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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 17, Number 17 | May 1, 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.

Avotaynu News
This was a very slow week for news, perhaps because of the Passover holiday. Adam Brown, managing editor of Avotaynu Online, is back from his two-month research trip to Antarctica, so anticipate new postings shortly. We are also n the process of assembling the Spring issue of AVOTAYNU.

New York City Department of Health Forces New York Public Library to
Remove Certain Indexes

Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee, reports that the New York City Department of Health has required the New York Public Library to remove the post-1909 New York City birth indexes and the post-1948 death indexes from the library. The indexes were on deposit from the Board of Health and have been removed from their collections and returned to the city in accordance with the City's Health Code. The Department of Health claims these indexes are exempt from the New York State Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) because they are protected under the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) statute. Read about this statue at

At present, Reclaim the Records is taking to court the New York City Clerk’s Office requesting a copy of the New York City marriage index (1938–2015) by virtue of the New York State Freedom of Information Law. It will be interesting to see if the Clerk’s Office uses HIPPA as a defense for not releasing this marriage index.

Make Our Own KehilaLinks Website
A great resource on JewishGen is the KehilaLinks websites located at This is a project of web pages commemorating the places where Jews have lived usually created by genealogists for their ancestral towns. These web pages may contain a wealth of information including pictures, databases, and links to other sources providing data about that place. Anyone with an interest in a town not already included at the KehilaLinks site can create web pages about that community.

JewishGen is presenting its annual class for people who want to create a town website. All that is required are some basic computer skills, a computer, and 4-5 hours a week for 6 weeks. By the end of the class you will have a complete site that you can upload to KehilaLinks and continue to update on your own.

The class is entirely online. Each week, the instructor posts one or two lessons for you to do on your own time. Students ask questions through an online discussion forum. In each lesson, you will refine your site, adding more and more features. The class uses a free, simple-to-use web page editor program that runs on both PCs (all recent versions of Windows) and Macs (OSX 10.2 or later).

Details about the requirements, the tuition, the instructor and how to
enroll are on

Bessarabia Revision Lists Now Has 108,924 Records
Yet another example of the power of JewishGen volunteers is that the Bessarabia Revision Lists database now has 108,924 records. Shortly they will add more than 8,000 records for the Kishinev revision lists of 1859. (Revision lists are a type of census.) The Bessarabia Revision Lists database can be searched at the JewishGen Romania Database at or the Ukraine database at

Attention Snowbirds Who Are AVOTAYNU Subscribers
If you are an AVOTAYNU subscriber who spends the winter in warmer climates and are planning to return to your northern address, contact us one month ahead to give us the new mailing address by calling 1-800-AVOTAYNU or e-mail us at

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. 

Nu? What's New? is published weekly by Avotaynu, Inc.
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