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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 15, Number 18 | May 11, 2014

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
Happy Mother’s Day!

Finding Your Roots to return to PBS
Finding Your Roots will return to the U.S. Public Broadcasting System (PBS) September 23. Harvard scholar and cultural critic, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., will continue to host the program. This second season features 30 guests including Ben Affleck, Billie Jean King, Ken Burns, Anderson Cooper, Courtney B. Vance, Stephen King, Sally Field, Gloria Reuben, Rebecca Lobo, Carole King, Deepak Chopra, Ming Tsai, Angela Bassett, Valerie Jarrett, Aaron Sanchez, Derek Jeter, Tony Kushner, Nas, Tom Colicchio, and Khandi Alexander.

Spring Issue of AVOTAYNU to Printers
The Spring issue of AVOTAYNU will go to the printer this week. It is the usual 68-page issue. A reminder to 2013 American subscribers who failed to renew, you received a postcard in the mail recently. Send a check to Avotaynu’s offices to renew for one, two or three years. Non-U.S. subscribers may take a little longer to receive the notice.

The lead article is an interview by AVOTAYNU editor, Sallyann Amdur Sack-Pikus, with David E. Rencher, Chief Genealogical Officer of Family¬Search, regarding the significance of the cooperation agreement that organization has made with commercial genealogy sites such as and MyHeritage. DNA is an ever-growing item of interest in the genealogical community, and there are three articles on that subject. There is a major article on Holocaust-related restitution and compensation files and their genealogical significance.

All told there are 15 articles, four book reviews, plus the usual information columns: From Our Contributing Editors, U.S. Update, Ask the Experts and From Our Mailbox. The front page (Table of Contents) can be found at You can subscribe to AVOTAYNU at

New DNA Tests Claims To Trace Ancestry to Within 30 Miles
Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter notes an article that reports a new DNA test that claims to trace ancestry to within 30 miles, with a 98 percent success rate. Called the Geographic Population Structure tool, it studies admixture, which is where two previously separate populations begin to interbreed and create a new gene pool. It is stated that it is then possible to understand where and when changes to historic DNA took place. They use 100,000 DNA signatures which are typical to specific geographical regions, and then compare these to autosomal chromosomes of a person being tested.

The report says, “In one test, the team could place 25 percent of residents of 10 villages in Sardinia to their specific villages, and the other 75 percent to within 31 miles. In 20 islands within Oceania, they could track 90 percent back to their exact island.”

The complete article can be found at

FamilySearch Additions for the Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, 5.4 million indexed records and images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from England, New Zealand, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Spain and the U.S. states of Georgia, Iowa, New York, Ohio and Washington. Notable is more than 2.1 million index records London (England) Electoral Registers, 1847–1913.

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 often are the number added, not the total number available in the collection, which can be greater.

IIJG Wants Volunteers for Jacobi Project
The International Institute for Jewish Genealogy and Paul Jacobi Center has recently initiated a large project with the object of publishing the late Paul Jacobi's 114 typewritten genealogical studies (monographs) on European rabbinical and other prominent Jewish families (see

IIJG need volunteers to perform the following tasks:
   • Copy-editing the re-typed text.
   • Formatting the text (in MS Word)
   • Building outline family trees from the text (also in MS Word)

The first task requires a high level of native English and experience in copy-editing. The second and third require experience in working with MS Word. The work will be spread out over the next ten months, starting immediately. Contact Ami Elyasaf, Director of IIJG at

Dutch Site: Wie Was Wie
The Dutch genealogy website Wie Was Wie (Who Was Who) is now available in English at To gain an understanding of the scope of the database, the surname Levy appears in 2,989 documents as early as 1798 and as recently as 1959. The source of the data at the site is Dutch archival material as well as user-generated content.

National Library of Australia Adds More Newspapers to Online Collection
The National Library of Australia has added an additional 35 historic newspapers to their online collection at, according to GenealogyInTime magazine. The greatest concentration of newspapers in this latest update is from New South Wales. Most of the new additions cover the date range from about 1875 to 1960, with many in the 1910 to 1945 era. Most of the additions appear to be from small towns.

Brodno Jewish Cemetery in Warsaw Will Be Restored
Restoration of the Jewish cemetery in the Warsaw district of Brodno will commence in June. According to official records, the cemetery was established in 1780, however, the first burials had taken place before, in the mid-18th century. Tens of thousands of Jewish citizens of Warsaw and nearby towns were buried there before the outbreak of World War II. The restoration will include cleaning the cemetery of old and unneeded trees, new alleys will be created, and a building for exhibitions and tourist information will be built. Tombstones from the central part of the cemetery will remain intact. The Jewish Religious Community in Warsaw reckons that moving the tombstones would be against Jewish law given that their original location is impossible to establish.

There is no indication of plans to index the surviving headstones. The complete article can be found at

Contribute to the Success of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy
Help support a dynamic institution that in its brief existence already has been the catalyst for such benefits to Jewish genealogy as the Beider-Morse Phonetic Matching System,  Sephardic DNA and Migration project, inventorying the Paul Jacobi Collection of 400 prominent Ashkenazic lineages, the Proposed Standard for Names, Dates and Places in a Genealogical Database, and a system for Integrating Genealogical Datasets.

Visit the IIJG website at and read about these developments, as well as  ongoing and proposed projects.

Make your tax-deductible contribution by credit card or PayPal at Click the Donate link. If you prefer, mail a check to Avotaynu Foundation,  794 Edgewood Ave., New Haven, CT 06515, USA. Make the check payable to “Friends of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy.” Donations are tax deductible for U.S. taxpayers.
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