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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 17, Number 24 | July 24, 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.

Not Attending Conference?
Two Choices to Benefit from Lectures
If you cannot attend the IAJGS 36th International Conference on Jewish Genealogy to be held in Seattle from August 7–12, there are two options that permit you to benefit from the more than 235 sessions.

LIVE! This provides live streaming of sessions by some of the more popular speakers—but not all. You can watch the sessions live on your own computer as they are being presented. If you subscribe to LIVE!, after the conference is over, you will have 90 days to access the session “on demand.”

Audio Recordings. Purchase the audio/slides recording of almost all the sessions. (Note: Some presenters do not have their slides being recorded, in which case, the recording of that session is only audio.) You will receive the whole package a few weeks after the conference is over and be able to listen to the presentations and view the slides at your leisure. Not all presenters on LIVE! are having audio recordings made.

Consider Audio Recordings Even If Attending. There are as many as seven concurrent sessions. If there are conflicts in attending two or more sessions, consider purchasing the audio recordings to benefit from all the lectures.

To purchase LIVE! and/or the audio and slides, you must navigate the conference website. Go to Then, under the Registration tab, select New Registration; Click “Go to Registration Form (for starting out)” near the bottom; Click the gray New Registration button; Enter your personal information and click Continue; Select 5. Full LIVE! only (not attending in Seattle) or 7. Full LIVE! & Full Audio/slides (not attending in Seattle) and continue to the end.

Joint Distribution Committee Names Index Continues to Grow
The Joint Distribution Committee Archives has announced that information regarding more than 3,000 Polish and Soviet Jewish families assisted by JDC in Vienna and Rome in the years 1969–1975 have been added to its Archives Names Index at archives-search. A cadre of four volunteers began indexing work in January 2010. Six years later, joined by other volunteers, the Names Index now includes more than 500,000 names and has opened a window into the past for many family researchers.

The Polish/Soviet announcement can be found at Reaches 1.5 Million Records has now surpassed 1.5 million records. The mission of this project is to capture digital images and the complete transcription of headstones in Canada. Searching at the site is by province. For example, Ontario includes records for people named “Cohen” in the following cemeteries: Capital Remembrance Garden Cemetery, Holy Blossom, Lambton Mills, Prospect Cemetery & Mausoleum, Roselawn Avenue, Streetsville Public and Temple Anshe Sholom Cemetery

The website is at

MyHeritage Adds SuperSearch Alerts Feature
MyHeritage continues to demonstrate that it is the most technically innovative of the large genealogy companies. Its latest feature is called SuperSearch Alerts. With this feature any previous search made by a MyHeritage user is repeated to seek new results that did not exist at the time of the original search. When new results for those previous searches are found, the user is sent an email with links to view the records. Additional information is at

Ancestry Earnings Demonstrate Popularity of Genealogy
Ancestry has announced that its revenue for the last four quarters has reached $750 million. Second quarter 2016 revenues were $211.4 million, up 25% from last year. During the second quarter, the AncestryDNA database surpassed 2 million samples, after reaching 1 million less than a year earlier. Subscribers of Ancestry websites totaled nearly 2.5 million as of June 30, 2016, up 9% compared to June 30, 2015.

The complete announcement can be found at

USCIS Webinar on Subject Index Planned
Marian Smith of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will again discuss her work to update the 1999 finding aid to the “Subject Index to Correspondence and Case Files of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1903/6 to 1957” (NARA microfilm publication T-458). The webinar in on Friday, July 29, at 1pm Eastern. In this webinar, Smith will present a new section of guidance explaining how the index references USCIS C-Files, and will identify the various C-Numbers used for naturalization, derivative citizenship and repatriation C-Files in USCIS custody.

To attend the session, go to and click “Your Questions” Webinar. Note at the site the other history and genealogy webinars planned for future dates.

Staten Island Newspapers Now Online
The New York Public Library has posted online four newspapers from Staten Island (the New York City borough of Richmond) at They have plans to add another 14 Staten Island newspapers to the collection. Currently included are:
   • Richmond County Advance 1886–1910
   • The Staten Island Leader 1866–1928 (80 issues, with large gaps).
   • The Staten Island Magazine 1888.
   • The Richmond County Mirror 1837–1839.

The announcement can be found at

Field Guide to Jewish Cemeteries (for Poles) Planned
Witold Wrzosinski, co-founder and co-director of the Foundation for Documentation of Jewish Cemeteries, is writing a Field Guide to Jewish Cemeteries, mainly aimed at local Poles. In an article at the Jewish Heritage Europe site, Wrzosinski explains, “In recent years, a huge increase of interest in the Jewish past has taken place in Poland and elsewhere in Eastern and Central Europe. It has taken many forms, ranging from thousands of private genealogy projects, to preservation and digitization efforts, to museums, TV shows and conferences, to a notable growth in heritage tourism.

One of the outcomes is that, after years of silence, local people are being put in touch with the memory of local Jewish history in their own towns, cities and villages — and they also witness researchers or descendants of prewar Jewish residents coming to these places to explore.”

Read the entire article 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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