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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 16, Number 33| August 30, 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.

There was no issue last week. We were on holiday.

Ancestry Collaborates with Gannett To Digitize More Than 80 U.S. Newspapers
Ancestry and Gannett have announced a collaboration where historical copies of 80 daily newspapers owned by Gannett will be digitized and made available at Ancestry’s site: Ultimately, the project will provide more than 100 million full-page images of historical newspapers, including every available page from the first date of publication to issues from 30 days ago.

They announced that more than four million searchable pages of the Cincinnati Enquirer are now available at Other newspapers that are part of the Gannett group include the Detroit Free PressArizona RepublicIndianapolis Star and Tennessean. A complete list of Gannett holdings can be found at

The complete announcement can be found at

Ancestry.UK Offering Free Access Until August 31
In honor of Bank Holiday, is offering free access to their one billion records through August 31. To access the data, go to In a bit of silliness, the search requires a given name. To do a surname-only search, put anything in the First Name field. I used the word “Anything” and got results. Registration is required.

USCIS Revises Webinar Name and Theme
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has revised and renamed its bi-monthly webinar, “Records Found,” to “Your Questions.” The webinars will occur on September 25, November 27 and January 22, 2016 at 1:00 pm. The presenter is Marian L. Smith, senior historian at the USCIS. The program will continue to focus on historical immigration and nationality records created by the legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).

If you have a research question about historical U.S. immigration and naturalization records, submit it to with the subject line “Your Questions Webinar.” If your question relates to a document you found, attach a copy of the document to the email. Documents submitted with questions may be shared and discussed during the live webinar. Do not send large or extensive files. Questions must be received at least two weeks prior to the scheduled session to be included in that session.
No pre-registration is required. Additional information, including how to access the webinar, is at

USCIS presents webinars on other topics. A list can be found at

Recent FamilySearch Additions
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. The collection includes records from Columbia, France, Philippines and the U.S. states of Illinois, Texas and Wisconsin.

None appear to be of great interest to Jewish family history research except perhaps additions to Wisconsin County Marriages 1836–1911.

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, which can be greater.

Nancy Levin Presenting Online Seminar: “Jewish Family History Research I”
Nancy C. Levin, CG, will be giving a course on “Jewish Family History Research I” on four consecutive Thursday evenings, from October 1 through October 22. It is one of the fee-for-service courses offered by the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research. Courses by the Institute are usually held Saturday mornings, but in consideration of Shabbat, they have been moved to Thursdays.

This course will focus on Ashkenazic Jewish family history research through ca. 1924. Specific topics include (but are not limited to) orthography and its affect on research; names and naming patterns; religious documents; gravestone inscriptions and landsmanshaftn burial societies; on-line research tools; JewishGen; SIGs (Special Interest Groups); and more. Some examples of early 20th century and 19th-century overseas records will be provided.

Levin is a full-time professional genealogist specializing in Jewish family history research. She has lectured internationally on topics pertaining to Jewish genealogy, immigration, and other topics. Past venues have included the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Society (IAJGS) annual conferences where she led the Beginner’s Workshops in Jewish Genealogy for nine years. She has written for AVOTAYNU and is the author of two chapters in the Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy. She has been certified by the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) with a specialty in Jewish genealogy.

Additional information, including how to register, is at

FindMyPast (UK) Adds British Jewry Book of Honour (1914–1920)
Saul Issroff reports that the UK version of FindMyPast has added the British Jewry Book of Honour (1914–1920) to its collection. It contains nearly 57,000 color images and transcripts of the original document. This two-volume book was published in 1922 to record and honor the contribution made by the 50,000+ Jews who served in the British and colonial forces during the First World War. The database can be found at british-jewry-book-of- honour-1914-1920?.

The book is also online at british-jewry-book-of-honour-1922

Irish Jewish Genealogical Society Has Online Database of 52,000 Individuals
The Irish Jewish Genealogical Society has placed online a database of more than 52,000 individuals who lived in Ireland from 1700 to the present day. Results potentially can produce a wealth of information including name, birth date/place, marriage date/place, death date/place, parents’ and spouse’s names, occupation, address(es)and other information. Browsing the births, remarkably there is no person named Cohen and only one person named Levy-McDermott. The society’s website is at

FindMyPast Adds Probate Calendars of England & Wales 1858–1959
A recent addition to FindMyPast is more then 500,000 records that are the Probate Calendars of England & Wales 1858–1959. They record the details of wills lodged with the National Probate Registry. Each entry gives the size of the estate and lists at least the executor and administrator of the will, and sometimes the main beneficiaries. The search engine can be found at Additional information is at england-wales-1858-1959.

Austrian War Archives Publishes Pamphlet on Genealogical Research
The Austrian War Archives has a 20-page pamphlet on Sources for Genealogical Research at the Austrian War Archives. It provides a history of the archives, conditions of doing genealogical research, types of documents, how to use the archives, professional researchers and other relevant material. It can be found at

Jewish Historical & Genealogical Society of Western Australia Has Website
The Jewish Historical & Genealogical Society of Western Australia has launched a website The content encompasses West Australian and other Jewish history as well as matters pertaining to genealogy.

Have You Registered to Receive Notices from Avotaynu Online?

Have you subscribed to Avotaynu’s latest venture: Avotaynu Online? We have created a special sign-on site at By registering, you will receive a weekly notice of items added to the site.

By virtue of its focus on the in-depth reporting of specific subjects, Avotaynu Online will be entirely distinct from the existing print journal, AVOTAYNU, which for over three decades has covered the broad spectrum of Jewish family history research, and from the weekly Nu? What’s New?, which reports breaking stories in the world of genealogy.

 Avotaynu Online is free of charge. 

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