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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 18, Number 18 | May 7, 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.

WDYTYA? LIVE (UK) to Close Its Doors
Once billing itself as the largest family history conference in the world, “Who Do You Think You Are?-LIVE” will no longer be presented. The British event, which ran for 10 years, typically attracted 10–15,000 people and more than 100 exhibitors. Despite these encouraging statistics, the reason given for closing is that the event was running at a considerable financial loss.

Additional information can bed found at

New York City Marriage License Index 1908–1972 Now Online
Reclaim the Records has placed online digitized images of the New York City Marriage License Index 1908–1972, some 170,000 images. They were received from the City Clerk’s office using the New York State Freedom of Information Law. It is located at nycmarriageindex. The 1908–1929 indexes were previously online. Added are the years 1930–1972. They also have a searchable index for 1950–1995 at

Reader Questions Use of the Word “Marrano”
In Alexander Beider’s newly published book, A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Mediterranean Region - Volume 1 – Maghreb, Gibraltar, and Malta, he uses the term Marrano extensively. A Nu? What’s New? reader commented to Dr. Beider:

I am puzzled by the title of one chapter: MARRANO surnames in the section History of Surnames. Did no one tell him that the term Marrano is considered insult[ing]?

Dr. Beider replies:

I am well aware that some people in the U.S. (and perhaps Israel too) consider the word "Marrano" insulting. Yet, I use it because, as a linguist, I dislike situations where someone decides to change the meaning of a word for reasons that have nothing to do with science/scholarship. This word was used by Jewish scholars for centuries and nobody considered it derogatory (though, in the 16th century in Iberia - but not outside of it - it could indeed be insulting). The best scholarly book on the topic, that by Cecil Roth, is called "A History of the Marranos" (its 4th edition dates from 1974). For all serious authors, both Jewish or Gentile, of papers and books on that topic, this word is either neutral or having a glorifying/romantic flavor. I'm sure that quite recently (maybe, only a few years ago) some person found that the word meant "pig" in Spanish and decided that it should be considered insulting. Note that in Wikipedia the term is not insulting. In my book, the term is totally neutral and I explain in detail the meaning I used and its difference in comparison to such terms as "Anusim", "New Christians", and even (the closest term) "Crypto-Jews".

As an additional comment, I happened to mention the controversy to a French-speaking Belgian friend of mine and she commented that the French equivalent, marrane, has no derogatory connotation.

An extensive review of the book by Philip Abensur will appear in the Spring issue of AVOTAYNU. Additional information about the book, including a complete list of surnames, can be found at You can subscribe to AVOTAYNU at

JDC Archives Adds Warsaw Emigration Cards, Cyprus Births to Names Index
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) Archives has recently added two new collections to its online Names Database:
   • JDC Warsaw Office: Emigration Service Index Cards, 1945–1949: This set of approximately 6,400 cards is an index to emigration case files in the records of JDC’s Warsaw Office. JDC reestablished operations in Poland immediately after the end of World War II. One of its principal activities was to help those seeking to emigrate. Most of Poland’s surviving Jews, including those repatriated from the Soviet Union, left Poland during this period, particularly after the Kielce pogrom of 1946. Information on the cards includes name, date and city of birth, current address, accompanying family members, and country of destination.
   • Births to Cyprus Detainees, 1948–1949: From 1946 until early 1949, the British confined in detention camps on Cyprus more than 53,000 Jewish refugees not permitted to enter Palestine, many of whom were Holocaust survivors. These weekly lists document babies born to residents of the camps during the period August 1948–February 1949. The lists record more than 500 births and include date of birth, sex, mother’s name, and camp number.

Search the complete Names Index at Text and photograph collections are also online at

FindMyPast Adds to Its U.S. Marriage Index
FindMyPast has added more that 6.7 million records to its index of U.S. marriages. It includes significant updates for the states of Georgia, Maine, North Carolina, Ohio and Oregon.

Covering 360 years of marriages from 1650–2010, when complete the collection will contain at least 100 million records and more than 450 million names from 2,800 counties across America. The company indicated that this addition marks the latest step in FindMyPast’s efforts to create the single largest online collection of U.S. marriage records in history.
Subscribers will have access to transcripts and images of the original documents that list marriage date, the names of the bride and groom, birthplace, birth date, age, residence as well as father’s and mother’s names.

Additional information can be found at Search the database at united-states-marriages. Results, which do not require a subscription, include name, birth year, marriage year, county and state of marriage and spouse’s forename.

USHMM Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945 Now Online
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has made the first two volumes of their Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos 1933–1945 available at its website at The two volumes are nearly 4,000 pages long.

Volume I includes the major concentration camps; their sub-camps; SS construction brigades; and early camps set up by the police, SA and SS shortly after the Nazis seized power. Volume II includes ghettos in German-occupied territories. Each volume matches the physical format of the book, and each consists of two PDF files. A place name index is at the back of the second part of each volume. Each signed article includes citations and bibliographies for further research. Overview articles provide additional information and are worth reading.

Future volumes will be made available online after the print volume has been available for a few years. Volume III—camps and ghettos in countries allied with the Nazis—is scheduled to be released in print this year.

MyHeritage Subscription for 50% Off
MyHeritage is offering—through Genealogy Newsline—50% off their annual subscription for full access to their collection. The offer ends May 15. I am a MyHeritage subscriber and, for me, its principal advantage is the many MyHeritage automatic matching features. After placing my family tree at the MyHeritage site, I am notified regularly of new matches to other family trees or records.

To take advantage of the offer, you must use the following link:

FamilySearch Adds Nearly 500K Records This Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, nearly 500K indexed records and images, can be found at Almost all are additions to existing collections. This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Australia, Brazil, England, Italy, Panama, Spain, Sri Lanka and the U.S. states of Ohio, Missouri and Michigan.

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 Blog Has Essays About Family Photographs
The FamilySearch blog this week has added four essays regarding family photos. The titles of the essays are:
   • Five Reasons to Digitize Your Family Photos
   • Six Steps to Digitizing Your Family Photos
   • Five Apps That Make Including Photos in Your Family Story a Cinch
   • How to Use Virtual Photo Storage

Links to the articles can be found at

New at Includes California Voter Registrations 1900–1968
Ancestry has updated the following record groups at their site. Note that they do not indicate how many entries have been added. Announced collections may not be complete for the dates specified and will be added at some later date.

   • U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940–1947
   • 1840 United States Federal Census
   • Tennessee Supreme Court Case Index, 1809–1950

New Collections:
   • U.S., Indian Wills, 1910–1921
   • Beaver County, Pennsylvania, Obituary registrations, 1920–1969
   • California, Voter Registrations, 1900–1968. This collection includes name, address and registration year.

Educational Video: Genealogical Resources at the American Jewish Historical Society–New England Archives
The American Jewish Historical Society has prepared a one-hour presentation on Genealogical Resources at the American Jewish Historical Society–New England Archives. It is located at

Index to 360,00 Transylvanian Vital Records Online
A posting to the JewishGen Romania SIG Discussion Group notes that the University Babes Bolyai in Cluj has placed online an index to 360,000 vital records for Transylvania, 1850–1914. Called the “Historical Population Database of Transylvania” it has been an ongoing project for several years. The database, which can be searched in Romanian or English, is at A description of the project (Romanian only) can be found at

Attend the 37th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy
23–28 July 2017  • Walt Disney World Swan Resort  • Orlando, Florida

   • More than 250 lectures and workshops
   • SIG meetings and luncheons
    Birds of a Feather meetings
   • Gala banquet
    Access to subscription-only online databases
   • Film Festival
    Network with other genealogists
   • Consult with the experts

Registration and additional information at

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