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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 17, Number 37 | September 18, 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
Not very much news to report this week.

Underlined words are links to sites with additional information.

News About Records Access (Ohio and Israel)
Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee, reports two positive trends toward greater public access to records.

Ohio now has a public records mediation law which adds mediation to the process speeding up and reducing costs of public records disputes. A citizen denied public records by a government entity may, instead of pursuing litigation, opt for a $25 mediation process. If mediation fails, a Special Master at the Court of Claims will make an expedited recommendation for the Court to consider before issuing a binding decision. Meisels Allen notes that Ohio has an open records law which includes vital records—except adoption records. Open records law means there is no embargo period nor restrictions as to whom may obtain copies of public laws. Additional information can be found at

Israel. The Israeli government has announced plans to open government records to the public. The policy appears in the publication The Open Government Partnership: Second Open Government National Action Plan Israel 2015-2017. To read an English-language version of the policy, go to where there is a link to the Word document. It is reported that accessibility will begin in 2021, but there is not yet a description of which government records will be included.

FamilySearch Adds 6.5 Million Records This Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, nearly 7 million indexed records and images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Australia (Tasmania), Denmark, Czech Republic (Church books), Germany, Korea, Hungary, Sweden and the U.S. states of Arkansas, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Ohio, Texas North Carolina, West Virginia, Wyoming and the Virgin Islands.

Most notable for persons with Jewish family history are Germany Schleswig-Holstein Kreis Civil Registration (1874–1983) and 430,000 additions to the Billion Graves index. If your ancestors came to the U.S. from Mexico through Laredo, Texas, there is a new set of records: Index of Arrivals 1903–1929.

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.

Reclaim the Records Receives NYC Marriage Index
The organization Reclaim the Records has just received 110 microfilms representing the New York City marriage index for the years 1930–1972. A request was made under the New York State Freedom of Information law. The request was initially ignored by the holder of the films,
the City Clerk’s Office, but under threat of a law suit,  they agreed to provide copies. They also agreed to pay the attorney fees. The images on the films will now be digitized and placed on the Internet.

Registration for RootsTech 2017 Is Now Open
Registration to RootsTech 2017 is now open. It will be held February 8–11 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 2016 this popular event attracted more than 28,000 attendees in-person from all 50 US states and 30+ countries.

The four-day conference is similar in structure to the annual IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, offering attendees keynote speakers, more than 200 sessions, hands-on computer labs, interactive activities and helpful exhibitors in the expo hall, and entertaining evening events, all designed to inspire and empower personal family discoveries. Early bird registration discount pricing is available.

Starting off the 4-day conference is the Innovator Summit, a unique one-day conference designed for serious entrepreneurs, developers, and innovators interested in giving their creative ideas traction in a growing multi-billion-dollar industry. The event also offers attendees the opportunity to interact and connect with industry influencers, executives, and investors.

Additional information is at their website,

FindMyPast Adds More Than 3 Million Historic Irish Records

FindMyPast has added to its collection more than 3 million historic Irish records released in association with the National Archives of Ireland and FamilySearch. Among the group are: • Original Will Registers 1858–1920
    • Valuation Office books 1824–1856
    • Merchant Navy Crew lists 1857–1922
    • Qualification and Convert Rolls 1701–1845

The records are available at no charge. A more detailed description 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
Nu? What's New? is published weekly by Avotaynu, Inc.
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