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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 17, Number 7 | February 21, 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.

New TV Show: Relative Race
Further evidence of how genealogy has become part of our society’s culture is the announcement of yet another TV series with a family history theme. Called Relative Race, it is a variant of the TV program Amazing Race. It features four married couples as they travel across the U.S. in search of long lost relatives, armed with only paper maps, a rental car, $25 per diem and a flip phone.

Using the science and technology provided by AncestryDNA, the couples embark on a journey that starts in San Francisco, ends in New York City and leads them to unknown relatives along the way. Cameras follow all four teams as they drive across the country—more than 4500 miles—in just ten days, stopping each day to complete a challenge and find (and stay with) their newly discovered relatives in a different city. At the end of each day, the team that finishes last receives a strike; after three strikes, teams are eliminated and the remaining teams travel to New York City for the grand finale where there is a $25K grand prize for the winning couple.

The show premieres on February 28 at 8pm ET on BYUtv (Brigham Young University TV). If your cable network does not include this channel, the program can be watched live at I am a fan of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. In researching Relative Race, I discovered that live concerts of the Choir are given every Sunday morning on Additional information about the show can be found at

MyHeritage Adds Audio Recordings Feature
MyHeritage has added an audio recording feature to its mobile app. This feature allows the interviewing of relatives directly from their profile on the family tree stored on My Heritage. It is then possible to retrieve the interview for future generations to hear at your MyHeritage family site.

The audio recordings feature is free and available on the latest version of the MyHeritage mobile app on the App Store and Google Play. Additional information about the app can be found at

Parent Company of FTDNA Develops Most Comprehensive Genetic Screening Test
Family Tree DNA’s parent company, GeneByGene, has developed what it claims is the most expansive Jewish genetic disease screening test for preconception purposes. It expects to launch the “Foundation Preconception Carrier Screening Test” around November 1. The screening test will look at approximately 56 different diseases found in the Ashkenazi, Sephardic and Mizrachi communities worldwide. This test, with an expected 98 percent detection rate, will reveal if either parent is a carrier for disorders such as Gaucher Disease, Familial Mediterranean Fever or the seven mutations associated with cystic fibrosis found exclusively in Jews. If both parents test positive for being carriers, there is a one in four likelihood the child actually will have the disease. Results are provided to a physician who must order the test. Additional information can be found at

FamilySearch Adds 24 Million Records This Week
After a hiatus of five weeks, FamilySearch has added an astounding 25M records to its collection of indexed records and images. The list of new items can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Canada, England, Honduras, Italy, Liberia, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Ukraine (church records), Venezuela and the U.S. states of California, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Utah. There are also 227K indexes and records added to the BillionGraves database.

There is possibly something for everyone.

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.

New Book: Mobile Genealogy: How to Use Your Tablet and Smartphone for Family History Research
There is a new book available titled Mobile Genealogy: How to Use Your Tablet and Smartphone for Family History Research. It is 170 pages and whether you have an iPad, Android tablet, or a smartphone (or all three), the book “will help you put them to work for your genealogy research.” It describes a host of apps of value for family history research, provides the latest strategies for mobile genealogy and family history and is loaded with tips and tricks that make your mobile device a genealogy powerhouse!

Interestingly, it is available in paper form only—there is no Kindle-like version.

Additional information is at

Conferences Abound
The First International Conference on Founder Populations and Their Contribution to Our Understanding of Biology and History - Lessons from the Jewish Genome will be held July 10–14, 2016, at the Dan Carmel Hotel in Haifa, Israel. The conference aims to evaluate the contribution made by studying one of the most significant founder populations in the world, the Jewish community, and how this has promoted knowledge of disease biology and specific genetic pathways. In addition, it will explore how these studies advance our understanding of the historical movements of populations in ancient times, and the social and ethical context of genomic studies in a unique population. Jewish genealogy is part of the program. Complete information is at

Jewish Heritage Conference Planned for June in Warsaw. A conference, “Jewish Cultural Heritage: Projects, Methods, Inspirations,” will be held at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, June 8–10, 2016. The conference will explore issues related to Jewish cultural heritage in contemporary Europe – preservation, animation, engagement, and impact. Jewish Heritage Europe is one of the partners of the conference, and JHE Coordinator Ruth Ellen Gruber is slated to give one of the keynotes. Michael Tobias, JewishGen Vice President of Programming, is slated to be part of a panel that will discuss Jewish cultural heritage online data bases, platforms, and repositories. Information about the conference is at

14th Annual Northern Jewish Genealogy Conference, Manchester, England. The 14th Annual Northern Jewish Genealogy Conference will be held in Manchester, England, on Sunday, May 15, at the Greater Manchester Police Training College
Sedgley Park, Prestwich. It is hosted by the Manchester Regional Group of the
Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain. Information about the event can be found at

Reminder: Who Do You Think You Are? Live! 2016 to Be Held in Birmingham, England, April 7–9. As previously mentioned in Nu? What’s New?Who Do You Think You Are? Live! will be held this year in Birmingham, England, from April 7–9. They refer to themselves as “the world’s largest family history show.” They are in competition with RootsTech, who claims to be “the largest family history event in the world.” Additional information is at

Reminder: 36th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, August 7–12, Seattle, Washington. Information can be found at

Canadian Naturalization Index Will Be Extended to 1946
At the present time, the Library and Archives Canada website includes an index to all Canadian Naturalizations from 1915 to 1944. It is located at Ruth Diamond, project leader, reports that the 1945–46 indexes have been completed and were submitted to Library and Archives Canada. The addition should appear online later this month

International Jewish Genealogy Month Poster Competition 2016
The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) is holding it annual competition for a work to be used as either a poster or flyer for announcing and celebrating the International Jewish Genealogy Month—November 1–30, which coincides this year with the Hebrew Month of Cheshvan. Details about the competition are at The closing date for entries is June 20. Previous winners can be found at

JewishGen Education Courses for March
JewishGen is offering two of its regular courses for March:
   • First Basic I - Search Strategies. It focuses on using Google to search for family history information. Registration is limited to 50 students.
   • Complex Genealogy in the U.S. It focuses on the more complex documents our ancestors generated including naturalization, passports, death records (probate, obituaries, cemeteries), newspapers, city directories, immigration ports, major archives and libraries, military records, state and federal government records and Internet search.

Full descriptions, including requirements, and enrollment procedures can be found at

Annual Group Trip to Lithuania - June 28
July 8
For the tenth year, Peggy Mosinger Freedman is organizing a group trip to Lithuania from June 28 to July 8. Included are visits to various archives, synagogues, ghettos, Holocaust sites, meetings with Jewish leaders, sight-seeing, guide/interpreters, and two days to visit and spend time in your shtetl or shtetlach of interest. The price includes all meals (except for one dinner and two lunches), high-quality hotels, modern buses, and much more. This year the group size will be limited to 25. Details and a full itinerary of the trip can be found 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 
 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

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