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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 17, Number 32 | August 14, 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.

2016 IAJGS Conference Is History
The 36th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy is history. Congratulations go to conference co-chairs Janette Silverman, Chuck Weinstein, Phyllis Grossman and their many volunteers for making it a great success. There were more than 300 sessions at the conference, some of them streamed LIVE!! to those who stayed home and wanted to participate in the event.

You can buy copies of the lectures—both audio and slides—from Fleetwood Recordings at Cost is $265. It is also possible to order specific lectures at $9.00 each. The lectures are still listed on the conference website,, under Program > Conference Schedule.

Future Conferences. Next year, the conference will be held from July 23–28, 2017, in Orlando, Florida, at the Walt Disney World Swan Resort. Bring your children! Bring your grandchildren!! Adam Brown and Diana van den Boogaard are the conference co-chairs. The website will be The 2018 conference will be held in Warsaw, Poland—the first time in Eastern Europe. The exact dates have not been determined, but it will most likely be in early August.

The Exhibit Hall was dominated by the large vendors—FamilySearch, Ancestry, MyHeritage, Family Tree DNA, Geni, and JewishGen. One unusual vendor was Photos Movies and More. They will digitize your slides, negatives, photographs, video tapes, 8 and 16mm films. Additional information about the company is at

Awards. There were numerous awards given by IAJGS at the banquet. The major ones included:
Lifetime Achievement Award – Ron Doctor
Outstanding Project – Lance Ackerfeld for the JewishGen Yizkor Book Project
Outstanding Publication – Jewish Genealogical Society of Long Island for Photographic History of Long Island
Volunteer of the Year Award – Marelynn Zipser of the Hungarian Special Interest Group
JewishGen has its own Volunteer of the Year award which was given to Susana Leistner Bloch, their vice-president of KehilaLinks.

Random Gleanings. JewishGen added 2.5 million records this year and is now partnering with Gesher Galicia. This means you can search the All-Galicia database of Gesher Galicia from JewishGen and the results will take you to the Gesher Galicia site. Such partnering has existed for some time with JRI-Poland. JewishGen is undertaking a program to link the actual records on FamilySearch which were previously only an index on JewishGen.

IAJGS now has 73 societies for a total of 8,000 members. Yad Vashem reported there are now 2.7 million Pages of Testimony at their site.

One of the matters that has disturbed me over the years is the claim that dead people have no rights to privacy. This may be true, but disclosing a recently deceased person’s nefarious past may have an impact on living descendants. I have often described this to my associates as no one wants their deceased father to be a horse thief but everyone wants their great-great-grandfather to be a horse thief. Judy G. Russell, who calls herself the Legal Genealogist, in her lecture on the ethics of genealogy, confirmed my thoughts by stating that it would be unethical to disclose something about a deceased person that would hurt the living.

MyHeritage Offers New Subscribers Half-Price Offer Through August 16
Through Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter, MyHeritage is offering full access to one year of its service for half price—just $125.00. The offer expires Tuesday, August 16. Additional information is available at

New Collections at FamilySearch
FamilySearch has yet to resume formal announcements of new collections, but the latest can be seen at Click the words “Last Updated” to provide the list in chronological order, most recent first.

Some additions in the past week include (record count in parentheses):
   • GenealogyBank Obituaries, 1980–2014 (117,412,980)
   • Arizona, County Marriages, 1871–1964 (72,804)
   • Arizona Marriages, 1865–1949 (8,810)
   • Michigan Obituaries, 1820–2006 (533,517)
   • United States Muster Rolls of the Marine Corps, 1798–1937 (5,794,949)

Geni Adds DNA Test Results to Its Environment
Geni and Family Tree DNA have partnered to integrate DNA test results into Geni's World Family Tree. Geni is owned by MyHeritage who previously announced a partnership with Family Tree DNA for its users.

This new feature enables users to link their Family Tree DNA accounts to Geni and have their DNA test results automatically transferred to their Geni profile with a single click. Enhancing your family tree with DNA results allows discovery of new relatives through the DNA matches that Geni will now provide. It also helps confirm relationships in your direct paternal line (Y-DNA), direct maternal line (mitochondrial DNA) and close relatives across all lines via autosomal DNA.

Additional information is at

A Guide to Jewish Genealogy in Latvia and Estonia Updated
Arlene Beare has updated her book, A Guide to Jewish Genealogy in Latvia and Estonia, and it is now in eBook format. This is the first eBook published by the Jewish Genealogical Society Great Britain who will benefit from the sales. As an eBook, there are direct links to a number of Internet sites. For example, there is a brief “Introduction to Genetic Genealogy” and another on “Social Media” with links to sites with a more detailed explanation. Cost is £5. Ordering information is at

U.S. National Archives Wants Outsiders to Help Tag Their Collection
What researcher has not had difficulty finding a book or other item in a library’s collection because the description of the item does not match what you are searching for? The U.S. National Archives has now created a “citizen archivist” and is asking the public to help by applying meaningful keywords or labels to records to make content more discoverable online. Tagging is designed to be open to all users; as tags are added to items and descriptions in the catalog, users can more quickly and easily find the information they seek.

One example the Archives gives is a photograph of a woman making military police armbands during WWII with the caption, “Insignia for military police are being turned out in an eastern quartermaster depot where this young worker has obtained war production employment.” The National Archives suggests adding the tag “Singer Sewing Machine” since these keywords are not found anywhere in the description, but now they will appear when searched for.

If you want to participate in the program, getting started information is available at If you think you are ready to assist in the tagging project go directly to

To submit a Page of Testimony, go to Click the words “Download Pages of Testimony Forms.”

Join the ranks of Yad Vashem’s worldwide network of volunteers working in one-on-one outreach efforts with Holocaust survivors and members of their generation to recover the names of Shoah victims before they are lost forever. For ideas and resources on how to launch a names recovery campaign in your area, visit Yad Vashem’s Community Outreach Guide for updated program information on the project in Israel and in Russian speaking Jewish communities around the world.

Yad Vashem has provided a 10-minute Pages of Testimony tutorial video at the site to learn how to help survivors and others from their generation to fill out Pages of Testimony. To volunteer for the project or for more information contact
Nu? What's New? is published weekly by Avotaynu, Inc.
Copyright 2016, Avotaynu, Inc. All rights reserved

To change an e-mail address, send a request to

To subscribe to AVOTAYNU, The International Review of Jewish Genealogy, go to

To order books from our catalog, go to

To contact us by postal mail, write: Avotaynu, Inc.; 
794 Edgewood Ave.; New Haven, CT 06515

Telephone  (U.S.) : 475-202-6575