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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 17, Number 44 | November 6, 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.

FamilySearch Adds Nearly 16 Million Records This Week:
Most from GenealogyBank Obituaries 1980–2014
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, nearly 16 million indexed records and images, can be found at The most significant addition is 14M extractions of U.S. obituaries from GenealogyBank bringing the total at the FamilySearch site to 34M. (GenealogyBank claims to have 248M obituaries at their site.)

The actual image of the obituary is available only by paid subscription to GenealogyBank, but the FamilySearch extraction is quite comprehensive. In numerous cases of Mokotoff obituaries, the FamilySearch result included date of death and names/relationships of persons named in the obituary. In one case place of residence was included, and in two cases year of birth (possibly estimated from the age given in the obituary).

This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Germany and the U.S. states of Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon, and Tennessee.

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.

Fold3 Allowing Access to WWII Records in Honor of Veterans Day
In honor of Veterans Day, Fold3 is offering free access to their World War II records through November 8. One collection included is the “Old Man’s Draft Registration.” On April 27, 1942, the Selective Service conducted a draft registration, referred to as the “Old Man’s Draft Registration”. Its purpose was to gather information regarding manpower resources in the United States. The registration included men born between April 27, 1877, and February 16, 1890; it, therefore, included many Jewish immigrants. Information on the registration card includes age and place of birth. The collection is at Registration is required.

British GRO Provides New Search Engine for Births/Deaths
Mark Nichols of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain notes that the UK General Register Office (GRO) has a new way of searching birth (at least 100 years old) and death records (up to 1957) in England and Wales at no charge. One of the required fields is year of birth/death within two years, not necessarily known by the searcher. This can be overcome by searching in groups of five-year intervals. The one Mokotow that should have been in the death register was killed in a London bombing raid in 1940. He was not found by the search engine.

To search the indexes, it is necessary to register at Once registered, the search site is at

Japan and Indonesia Join the Fray About “Right to be Forgotten”
Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee, notes there have been two new court decisions—one in Japan, the other in Indonesia—regarding right to privacy vs. right to know.

In Japan, the Tokyo District Court dismissed a man’s case demanding that Google remove a record of his arrest on fraud from more than 10 years ago. According to the judge who dismissed the case, it was a high profile case and leaving the fact serves the public interest

In Indonesia, a new rule would purge online content as well as search engine results even from foreign sites—extraterritoriality. Allen states that these new rules exceed those currently in the European Union as they require removal of online content—raising the question of freedom of the press. In the European Union, the Right to be Forgotten rule requires the link in a search engine to be removed—not purge the original source, with one exception. Belgium—whose high court has determined Right to be Forgotten extends to newspaper archives as well as search engines.

Reminder: AVOTAYNU Wants Human Interest Stories
December 1 is the deadline to submit human interest stories to our editor, Sallyann Amdur Sack-Pikus, for publishing in the Winter issue. For the past 30 years, AVOTAYNU has devoted a portion of each Winter issue to genealogy human interest articles. Stories are typically about how genealogy affected people’s lives, whether it be the researcher or the people they are researching. Submit the article to In 2008, Avotaynu published 72 of these stories in a book, Every Family Has a Story. A sample story in the book that originally appeared in the Winter 1998 issue of AVOTAYNU can be read at

November is Jewish Genealogy Month
November is Jewish Genealogy Month. The purpose is for IAJGS member societies all over the world to promote Jewish genealogy and publicize their organization and its activities. For example, the Israel Genealogical Research Association will celebrate the event on November 27 with their annual Heshvan Event. The program includes an introduction to Beit Wolyn by its librarian, Chani Gat. This will be followed by two lectures:
   • Completing the Missing Chapter in the History of Our People: Ethiopian Jewry
   • Reuniting Families
Information about the program can be found at annual-cheshvan-event.

In 1999, Avotaynu introduced International Jewish Genealogy Month, then celebrated during the Jewish month of Nisan which occurs in early Spring. The International Association of Jewish Genealogy Societies (IAJGS) took over the responsibility in 2007 and moved the date to the Hebrew month of Cheshvan which this year corresponds to the civil dates November 1–30. A poster has been created every year since 1999. This year’s poster, shown to the right, can be found at Previous year’s posters are 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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