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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 17, Number 30 | July 31, 2016
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.

No Issue of Nu? What’s New? Next Week
There will be no issue of Nu? What’s New? next week. My wife and I will be attending the IAJGS 36th International Conference on Jewish Genealogy being held in Seattle, Washington. This will be the 33rd conference I have attended, having missed only two conferences held in London and last year’s conference in Jerusalem. Last Friday I went through the complete program to highlight lectures that would be of interest to me. Remarkably there was a session of interest in almost all the time periods. Further proof of the value of these conferences to beginners, intermediate, advanced and old dogs like me.

New Collections at FamilySearch
FamilySearch has not made a formal announcement about new record collections and additions to collections since early June, but adding indexes and digital images continues—many valuable to Jewish family history research. The most recent additions can be found at Click the words “Last Updated” to provide the list in chronological order, most recent first. There are more than 75 new references to their collection since June 17.

CEO of FamilySearch Discusses Future Plans
Steve Rockwood, president and chief executive officer of FamilySearch, gave the keynote address at the recently completed BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy. As described at the Ancestry Insider website, he discussed some future plans for the organization.
   • It is their goal to complete digitization of all of their microfilms in the next three years. But the records will still have to be indexed. To solved this problem, FamilySearch is moving in three directions:
      – Indexing by volunteers
      – Commercial partnerships with companies that already have indexed collections
      – Automation. Programming computers to index the documents
   • For people new to family history research, FamilySearch will focus more on the emotional aspect of discovery rather than the facts provided by records. The Memories experience area at the FamilySearch website will continue to stay core to their strategy. It consists mostly of photos and stories provided by contributors. Rockwood noted that photos and stories that are valuable now will have “unbelievable power” for generations to come.

The complete article at the Ancestry Insider can be found at

Maceva Now Charging for Access to Its Records
Readers who follow the Ruth Ellen Gruber e-zine, Jewish Heritage Europe, are aware of the numerous cases of plans to restore and document Jewish cemeteries in Eastern Europe. None is more significant than the Maceva project which focuses not on a specific town, but all the towns in Lithuania where Jews once lived.

All these cemetery restoration projects require money, and now Maceva is feeling the pinch of its success and has become a fee-for-service site. Under the new policy, Maceva will require people wanting to access one cemetery in its database to pay $100 for access. Those wishing to access all cemeteries will pay $500. People who have already in the past made donations of $100 or $500 will be granted access. Also students doing research on cemeteries, donors, and volunteers who take part in clean-up or documentation will continue having unlimited access.

If you are of Litvak ancestry, consider contributing to this organization which is doing important work. Contribute even if there is no immediate benefit to you. The Maceva site is located at The Jewish Heritage Europe article is at

Opposing Decisions by European Country Courts on “Right to Be Forgotten”
Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee, reports that the French and Belgium Cour de Cassation (their highest court) came to opposite conclusions regarding freedom of expression vs. privacy. The Belgian court recently ruled that an individual had the right not only to have certain newspaper articles expunged from search engines such as Google, but also the search engine of the newspaper itself. The ruling applies to Belgian newspapers only. The French court previous came to the opposite conclusion. An article about the Belgian decision appears at extends-newspaper-archives.

Family History Library to Hold Seminars/Webinars on U.S. and European Research
If you conclude that attending the week-long IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy is not enough of a dose of genealogy for the next 45 days, the Family History Library is holding two week-long seminars/webinars devoted to (1) United States research and (2) European research.

Seminar of U.S. Research. The seminar, which will be held August 22–26 at the Library in Salt Lake City, is meant for beginning and intermediate genealogists interested in learning about U.S. regions and records, FamilySearch resources and Family History Library collections. It is also being presented in webinar format. Information about the event can be found at

European Family History Conference. This conference to be held September 12–16, is also meant for beginning and intermediate genealogists. The event will teach how to effectively use historical records and how to do research in several European countries. It will explore such topics as census, church, immigration, and vital records. Learn more about German, Swiss, Russian, and Polish research. Discover new techniques, strategies, and methodology to apply to your genealogical research problems. Information about the event can be found at

FindMyPast Adds English/Welsh Criminal Records
Do you have a British ancestor/relative with a shady past? FindMyPast has added more than 2.5 million English and Welsh crime and punishment records to their collection which covers the period 1775–1935. The collection now totals more than 5 million records. See

To submit a Page of Testimony, go to Click the words “Download Pages of Testimony Forms.”

Join the ranks of Yad Vashem’s worldwide network of volunteers working in one-on-one outreach efforts with Holocaust survivors and members of their generation to recover the names of Shoah victims before they are lost forever. For ideas and resources on how to launch a names recovery campaign in your area, visit Yad Vashem’s Community Outreach Guide for updated program information on the project in Israel and in Russian speaking Jewish communities around the world.

Yad Vashem has provided a 10-minute Pages of Testimony tutorial video at the site to learn how to help survivors and others from their generation to fill out Pages of Testimony. To volunteer for the project or for more information contact
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