database at

Site Identifies Online Canadian City Directories
Jan Meisels Allen reports that a website,, provides links to a number of Canadian city directories. The list includes:
   • British Columbia City Directories, 1860–1955
   • Calgary (Alberta) Telephone Directories, 1903–1924
   • Canadian Directories Collection (Halifax, Ottawa, plus others)
   • Chatham (Ontario) Directories, 1870s to 2005
   • Hamilton, London and Kingston, Ontario, and Southwestern Ontario
   • Henderson’s Directories (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba)
   • Kingston, Ontario City Directories, 1855–1922
   • Lethbridge (Alberta) Telephone Directories, 1907–1953
   • Lovell's Montreal Street Directories 1842–2010
   • Marcotte Directories of Quebec City, 1822–1976
   • Medicine Hat and District (Alberta) Telephone Directories, 1907–1959
   • Peterborough (Ontario) City Directories, 1858–2010
   • Toronto City Directories, 1833–1922

Amsterdam City Archives Makes 18 Million Records Available Online
Jan Meisels Allen also reports that the Amsterdam City Archives has made all their 18 million scans of indexes and inventories available online at no charge. Most images are currently online; the balance will be available by the second week in January. For documents that have not been published or were copyrighted, the procedure for applying to inspect the records has not changed. Those inventory numbers are not online, and one must visit the archives to access those documents.

The site is located at It is in Dutch only. Use Google translate if you are not familiar with the language. Jeanette Rosenberg of JGS Great Britain was the original source of the information.

JewishGen Offers Four Basic Genealogy Courses During 2017
m Throughout 2017, JewishGen will offer four Basic Genealogy courses. They are:
   • Exploring JewishGen
   • Search Strategies
   • Organizing Your Data
   • Explore the Belarus SIG Website.

The course “Explore the JewishGen Website” will run from January 6 - January 20. It is a series of exercises that will take the student on a guided tour of the paths and byways that make up JewishGen's massive website. There will be visits to the links that connect the composite databases, projects, SIGs and “open up the wonders of JewishGen.”

Information about all the courses 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 
 Google Custom Search engine
 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
Nu? What's New? is published weekly by Avotaynu, Inc.
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