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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 17, Number 40 | October 9, 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.

Now Available: Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy: 2016–2017 Edition
The 2016–2017 version of Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy is now in print. The book is normally updated annually since 2010 because of the dynamic growth of Jewish genealogy research. But, as the author, I concluded that prior to now, there wasn’t sufficient new material to create an updated edition.

All sections have been reevaluated to confirm they are current. Significant additions include Avotaynu Online, Jewish Genealogy Portal on Facebook and the Encyclopedia of Jewish Genealogy website. The My Heritage description has been updated to reflect the additional functionality of the site.

Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy is the most popular of the more than 70 books Avotaynu has published since 1991. More than 3,000 copies have been sold. It is not a beginner’s guide, but a primer to demonstrate that there is a world of records and resources to trace your Jewish family history. The book is only 104 pages, making it quick reading, yet it holds is a wealth of information.

Additional information, including the Table of Contents, is available at The price is $16.50 plus shipping. Avotaynu offers the book to Jewish genealogical societies at half price when at least 20 copies are ordered. Some societies distribute the book at no charge to new members who are starting to research their Jewish roots. Others use it as part of beginners’ workshops.

FamilySearch Adds Nearly 5 Million Records This Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, nearly 5 million indexed records and images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Australia, Denmark, Great Britain, Ghana, Nicaragua, Poland (church records), Spain, Sweden and the U.S. states of Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Oklahoma, California, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, Utah and Washington,

The list is quite extensive and worth browsing. It includes additions to the BillionGraves collection, 1.4M records added to the index of the New York City Police Census of 1890 and additional indexes and images of Illinois Cook County (Chicago) obituaries ca. 1970–1990

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.

JDC Archives Adds 4,289 Names from Postwar Warsaw Office Records
The American Joint Distribution Committee Archives Names Indexing Project has made available new lists of people assisted by JDC. These derive from the records of JDC’s Warsaw office, 1945–1949:
   • Jewish Refugees Finding Safe Haven in Sweden, 1946–1947: Genealogical information such as nationality, birth date and birth year is included.
   • List of Jews in Poland who received parcels as per orders via JDC’s Jerusalem office, 1946–1947: Contains names and addresses of recipients in Poland and donors in Mandatory Palestine, Iran and India.
   • Jewish Orphans Who Immigrated from Warsaw to France with JDC’s Help, 1947–1948: Information includes names, birthplace and birth date.
   • Jewish Students in Poland Receiving Scholarship Assistance, 1948: List includes names of students, and places and programs of study.

The JDC Archives will add more lists from this collection to the Names Index in the coming months, including JDC Emigration Service index cards. This project received support from the Jewish Genealogical Society of New York.

The Names Index has grown to more than 500,000 entries. It can be searched at A description of all the collections in the Names Index can be found at Some collections can be downloaded as PDF files.

Israel Genealogy Research Association (IGRA) Lists New Additions to Collection
New databases added to the Israel Genealogy Research Association (IGRA) online collection include:
   • Medical practitioners from 1936 who were licensed during the British Mandate in Palestine.
   • More than 2,000 immigrants to Palestine from 1942–1943
   • Graduates from the Kadoorie Agricultural School located in the Galilee.
   • Candidates for the 19th Committee of Histadrut Teachers' election (Organization of Trade Unions).
   • Educators in Tiberias from 1969 to 1996 (not inclusive).
   • Newly appointed rabbis in the settlements in 2014.

Updated databases include:
   • Voters’ list for the Knesset 1937
   • Histadrut members in WWII British Forces. This updated database now includes more than 15,000 members of the Histadrut (Organization of Trade Unions) who served in the British forces in WWII.
   • Almost 385 names have been added to this database of volunteers in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), the women's branch of the British Army during World War II.

To search the databases, go to Registration is first required at

Site for Jewish Genealogy in The Netherlands
A posting to JewishGen notes that there is a website that has much information about Dutch Jewry of interest to genealogists. Included are many family trees, a list of Dutch Holocaust victims, Amsterdam synagogue marital acts and much more. Readers who have interest in Dutch Jewish family history would find it worthwhile to browse the site which is located at Offers Access to Quebec Collection until October 10
In celebration of Canadian Thanksgiving Day, which occurs on October 10, the Canadian arm of Ancestry,, is making available their entire Quebec collection at no charge through October 10. The link is at Unfortunately, the site does not allow surname-only searches. The complete name must be provided.

 Who Do You Think You Are? (UK) Announces 13th Season
The 13th season of the British version of Who Do You Think You Are? will premiere “around Christmas.” Guests will include Liz Bonnin, Cheryl, Greg Davies, Warwick Davis, Danny Dyer, Amanda Holden, Sir Ian McKellen, Sophie Raworth, Sunetra Sarker and Ricky Tomlinson. Additional information is at

New York Public Library to Digitize New York City Directories 1786–1923
The New York Public Library has plans to digitize its collection of New York City Directories 1786–1922/3. Currently only the years 1849–1855 are online. The years 1849/50–1923 have already been scanned and the 1786–1848/9 directories are now being scanned. The whole collection will go online in the coming months. The collection is located at tab=about. Additional information can be found at 2016/09/21/ new-york-city-directories-free-online.

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
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