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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 15, Number 24 | June 22, 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
JewishGen Affected By Website Down Earlier in Week
The web servers were the victim of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack last Tuesday, which forced it to shut down for more than 24 hours. A DDoS is the deliberate act of overwhelming a website with meaningless requests to the point where the website servers cannot handle any requests including legitimate ones.

Most of the functions of were back in operation by Wednesday, but JewishGen, which uses servers did not start to come online until late Wednesday. At that time, the web pages were available, but none of its databases were accessible. They became available on Saturday and by Sunday, the Discussion Groups were back in operation.
One news account of the attack can be found at

Twisted Twigs
The attack on the website made me aware of a delightful website on Facebook called Twisted-Twigs-On-Gnarled-Branches-Genealogy at The site consists of cartoons that spoof genealogy researchers. An example is their reaction to the attack shown at the right (click on the image to enlarge). Another example is a thought well known to veteran researchers: “If the highlight of your recent vacation was a cemetery visit…you must be a genealogist.”

Watch a Preview of “IAJGS LIVE!”
The conference planners have created a short video of the experience of watching selected lectures being webcast to people who register for “IAJGS LIVE!”. More than 60 of the sessions at the IAJGS conference will be broadcast live over the Internet and will be available for another 90 days after the conference. At most times, two different sessions will be broadcasting LIVE!, so registered users can go back later to watch the other session that was missed or even watch a session previously viewed.

See the preview at At the end of the video, the list of lectures is presented as a scroll. Hit the Pause button on the video viewer to pause the scrolling so the list can be easily read.

Register for LIVE! at Cost is $149. If you are attending the conference you can add LIVE! to your regular conference registration for only $99.

Preview Video of Finding Our Roots Identifies New Celebrities
The second season of Finding Your Roots, will premier September 23 on U.S. PBS stations. It again features host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. showing family history research done for celebrities. Professor Gates is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research.

The show patterns itself after the popular Who Do You Think You Are? program. A three-minute preview at discloses 18 of the planned guests. They include Ben Affleck, Khandi Alexander, Angela Bassett, Ken Burns, Tom Colicchio, Anderson Cooper, Derek Jeeter, Ben Jellous, Billy Jean King, Carole King, Stephen King, Tony Kusher, Rebecca Lobo, Nas, Gloria Rueben, Aaron Sanchez, Anna Deavere Smith and Courtney Vance.

FamilySearch Additions for the Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, 4.9 million indexed records and images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Portugal, Switzerland and Venezuela. The only United States collection is an additional 27,000 World War I Draft Registration indexes.

The notable addition for Jewish family history research is more than 2.5 million indexed Costa Rica Civil Registration (1860–1975) records. Why Costa Rica and Jewish family history research? Because after World War II a number of Holocaust survivors fled to this country. The index shows 125 records for persons named Levy, almost all post-WWII records.

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 
 Google Custom Search engine
 Download or print articles

 Cost is $35 (one-time charge).

 Additional information at

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.
Copyright 2014, Avotaynu, Inc. All rights reserved

To change an e-mail address, send a request to

To subscribe to AVOTAYNU, The International Review of Jewish Genealogy, go to

To order books from our catalog, go to

To contact us by postal mail, write: Avotaynu, Inc.; 794 Edgewood Ave.; New Haven, CT 06515

Telephone  (U.S.) : 475-202-6575