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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 17, Number 48 | December 4, 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.

Reclaim the Records Wants Copy of Missouri Birth and Death Indexes
Another state is about to feel the wrath of Reclaim the Records (RTR). The organization has formally requested copies of the Missouri birth index 1910–2015 and death index 1965–2015 from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. The request made by RTR last February was initially ignored, but finally the Department conceded that RTR had the legal right to the indices, but it would cost $1.5 million dollars and would take 20 years, 6 months and 4 days to give RTR the data. Correspondence went back and forth on the subject until finally the Missouri Department now states they have the right to withhold the databases entirely and to be exempt from the Missouri Sunshine Law. RTR has entered a law suit in the Circuit Court of Cole County, Missouri, to reclaim the records.

RTR’s claim is based on the Missouri statute concerning vital statistics which states, in part, that “a listing of persons who are born or who die on a particular date may be disclosed upon request, but no information from the record other than the name and the date of such birth or death shall be disclosed.”

Additional information can be found at It is worth reading because it shows the tenaciousness of Reclaim the Records and the obstinacy of the government agency. I will predict that tenacity will win over obstinacy.

Fold3 Offering Free Access to World War II Collection is offering free access to their World War II collection of records and photographs during all of December to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. Fold3 considers Holocaust-related records, which are always available at no charge, to be part of their WWII collection. To search the collection, go to Registration is required.

ID Cards of Thousands of Jews Discovered in Lithuania
Yad Vashem archivists have found some 26,000 previously unknown identification cards belonging to Jewish citizens in the national archives in Kaunas (Kovno), Lithuania. The cards represent about two-thirds of the Jewish population in the city before WWII. Yad Vashem plans to scan the cards and make them available on the Internet.

According to a report at the Israel Hayom website, the cards were kept with a collection of all ID cards issued by the Kaunas population authority, to Jews and non-Jews, from 1920 to 1940. Each resident received a copy of their card, while the original was kept
by the local authorities for internal use.

Additional information is at

New Collections at MyHeritage
MyHeritage has announced that they have added U.S. World War I Draft Registrations, 1917–1918—more than 24 million records—to their collection. Subscribers can search the collection at

Previously unmentioned in Nu? What’s New? is their "Compilation of Published Sources" collection, with images of more than 447,000 books and manuscripts; some 84 million pages. A subscription to MyHeritage is not required to access this collection at

IGRA Adds More Than 15,000 Records to Its Collection
The Israel Genealogy Research Association (IGRA) has just added more than 15,000 additional records to its collection. They include:
   • Medical Practitioners. A new database of more than 4,500 medical practitioners—doctors, pharmacists, dentists and midwives—from 1946 who were licensed during the British Mandate in Palestine.
   • Ra'anana School Lists. A new database of more than 3,800 students who attended school in the city of Ra'anana from 1938–1947.
   • Marriages Certificates 1927–1948. More than 4,600 certificates have been added to this database. These certificates were issued during the British Mandate to those requesting copies of their certificates.
   • ATS Volunteers World War II. More than 2,000 additional 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.

The IGRA website is at

Seesaw Battle of “Right to Be Forgotten” vs. “Right to Know”:
Brazil Court Rules Unanimously for “Right to Know”
Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee, reports that Brazil's Superior Court of Justice ruled unanimously that the “right to be forgotten” cannot be imposed on Google and other search engines. The Court is the highest appellate court in Brazil for non-constitutional questions of federal law. This goes contrary to the European Union’s conclusion.

According to the judiciary rapporteur (a rapporteur is a person who is appointed by an organization to report on the proceedings of its meetings) “the ruling stated that forcing search engines to adjudicate removal requests and remove certain links from search engines would give too much responsibility to search engines,” making the search engines digital censors.

In 2015 the Brazilian Supreme Court also ruled in Google's favor when a television presenter wanted the search engine to hide results of a film she made in the 1980s about a sexual relationship with a young boy.

A Gift for the Family Who Has Everything
Struggling with what to give friends and family for Chanukah/Christmas? has the answer with what they call “the ultimate gift this Christmas”—a subscription to BillionGraves Plus. The company states, “Buy BillionGraves Plus for your loved ones and give the gift of Family. Instead of video games or other meaningless gifts, give something that will keep them engaged for hours and will draw your family closer together this holiday season.” The kit includes four family finding tools:
   • Family Plots™
   • Nearby Graves™
   • Global Family™
   • Family Notify™

To sweeten the deal, BillionGraves is offering 75% off the regular price. The offer can be found at Give the gift that will be the talk of your family for years to come.

Contribute to the Success of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy
Help support a dynamic institution that in its brief existence already has been the catalyst for such benefits to Jewish genealogy as the Beider-Morse Phonetic Matching System,  Sephardic DNA and Migration project, inventorying the Paul Jacobi Collection of 400 prominent Ashkenazic lineages, the Proposed Standard for Names, Dates and Places in a Genealogical Database, and a system for Integrating Genealogical Datasets.

Visit the IIJG website at and read about these developments, as well as  ongoing and proposed projects.

Make your tax-deductible contribution by credit card or PayPal at Click the Donate link. If you prefer, mail a check to Avotaynu Foundation,  794 Edgewood Ave., New Haven, CT 06515, USA. Make the check payable to “Friends of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy.” Donations are tax deductible for U.S. taxpayers.
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