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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 17, Number 15 | April 17, 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.

Annual Conference Schedule Now Online
Excitement mounts at the approach of the 36th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy to be held in Seattle from August 7–12. Conference planners have just posted the complete program schedule which can be found at It has some 325 events during the week—lectures, presentations, meal events and computer workshops—nearly 250 of them hosted by a speaker or panel. You can now register for meals and workshops including SIG and JewishGen luncheons, Friday night Shabbat dinners, gala banquet, computer workshops and daily box lunches.

Watch for the launch of the mobile conference application. The app will let you browse and search the list, build and update your personal daily schedule, get in touch with other conference goers and receive updates about new developments and schedule changes.

If you have not registered, act now. The early registration period, with its discount, ends April 30. Register at

Workshop on Certification to Be Offered for First Time at Conference
For the first time, the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies will be offering a workshop on certification at this conference. The workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, August 10. Three genealogists, all of whom hold the Certified Genealogist credential from the Board for Certification of Genealogists, will team up to run it. Together, these experts will guide attendees through what the certification process entails. Board-certified associates are known throughout the genealogical world as key participants in teaching, writing and executive leadership of the leading genealogical organizations.

European Parliament Approves the General Data Protection Regulation
Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee, reports that the European Parliament approved the General Data Protection Regulation on April 14. They approved the same version as the EU Council approved last week. Currently there is a patchwork of national rules and this is a one law for everyone. The new rules adopt the “right to be forgotten” as well as give data privacy regulators the authority to impose penalties amounting to up to 4 percent of annual turnover for global companies for noncompliance. The rules also state that individuals must give their “clear and affirmative consent” before companies, or governments, can process their private data.

Read the EU Press release at

Israel State Archives Places Records Online
The Israel State Archives has begun placing its entire collection online—9,000,000 scanned pages to date—at The system is still a work in progress. The first set of documents appears to be naturalizations during the Palestine Mandate period.

The English version is very primitive. It allows you to search for a person in Latin letters, the name result is in Latin letters, but all other information is in Hebrew. I did not find this much of an obstacle because Google Translate at accurately converted the Hebrew to English.

A controversy has erupted regarding plans to place these documents online. Certain papers may be subject to censorship by the Israeli military. According to Yaacov Lozowick, State Archivist, not more than 5 percent of the documents are under military scrutiny. For information about the controversy, see about-censorship-digitization/118567/.

FamilySearch Adds 4 Million Records This Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, 4 million indexed records and images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Peru, South Africa, Spain and the U.S. states of Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Vermont. In addition, Family Search added 354K records from

Most notable for persons with Jewish family history are additions to the index of Illinois Cook County (Chicago) Birth Certificates 1871–1940 and additions to the index of Germany Hesse Frankfurt Civil Registration 1811–1814 and 1833–1928

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.

MyHeritage Introduces Audio Recording Feature to Its App
MyHeritage has released an audio recording feature to its mobile app. This feature lets you interview relatives directly from their profile in your family tree and store the interview for future generations on your MyHeritage family site. Additional information is at

GenTeam Adds 1.3 Million Entries to Their Site
The Austrian site, has added approximately 1.3M additional entries to their site. Many are church records. Those that are not include:
   • Tenantry Registers of Moravia (190,000 entries)
   • Proselyte in Vienna movements back to Jewish Community (6,300 entries)
   • Eisenstadt (Burgenland) old Jewish Cemetery (1,100 gravestones)
   • Nuremberg (Germany) Index of Civil Records 1810–1983 650,000 additional entries

The site now has 14 million entries which can be referenced at no charge. GenTeam is a European platform through which historians and genealogists who work independently or as a team on databases can furnish data to researchers.

If you are interested in this region, register to get on their mailing list. Their announcements contain far greater detail than can be provided on Nu? What’s New? and they do not publish online news releases.

Sophie Caplan Honored by the Australian Jewish Historical Society
The Australian Jewish Historical Society has presented Sophie Caplan OAM (on the left in accompanying picture) a Certificate for Life Membership, bestowed on her “in appreciation of the service and commitment to the Society over many years.” Caplan is also founding president of the Australian Jewish Genealogical Society and creator of their newsletter Kosher Koala. In 2000, the Australian government awarded her the Medal of the Order of Australia for her contribution to Australian history and genealogy. She also has been AVOTAYNU's Contributing Editor for Australia almost since the inception of the journal.

A child Holocaust survivor, her parents fled with her from Germany to France just before the outbreak of World War II after failing to receive their Australian landing permit. Sophie migrated with her family to Sydney after the war. She married the late Leslie Caplan, who served as a key leader of Sydney and Australian Jewry.

In December 2004, she was elected as the Historical Society’s president. She served in that position for seven years, and after that continued as a committee member until the end of last year.

Additional information can be found at

FindMyPast Adds 3.9 Million Articles to Newspaper Collection
More than 3.9 million additional articles have recently been added to the British Newspaper Collection on Findmypast. The latest updates include nine brand new titles as well as more articles for an additional 38 existing newspapers. The new titles to join the collection consist of local and regional newspapers from around Britain including publications from Devon, Oxfordshire and Lancashire. They cover years from 1846–1955.

As well as our new arrivals, there have been a number of new articles added to newspapers from some of the UK's biggest cities including Birmingham Daily GazetteSheffield Independent and Newcastle Evening Chronicle.

Access is by subscription. Additional information is at

Next Canadian Census Can Be Completed Online
Statistics Canada conducts a census every five years. The next Census of Population will take place in May 2016. It will be possible to complete the census questionnaire online. Statistics Canada notes that census information is important for each community and is used in planning services such as schools, public transportation, senior housing and police and fire services. Population estimates obtained from the census are used to allocate transfer payments from the federal government to the provinces and territories and from the provinces to municipalities.

According to Jan Meisels Allen, the very last question on the short form is the “opt-in” question, which must be answered affirmatively for the census information to be made available to the public in 92 years from the census date—2108. On the long form it is the last question—Section G. A non-response is considered a “no”.

Additional information is at

New England Historic Genealogical Society Extends Free Access to April 20
The New England Historic Genealogical Society has extended its free access to all of its online records on through April 20. More than one billion records cover 18 countries. Access 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 
 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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