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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 21, Number 1 | Janury 5, 2020

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.

Auschwitz Archives Online Data to Grow Substantially
For a number of years, the Auschwitz archives at
has had online an index to the remnant of documents not destroyed by the Germans as they fled the Russian advance on the concentration/extermination camp. According to estimates, more than 90% of the source materials were destroyed.

The archives collection includes original German camp records, copies of documents obtained from other institutions in Poland and abroad, source material of postwar provenance (memoirs, accounts by former prisoners, material from the trials of Nazi war criminals, etc.), photographs, microfilms, negatives, documentary films, scholarly studies, reviews, lectures, exhibition scenarios, film scripts and search results.

Currently available material can be searched at

Now the Archives plans to add transport lists to its database. They estimate 900,000 Jews were deported in mass transports from German-occupied Europe and murdered in the gas chambers immediately upon arrival at the camp without registration. As early as May 2020, more than 420,000 names from the transport lists of Jews deported to the camp will be added to the database.

Additional information can be found at

List of Top Ten Genealogy Sites Accessed
Alexa is a company that provides statistical information about websites. It is a subsidiary of Amazon. For genealogy-related companies it shows the top ten sites visited by individuals to be (in order) Ancestry, FamilySearch, 23andme, Geni, FindAGrave, Newspapers, MyHeritage, Geneanet, and

JewishGen ranked 31 and the SteveMorse site 45. The list can be found at

Top Male Names Among New York Passenger Lists, 1820–1957
MyHeritage has done an analysis of the top male names of immigrants coming through the Port of New York in each decade from 1820 until the 1950s. It is used to demonstrate how the countries of origin of immigrants changed as the years passed. The name “John” remained the most common name among passengers during almost the entire period of 110 years with a brief capitulation to William in the 1920s.

Included with the article is a graphic visualization of the top male names in each decade showing quantity and most common country of origin for the top nine names.

The complete article and graphic can be found on the MyHeritage blog at

Dutch Jewish Genealogy Organization to Disband
Jewish Heritage Europe reports that this summer the Dutch Jewish genealogy organization, Amoetat Akevoth, will cease its activities, its web site will close down, and its data will be transferred to The transfer of data to will take place in February and March.

The activities of the Stenen Archief (Stone Archive) project, the digitization project of the Ashkenazic cemeteries in the Netherlands, will continue unchanged, but management will be transferred to a new Dutch organization (which it did not name).

The complete announcement can be found at

First Lists of the Passenger Registers Holland-America Line Online
The Rotterdam City Archives is in the process of indexing passenger registers for the Holland-America Line from 1900–1969. A quarter of the lists, namely those from the period 1900–1920 are now online. The Holland-America Line operated ticket offices in Bulgaria, Latvia and Russia where tickets could be bought for the train to Rotterdam, the boat to America and by train to any station in the United States.

The announcement can be found at

Gesher Galicia Adds Global Search Capability
Gesher Galicia Special Interest Group has added a global search capability to its index of records from Galicia. These include Jewish vital records, censuses, Holocaust-period records and community records. It can be found at

The organization states that further refinements will be added to this facility, and it will also be extended to cover those Josephine and Franciscan cadastral survey records from Galicia that they are aware of, as well as Jewish taxpayer records and some other types of records.

Index of All Persons Deceased in France 1970–2019 Now Online
The French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) has released the index of all persons who were deceased in France from 1970 to 2019. It can be searched at Basic information provided is name, years of birth and death and place of death. Additional information such as name variants and parents’ names require a paid subscription.

Additional information can be found at Reported by Jan Meisels Allen.

FamilyTreeWebinars Announced for 2020
MyHeritage and FamilyTreeWebinars have announced that registration is now open for its 2020 Legacy Family Tree Webinars series, now in its 10th year. Choose from 100 classes from topics ranging from Australia to England to Spain, from Snagit to Virtual Private Networks, from the Mayflower to the 1939 Register, and from DNA Painter to endogamy.

The first webinar will be on January 8 and is titled “Mistakes I Have Made: Confessions of a Repentant Genealogist.” Register for free at upcoming-webinars-multireg.php.

50 Articles on Practicing Safe Computing
Hal Bookbinder has just published his 50th article on Practicing Safe Computing. Its title is “Discovering If You Have Been Pwned.” (Pwned is internet slang for the circumstance where personal data has been compromised by data breaches.) Other recent articles include “Data Management and Protection,” “Making the Most of Your Password Manager,” “Windows Updates” and “Apples are Also Vulnerable.”

Bookbinder is a former president of the Jewish Genealogy Society, Los Angeles (JGSLA) and the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS). He also has served in a leadership role for nine IAJGS international conferences.

The complete list—and links to the articles—can be found at

FamilySearch Adds Nearly 9M Records This Week
To make up for the lack of announced additions during the Christmas/New Year’s interim, FamilySearch announced the addition of nearly 9M index records to its collection this past week. The complete list of more than 80 record groups can be found at

This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from American Samoa, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, England, France, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Samoa, Sierra Leone, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay and Zimbabwe.

Major addition are indexes to:
   • France, Loiret, Civil Registration, 1793–1906
   • France, Var, Civil Registration, 1793–1914
   • Arizona, Nogales, Index and Manifests of Alien Arrivals, 1905–1952
   • Louisiana, New Orleans Index to Passenger Lists, 1853–1952
   • Uruguay, Passenger Lists, 1888–1980

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.

German Murderer Has a “Right to Be Forgotten”
Jan Meisels Allen, Chair of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee, reports that a German man convicted of murder in 1982 has the right to have his name removed from online search results and may request removing information from online archives. This was the ruling of Germany’s highest court, the constitutional court in Karlsruhe. The man was convicted of murdering two people in 1982 and given a life sentence. The case was made into a book and a TV documentary. The constitutional court overturned the decision which means it will be heard again in federal court.

The European “Right to Be Forgotten” law has been used by hundreds of thousands of individuals to have indexes to articles about them removed from search engines such as Google.

To read more about this case, see To read previous IAJGS Records Access Alert postings right to be forgotten and privacy see Also read a Wikipedia article at

Legislation Would State Neither Lithuania Nor Its Leaders Participated in the Holocaust
A Lithuanian parliament committee is drafting legislation declaring that neither Lithuania nor its leaders participated in the Holocaust. A spokesperson was quoted as saying, “The Lithuanian state did not participate in the Holocaust because it was occupied, just as the Lithuanian nation could not participate in the Holocaust because it was enslaved.”

In 2010, Avotaynu published the book Jews of the Kaišiadorys Region of Lithuania. It tells the history of the Jews of the region from its earliest days, but with emphasis on the early 20th century and Holocaust periods. It is evident from the book—which is properly sourced-footnoted—that Lithuanian Christians participated in the murder of Lithuanian Jews. The book ends with tales of Christians who rescued Jews. The last biography is about a man who was known by local Lithuanians to have helped Jews. As the book states, “On July 10, 1945, he went into the forest and never returned.”

An article about the planned legislation can be found at

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Each year AVOTAYNU publishes more than 300 pages of useful, interesting information about Jewish family history research that can help you in your research. Now in its 35th year, an index to the first 24 volumes is available to all the major articles.

Published quarterly, our contributing editors from 15 countries throughout the world regularly gather important information that appears in our issues. Our publishers, Gary Mokotoff and Sallyann Amdur Sack, are on a first name basis with officials at institutions containing genealogical data throughout the world. 
Some institutions are U.S. National Archives, U.S. Library of Congress, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Leo Baeck Institute,  Yad Vashem and  Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People.

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