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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 14, Number 40 | October 13, 2013

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
Considering Hiring a Professional Genealogist?
More than 2,600 people worldwide consider their profession (part-time or full time) to be family history research. They are all members of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG). There are a number of reasons why you might want to hire a professional genealogist:
   • You cannot devote enough time to your family history research and are willing to hire a professional to do the work.
   • You have hit a brick wall and want help from an experienced person.
   • Research is required in another geographic area, and it would be too expensive to travel to the location.

Visit the APG site at Use the “Find a Researcher” function to locate a professional who is listed by research specialty (e.g. Jewish), geographic specialty (e.g. Lithuania) or location (where professional resides). For example, if I know specific records exist in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, I will hire someone who lives in the area to get the records. It is less time consuming and probably less costly than having the microfilms sent to a local Family History Center.

One advantage of hiring an APG member is that the organization has a dispute resolution process where they will arbitrate disagreements between a client and the professional. The complaint is processed by their Professional Review Committee. If the conclusion is that the professional violated the APG Code of Ethics and the matter is not corrected, the professional will lose his/her membership in the organization.

JewishGen also has a list of professional genealogists who do research in Central and Eastern Europe. Most live in their native lands. Included with the name of each person is the name of the individual doing the recommending along with their e-mail address. The list is at

FamilySearch Additions for the Week
Recent additions to FamilySearch, both indexes and browseable images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Argentina, BillionGraves, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Italy and the U.S. states of Illinois and Ohio. Included are more than 1.6 million index entries to Canada Passenger Lists, 1881–1922. The index is still a work-in-progress and appears to go only through about 1910. Also nearly a million records were added to their index for Ohio County Marriages, 1789–1994.

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.

New Site Has Israeli Tombstones
A posting to JewishGen notes that there is a new website that has images of headstones in five cemeteries in Israel. It is located at The site is in Hebrew. The five cemeteries are Yarkon (which is located near Petach Tikva, and serves Tel Aviv and its
satellite cities), Modi'in cemetery, Atlit cemetery, Kibbutz Yechiam cemetery and Kibbutz Ma'oz Chayim. There are plans to add additional cemeteries. If you are familiar with the Hebrew alphabet and do not have a Hebrew keyboard, use the Steven P. Morse “English to Hebrew Transliteration” function to create the Hebrew characters. The Levy Test demonstrates there are only four persons named Levy in the database.

Study Claims Ancestors of Contemporary Jews Were “Shiksas”
Once again the question of whom contemporary Jews are descended from has become controversial based on a study at University of Huddersfield in England which concludes that mitochodrial DNA shows that the female ancestors of today’s Jews were not Jewish but European women who married Jewish men and converted to Judaism. A previous mitochondrial DNA study in 2006 showed origins in the Near East. The current researchers state the 2006 study analyzed only a short length of the mitochondrial DNA, while the current study looked at the entire mitochondrial genome. Such studies can take on political significance because anti-Israel proponents will claim that scientific evidence demonstrates today’s Jews are not descended from biblical Jews and, therefore, are not entitled to a presence in the Holyland. The New York Times version of the news release can be found at

FamilySearch Photo Archives Reaches One Million Images
The FamilySearch Photo Archive located at now has more than one million images. Persons are encouraged to submit pictures of their family identifying the people in the pictures. The photos are public and can be seen without signing in. An invitation to see a photo can be shared socially through Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and email. By clicking on a shared link, the visitor is taken directly to the photo for viewing. The announcement 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 
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 Cost is $35 (one-time charge).

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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

Nu? What's New? is published weekly by Avotaynu, Inc.
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