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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 16, Number 42 | November 1, 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.

Announce Project To Digitize Jewish Council Archives In Europe
A consortium of seven European archive and research institutes has received a grant from the Claims Conference for a two-year digitization project of Jewish Council Archives in Europe. This includes archival collections of Jewish Councils and Associations in Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Poland, Israel and The Netherlands. The announcement indicated that online access to these documents would be considered.

During the Second World War, Jewish Councils or Associations were established throughout Europe. They functioned as representative bodies for local, regional and national Jewish communities and, as such, were sometimes closely involved by the German occupier in the execution of the extermination policy of the Nazis.

Partners in the project are the Hungarian Jewish Archives, Jewish Historical Institute (Poland), Jewish Museum in Prague (Czech Republic), Kazerne Dossin (Belgium), National Archives of Finland, NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies (Netherlands) and Yad Vashem (Israel). NIOD will act as coordinator. The project is expected to be completed in July 2017.

Additional information is at

FindMyPast Offers 1939 Register of England and Wales (Census)
FindMyPast is making the 1939 Register available online starting November 2. The Register is a census of the population of England and Wales—41 million people—that were taken in September 1939. It contains the names, addresses and occupations of everyone in England and Wales at the time, and was used as the basis for rationing, identity cards and, in post-war Britain, the National Health Service. The fee-for-service site is located at A description on how to search the Register can be found at Now Has Indexed 207 Yizkor Books now has indexed the contents of 207 yizkor books. They also have added transliteration of Latin letters into Hebrew, so it is unnecessary to know the Hebrew spelling if searching for a surname. When there are results, there are links to the exact page of the online yizkor book collection at the New York Public Library at
After going to the GenealogyIndexer home page at, change the “any Collection” drop-down menu to “Yizkor Books” and the “No Transliteration” option to “Add Latin -> Hebrew” if you are providing the Latin-letters equivalent of the surname. If providing the Hebrew characters, leave the drop-down menu at “No Transliteration.”

In addition to trying the transliteration scheme, if you know the correct Hebrew spelling, also search using the correct Hebrew characters because transliterations can give false positives. Searching for “Mokotow,” in addition to locating information about family members, also provided results for the Hebrew word “write.” Also note that the Yiddish spelling of a surname may differ from the Hebrew spelling, so two searches may be necessary.

A list of currently available yizkor books is at

23andMe Now Includes Reports That Meet FDA Standards
The DNA service, 23and Me, has made peace with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). In 2013, FDA sent a warning letter to the company stating, “ are marketing the 23andMe Saliva Collection Kit and Personal Genome Service (PGS) without marketing clearance or approval in violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (the FD&C Act).” The letter continues with justification why the 23andMe website statements fall under the scrutiny of FDA, and why the results of the DNA testing may lead customers to come to wrong conclusions (false positives or false negatives) about the results provided.

23andMe now reports they are the “first and only genetic service available directly to you that includes reports that meet FDA standards.” Existing customers can now access redesigned versions of many of the same health and ancestry reports that they previously received.
The full announcement is at

Australia Joins “Right To Be Forgotten” Proponents
Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee, reports that Google lost a case in Australia where a person sued Google for indexing a number of online reports that were defamatory to the person. The Supreme Court of South Australia agreed that Google can be held liable for the content and should be considered the “publisher” of the content.

Long Form Canadian Census May Return. Meisels Allen also notes that the election of a new prime minister in Canada may signal the return of long-form census. It was a campaign promise of newly-elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The long-form census was cancelled in 2010—citing privacy concerns—in favor of a voluntary (opt-in) National Household Survey (NHS). The survey did not have the desired response rate. The last NHS was held in 2011 and had a 69% response rate vs. 94% of the last mandatory long-form census in 2006. Additional information is at

Read More Records Access Alerts. Jan Meisels Allen is a prolific writer on records access matters. Nu? What’s New? does not publish all of her announcements, especially those that are specific to a region with a small Jewish history. If you would like to receive all her postings, register at In addition to your name, registration requires the name of an Organization. Use “Nu? What’s New?.” You will receive an e-mail response that you have to reply to for the subscription to be finalized. To access the archives of the IAJGS Records Access Alerts, go to: You must be registered to access the archives.

FamilySearch Add 1 million Records This Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, 1M indexed records and images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Argentina, Brazil, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ukraine (church records) and the U.S. state of Montana.

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. Now Has 275 Genealogy Courses
FamilyTreeWebinars, a producer of online webinars for genealogy, now has a backlog of 275 courses that are available by subscription. They include a combined 1,203 pages of instructors' handouts. The company also has a policy of offering new webinars for free if watched live when they are first presented.

The planned programs for November can be found at webinars.php. One is “Mapping Madness” presented by Ron Arons, a member of the JGS of San Francisco and frequent lecturer at Jewish Genealogical Societies and annual conferences. The lecture will teach where to find historical maps online and off and discover mapping tools that help understand our ancestors' migration patterns. Included will be such map sources as Google Maps, Bing Maps, MapCruncher, AniMap, etc.

Courses can be viewed on computers, smart phones, tablets or other mobile devices. Additional information is at the company’s website:

Ancestry Mexico Launches With More Than 220 Million Records
Ancestry has a new website——designed for Mexicans and Mexican Americans. It is completely in Spanish. Any subscriber who considers his/her native tongue to be Spanish may want to consider this version of Ancestry. The company stated the site includes more than 220M searchable historical records from Mexico, including new birth, marriage, and death records dating back to the 1500s.

In celebration of Dia de los Muertos, Ancestry will provide free access to these new records through November 2.

Morse Site Helps Search Canadian and British Censuse
 The Stephen P. Morse One-Step site recently added the 1921 Canadian census to its collection of Canadian and British censuses that can be searched from this portal. The site now includes:
   • 1851–1921 Canadian Census
   • 1881 Canadian Census
   • 1901 Canadian Census
   • 1841–1901 British Census
   • 1901 British Census

They can be accessed at Those entries preceded by a dollar sign ($) indicate complete information requires a paid subscription to the host site; in this case

NEHGS Offering Free Access to Cemetery Databases Through November 7
The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) is offering access at no charge to their collection of American cemetery databases accessible through November 7. Some are specifically Jewish, namely:
   • American Jewish Historical Society – New England Archives: Jewish Cemeteries in Massachusetts
   • Charleston, South Carolina: Inscriptions in Old Jewish Cemeteries, 1762–1903.

The site is located at
Registration is required. It appears not to be possible to search all cemetery databases at one time. The one database outside New England other than the Charleston one mentioned above is for Brooklyn cemetery inscriptions. It contains no information for Jewish cemeteries.

Holocaust Center for Humanity Opens in Seattle
If you are planning to attend the annual IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Seattle this summer, be aware there is a new Holocaust museum in the city. The Henry and Sandra Friedman Holocaust Center for Humanity is located at 2045 2nd Avenue in Seattle. Their opening hours are limited: Wednesdays, 10:00am–4:00pm; 1st and 3rd Sundays, 10:00am–4:00pm. Their website is at

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 
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 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

* Also see Russia and USSR ** Also see individual countries
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