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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 18, Number 26 | July 10, 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.

ITS Talks of Plans to Place Records Online
The 80th meeting of the International Commission for the International Tracing Service was held in Luxembourg recently. Taking stock of the past several years, the representatives of the 11 member states of the Commission were positive: The transformation from a tracing service to an archive has been successful. The ITS is now tackling the challenges of the digital age. “The contrast between then and now is clear,” said Paul Shapiro from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM).

The main goal now is giving online access to the documents, Shapiro said. “We have to meet the expectations of users. Improved access will complete the transformation of the ITS. In Eastern Europe, there is keen interest in examining and assessing history. Most of the victims were Eastern European, after all. In light of the increase in hate speech, the ITS now has the important role of helping to secure a safer future.”.

The full announcement can be found at

“Digitizing Family Photos and Records: What’s the Best Format to Use?”
Family History Daily has published an article on “Digitizing Family Photos and Records: What’s the Best Format to Use?” It covers the advantages and disadvantages of GIF, JPG, TIFF and PDF formats. It is located at digitizing-family-photos-records/.

Comprehensive Survey of Jewish Cemeteries in Belarus Announced
Jewish Heritage Europe reports that in early July the European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative (ESJF) will launch a three-month project to “comprehensively survey the Jewish cemeteries of Belarus.” ESJF said its survey teams will spread out across Belarus, “providing a full mapping of all the Jewish cemeteries in the country and their current state.”

ESJF said it expects that as many as 500 sites will be surveyed, and a full report will be published in the autumn. (The Jewish Heritage Research Group in Belarus has a list of more than 150 Jewish cemeteries on its website at

The bilateral agreement between the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad and Belarus is one of 25 such accords currently in effect. Since the mid-1990s, these agreements have resulted in surveys of Jewish cemeteries and other heritage sites in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and Ukraine. All are available online in downloadable form on the U.S. Commission website at

Additional information can be found at

FamilySearch Adds Nearly 7 Million Records This Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, nearly 7 million indexed records and images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include 3.1M records of the New York City Marriage License Index (1950–1995) plus an additional 3M FindAGrave records. In addition, there are records from Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Chile, Dominican Republic, England, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Scotland, South Africa and the U.S. states of Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, New York and United States Passport Applications (1795–1925).

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.

New at
Ancestry has added 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.

New York, New York, Death Index, 1949–1965
U.S., Navy and Marine Corps Registries, 1814–1992

World War II Prisoners of War, 1941–1946
Texas, Select County Marriage Records, 1837–2015
Florida, Passenger Lists, 1898–1963

USCIS Plans Webinar on “Thinking Across Time: Researching USCIS Records”
The United States Citizenship and Naturalization Service (USCIS) will again give its webinar “Thinking Across Time: Researching USCIS Records” on July 25, 1pm Eastern Time. It will not be recorded. In this presentation, USCIS historical records expert Marian L. Smith will showcase late 19th and 20th century U.S. immigration and nationality records. She will also discuss how using a timeline can help you predict what immigration and naturalization records may exist for a given immigrant and how to request records from USCIS. See their full webinar schedule at

USCIS Adds Immigration/Naturalization Timeline to Its Site
To commemorate World Refugee Day on June 20, the U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization Service (USCIS) History Office added a new “Immigration and Naturalization Service Refugee Law and Policy Timeline” to the USCIS History and Genealogy website. It is located at

USCIS began overseeing refugee admissions to the U.S. when it began operations on March 1, 2003. Before then, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) administered refugee admissions. The new timeline traces the major events and policies that affected refugee admissions under the INS and its predecessor agencies from 1891 to 2003. Clicking on an event gives a more detailed description of what happened.

New Czech Holocaust Database
Peter Lande reports that the United States Holocaust Museums’ Survivors and Victims Database has a new collection: Selected Records from the National Archives in Prague, Ministry of Interior, Fond JAF 828. This Czech collection contains more than 71,000 names from 520 name lists. The records relate to confiscation of Jewish properties. Included are index cards relating to deportations, primarily from Theresienstadt, as well as charges against Nazi leaders. You can request the digitized document linked to each name and immediately receive the relevant document in your email. Use the following link to access the collection: online/hsv/source_view.php?SourceId=42179.

GenTeam Adds 617,000 Records
GenTeam has announced that it has added 617,000 entries online, making for a total of 16.8 million records in its total collection. The additions include:
   • Military: Casualty lists 1914–1919 Austria-Hungary
   • Vienna: Coroner´s Inquest Protocols – additional records
   • Vienna: Civil marriages – additional records 1909–1919
   • Prague (Czech Republic): Jewish Records
   • Index of Dominion records of Lower Austria – additional records

There are also additions of Christian religious records.

The GenTeam site is at

Lodz Registration Cards Now Has 54,000 Names
The JRI-Poland website at now has a total of 54,000 names extracted from Lodz registration cards for the years 1916–1921. There are more than 270,000 cards that need to be reviewed and Jewish names extracted. It is a lengthy process and the project is seeking volunteers to help complete the task. Contact Margalit Ir, Project Leader, at

Yizkor Books in Print Publishes Its 57th Title
The Yizkor-Books-In-Print Project of JewishGen has announced publication of its 57th title, Zabrze (Hindenburg) Yizkor Book. The list price is $47.95 but is available on Amazon for as low as $35.26. The book is hard cover, 11” by 8.5”, 270 pages with all illustrations from the original book.

For more information, go to

The Yizkor-Books-In-Print Project was created several years ago to translate into English and publish yizkor books which are typically written in Hebrew and Yiddish. It now has 55 titles available. To see a list of all the books, go to

JewishGen Again Offers Independent Study Class
JewishGen is once again offering its Independent Study course from July 10–31. It provides mentoring on a private project which the student chooses. This session will follow the format of other JewishGen Education classes using one-on-one consultations via their private Internet Forum. The Forum is open 24/7 to accommodate students in various time zones. Tuition is $200. Complete information 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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