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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 17, Number 26 | July 4, 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.

MyHeritage Adds New Feature: PedigreeMap™
MyHeritage has added another feature to their system of storing and evaluating family trees at their site. Called PedigreeMap™, it displays on an interactive map all events in a user’s family tree, such as births, marriages and deaths, as well as digital photos and scanned historical photos. This allows users to trace the locations of their ancestors and gain new insights into their lives. All data is grouped by country and location, and users can filter their view of the map by person, family group, event type, and time period.

PedigreeMap comes with additional features such as place name standardization to improve data quality, and Heatmaps that showcase which geographic areas have a high concentration of activity in the user’s family history. The function is free for all users. To access it, log into your account on MyHeritage or create a new account for free, then select PedigreeMap™ in the “Apps” menu.
Additional information is at

Geni Announces Integration of DNA into Its World Family Tree
Geni and Family Tree DNA have announced that they have partnered to integrate Family Tree DNA test results into Geni’s World Family Tree. Geni’s parent company, MyHeritage, had previously announced that they would integrate DNA testing from AncestryDNA, 23andMe or Family Tree DNA Family Finder at their site.

The Geni integration involves direct paternal line (Y-DNA), direct maternal line (mtDNA) and relatives across all lines via autosomal DNA. Additional information about the feature is at adds-dna-to-the- world-family-tree-394127.html.

Ancestry Adds Many U.S. Naturalization Records
Ancestry has added a large number of U.S. naturalization records to its system. Some states include records as early as 1790 and extend to 1996. The following is a list of states added. Those with (U) appended are states where collections previously existed and are being updated. Arizona (U), California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine (U), Maryland, Massachusetts (U), Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York (U), Pennsylvania (U), Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Not all collections are complete. For example, Connecticut (1790–1996) appears to go through 1946 only. The balance will appear in a future update.

FindMyPast Offering Free Access Through July 6
In honor of U.S. Independence Day, FindMyPast is offering free access to their UK, U.S. and Irish records through July 6, some 1.1 billion records. New collections include more than 7 million U.S. naturalization records and more than 1.7 million U.S. passport applications (1795–1925). Go to

Record sets include
   • 106,000 US passenger list records
   • 116,000,000 U.S. marriage records
   • 690,000,000 U.S. & Canada census records
   • 265,000,000 UK & Irish census records
   • 10 million new and existing naturalization records
   • 1.7 million brand new US passport applications
   • Passenger lists leaving UK 1890–1960
   • 827,000 convict transportation records

Conference Will Again Offer Top Presentations Through Live Streaming
The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies will once again offer the LIVE! real-time video streaming service at its upcoming 36th International Conference on Jewish Genealogy. The conference will take place at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Seattle August 7–12. Through LIVE!, 60 of the best presentations will be available for on-demand viewing not only during the conference but for 90 days after the conference ends.

Some conference presenters who are making their talks and slides available through LIVE! include: Peter Lande of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Jeffrey Malka of Sephardic Gen, former conference chair Hal Bookbinder, Chicago area genealogist Mike Karsen, legal genealogist Judy Russell, German-Jewish genealogical expert Roger Lustig, Miami-based genealogist Genie Milgrom, Nancy Adelson of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Washington State, W. Todd Knowles of FamilySearch and Nolan Altman, JewishGen’s Vice President for Data Acquisition.

The conference website,, has complete details on how to register for all levels of the conference, including LIVE! If you are a member of a Jewish Genealogical Society, there is a 10% discount from the $179 free for receiving LIVE! Contact your society’s president for further information.

Day Trips. Several day trips are available for conference goers, their families and friends. Subject to minimum sign-ups, a trip is planned every day from Monday, August 8, through Friday, August 12. Seats must be booked and paid for by July 24. Events include:
   • A sunset kayaking excursion on Lake Union, with drinks and appetizers.
   • An evening at one of the best casinos in the region, with luxury round trip transport and dinner.
   • A day trip to the Future of Flight Museum and the Boeing Factory, with round-trip luxury transport and a cocktail reception.
   • Mount Rainier day trip, including luxury transport, a short hike, lunch, and wine tasting.
   • A tour of three wineries in nearby Woodinville with round-trip transport and lunch.

For complete information, and to book a tour, go to

Ancestry Academy Has Course “Introduction to the 1940 Census”
Ancestry Academy (AA), the education arm of, has a brief (2½ minutes) course titled “Introduction to the 1940 Census” that describes the basics of the census. It is located at This is one of many courses AA offers, some at no charge, that can provide valuable insight into various aspects of family history research. A complete list is at

Belgian Court Rules In Favor of Facebook in Right to Privacy Case
Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee, reports that the Belgium Court of Appeals said the Belgian courts do not have jurisdiction over Facebook’s collection and processing of data from users in Belgium, as Facebook is an American company that bases its European operations in Ireland. This overturns a lower court decision which favored right to privacy.

The Belgian Commission for the Protection of Privacy (CPP) said vacating the lower court’s decision means Belgians are unable to protect their private lives. The CPP also said it was examining an appeal to the Court of Cassation, the highest court in Belgium. The Court of Cassation can throw out previous judgements, but not deliver new ones.

The matter involved Facebook having tracking cookies when people visit the site, even those who are not subscribers.

Lithuania Lifts Major Obstruction to Citizenship Applications by Jews
The Jewish Telegraph Agency reports that Lithuania’s parliament passed legislation that is expected to simplify the naturalization of Litvak Jews abroad and their descendants. Under amendments passed Thursday by the Seimas (Parliament) in Vilnius, Lithuanians who left before 1990 and their direct descendants may be naturalized without renouncing their other nationalities. The complete story 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 
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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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