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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 16, Number 10 | March 8, 2015

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.

Australia May Replace Complete Census with Sampling
Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee, reports that Australia may replace its census with a smaller sample survey to cut costs. Australia has had a census every five years since 1911. In 2011, it cost $440 million, and the 2016 census is expected to be more expensive because of changes in information technology. The Bureau of Statistics needs several hundred million to update its aging technology systems. A video about the subject plus additional information can be seen at

Conference Update – Winners of First Drawing
The 35th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy is to be held in Jerusalem from July 6-10, 2015. Israel is an incredible place to visit as a tourist. On Sunday, July 5, 2015, the conference planners are offering “Exploration Sunday,” a variety of research and touring options. Prices will range from $45 to $100 depending on itinerary. All tours are in English. Tours include Yad Vashem; The Central Archives of the History of the Jewish People and the National Library of Israel; Central Archives of the History of the Jewish People; Central Zionist Archives and the Old Yishuv Court Museum; Ghetto Fighter’s House Museum and the Illegal Immigrants Detention Camp in Atlit; Old City of Jerusalem; New City of Jerusalem; Latrun and Mini-Israel; Caesaria, Zichron Ya’akov and Ein Hod; Palmach Museum and Tel Aviv walking tour; Weizmann Institute, Rishon Le-Zion Aliyah Museum, Museum of Babylonian Jewry; Eretz Israel Museum and Jaffa; Dig For a Day; Masada and Dead Sea area.

Winners of the February 15 drawing won two nights’ accommodation at the Ramada Hotel, a ticket to a SIG luncheon and a ticket to the closing banquet. The three winners were from Australia, UK and the U.S. The next drawing will be March 15. All persons registered for the conference by that date will participate. Other prizes include hotel accommodations, free registration to “Exploration Sunday,” subscriptions, subscriptions, touring, expert assistance to locate your Israeli family, and more.

The conference website is at

EU “Right To Be Forgotten Law” Faces Opposition
The European Union’s right to be forgotten and right to be erased provisions which would allow European Union citizens to request erasure of their mention in such places as Google, is now receiving opposition from some government officials. A digital rights activist claims the regulation “is now at risk of becoming an empty shell.” He said member states are “undermining the meaning of every article, every paragraph, almost every single comma and full stop in the original proposal.”

Who is undermining the proposal: Big business and the governments themselves who find that the proposals are a detriment to their operation.

You can read the complete report at Jan Meisels Allen has a continuous report of the controversy at the IAJGS Records Access Alert archives: You must be a registered subscriber to access the archives. To register go to

FindMyPast Offering Free Access Until Monday
FindMyPast is offering free access to their collection of more two billion records until 7am on Monday, March 9th ET. My personal experience is that much of the U.S. records can be found on other sites—at no charge on FamilySearch—but FindMyPast is particularly strong in records from Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and the UK. The announcement can be found at

Once Again: Deadline for Renewal of AVOTAYNU
Deadline for receiving the discount renewal for AVOTAYNU and participating in the drawing for a free copy of any book published by AVOTAYNU was extended to March 8 (today) for U.S. subscribers and March 15 for others. We received reports from some U.S. subscribers that they received their copies just recently, even though the issue was mailed three weeks ago. Persons can also pay by check and receive the discount offer. Renew at

Family History Daily Identifies 50 Free Genealogy Sites
Family History Daily has identified 50 genealogy sites that provide information at no charge. There is a brief description of each site. For example, Chronicling America, which has been mentioned in previous editions of Nu? What’s New?, is a database of archived U.S. newspapers at the Library of Congress website. Many on the list are known to Jewish genealogists such as JewishGen, Litvak SIG, BillionGraves and FamilySearch itself. The list is at

Plan to Reconstruct a Wooden Synagogue in Poland
The Museum of Folk Architecture in Sanok, Poland, plans to add another building in the replica of a pre-war town already on display in the museum which includes, among others, the Catholic and the Orthodox churches, district authorities’ headquarters, shops and workshops. The new structure will be a replica of the 17th century synagogue from Polaniec. Traditional materials and technologies will be used. The currently laid underpinning is made of broken sandstone without mortar. To reconstruct the synagogue about 150 cubic meters of fir wood will be needed. Additional information is available at

Overview of MyHeritage Products
Sometimes it is hard to understand what, in general, is available at a genealogy website. MyHeritage Chief Genealogist, Daniel Horowitz, gave a lecture about his company’s products at the recently completed RootsTech conference and an abstract of it was placed on the FamilySearch blog.

Horowitz highlighted the following MyHeritage features:
   • 1.7 Billion records
   • 27 Million trees
   • 75 million users
   • 200 Million pictures
   • Record collections from 35 countries
   • Information accessible in 40 languages
   • Smart Matches™ suggest connections to relatives and shared ancestors with easy                             communication tools to get in touch with other MyHeritage users
   • You get to decide who sees your tree
   • International dictionary of names
   • Use of “fuzzy” comparisons rather than soundex matching that most other sites use which usually eliminate many international spellings of names.
   • Country flags show up in search results

You can read the article on the blog at

EHRI Offers Online Holocaust Studies Courses
European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI) is offering online Holocaust studies courses. Current programs are:
   • Ghettos under Nazi Rule
   • The Nazi Camps and the Persecution and Murder of the Jews
   • The Holocaust in Ukraine
   • Persecution in Western Europe
   • The Germans and the Holocaust
Additional courses are planned. Information can be found at

“Holocaust by Bullets” Exhibit in Los Angeles Until March 15
For those who live in the Los Angeles area, the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust has an exhibit “Holocaust By Bullets: Yahad - In Unum, 10 Years of Investigations” through March 15. It features ten years of field investigations in the former Soviet Union by Yahad - In Unum, the organization founded by French Catholic priest Father Patrick Desbois. The exhibit enables the visitor to uncover, step by step, the crime committed by the Nazi killing units known as the Einsatzgruppen, who went from village to village in the occupied Soviet Union and rounded up Jews, gypsies, and Soviet commissars and murdered them person by person, bullet by bullet. Known as the “Holocaust by Bullets,” the systematic killing of all Jews started before the creation of concentration camps and continued until towards the end of WWII—1942 to 1944.

A more detailed description of the exhibit can be found at

More About Rabbi Israel Porush
The last issue of Nu? What’s New? described Israel Porush as the late Chief Rabbi of Australia. Chaim Freedman of Israel, who was born in Australia, notes that Australia never had a Chief Rabbi nor did any of its capital cities have a Chief Rabbi. Freedman states that Rabbi Porush was the Chief Minister of the Great Synagogue in Sydney and Av Beit Din of the Sydney Beth Din.

Switched at Birth
There is a fascinating human interest story about a genealogist who took a DNA test and found her profile in no way described her parents’ ancestry. Intensive research was able to determine she was switched at birth.

As the lead of the article states: “Three years ago I blithely took a DNA test at AncestryDNA. At the time, the fact that it was in beta, somewhat alleviated my concern when I first saw my results. I was three quarters Irish with the remainder being a English/Scottish mix, but the test claimed I was half Jewish. It was as if half my ancestry was wrong. The results had to be wrong! I was expecting to see Mc and Mac relatives, but the names were overwhelming Eastern European, Russian, and Jewish. I can assure you, they weren't any of my relatives, or were they?”

The article is at century_27.html.

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 2015, 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