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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 18, Number 10 | March 5, 2017
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.

“DNA Testing: Seven Guidelines for Adoptees”
MyHeritage has posted to its blog an article titled “DNA Testing: Seven Guidelines for Adoptees.” It is written by Richard Hill, author of Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA, an award-winning personal memoir that follows his decades-long search for his birth parents. Hill’s seven points are:
   • Get into as many Autosomal DNA databases as you can
   • Add Y-DNA testing if you are male
   • Skip mitochondrial DNA testing
   • Know that luck and geography can impact results
   • Educate yourself and get help online
   • Use selected third-party websites
   • Use the right tests to confirm relationships

A detailed description of each point can be found at dna-testing-seven-guidelines-for-adoptees/.

“Practicing Safe Computing"
Hal Bookbinder, former president of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS), and winner of its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010, has written a series of short articles on “Practicing Safe Computing” which appeared monthly in Venturing into Our Past, the newsletter of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Conejo Valley and Ventura County (JGSCV). The seventeen articles published to date have now been consolidated into a single PDF document with an internal index to quickly locate each article.

In this time of spam, hacking, identity theft and other distractions of the Internet Age, the articles provide a useful checklist of things to concern yourself with when using your computer. The articles are located at

JGS Long Island Now Has 27 Video Tutorials Online
The Jewish Genealogical Society of Long Island has placed its 27th genealogical research video online. It is titled 10 Pieces of Marriage Record Information That Can Further Your Family Research. It describes ten pieces of information that can be found on many marriage licenses and certificates and how you can use them to further your family research. In 2015, the society received the IAJGS 2015 Outstanding Publication Award for its You Tube Channel.

Access to all 27 videos is at

Relative Race Returns to Television March 5
Contestants racing up their family trees is the premise of BYUtv’s reality series, Relative Race, which premieres its second season Sunday, March 5, at 9 pm (ET). The show, which has been described as The Amazing Race meets genealogy, combines humor and drama in a couples’ competition as each couple sprints across the United States to find new relatives and pieces of their family history along the way. The program can be watched live at

Relative Race was recently declared the co-winner with the NBC Sports series Shotgun as top new reality series as judged by programming executives and media developers at the National Cynopsis Awards. Additional information can be found at byutvs-relative-race-returns-march-5/.

FamilySearch Adds Nearly 2 Million Records This Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, 2 million indexed records and images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Costa Rica, Czech Republic (church records), Denmark, Italy, The Netherlands, South Africa and the U.S. states of California and Michigan. Nearly three-quarters of the new items are additions to the “Netherlands, Archival Indexes, Miscellaneous Records” collection.

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.

New at
Ancestry has added the following record groups at their site. They do not indicate how many entries have been added. Announced collections may not be complete for the dates specified and will be added at some later date.
   • Connecticut, Marriage Index, 1959–2012
   • Kentucky, Death Records, 1852–1964
   • Tennessee, State Marriages, 1780–2002
   • U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942

Belgium Archives Publishes Book on Sources for Belgian Jewry
Daniel Dratwa, President of JGS of Belgium, notes that a book exists titled A Guide to Sources about Judaism and Jewish Populations in Belgium 19th
20th Centuries” published by the Belgium State Archives. It can be purchased from the Archives. It is in French.

Additional information is at

Further Comment on My Jewish Blue Eyes
In the last issue of Nu? What’s Nu?, I bemoaned the fact that autosomal DNA testing did not identify the origins of my blue eyes. My comment was, “Jews are Semites who have brown eyes.”

Michael Waas, a historical anthropologist, disagrees. He states, “Ethnicity has no determining factor over what color your eyes are. It is a complex formation process which isn't fully understood. Furthermore, again, this is missing the point of the old myth about Semitic peoples having only dark skin/dark eyes. Ethnicity is not unchanging and everlasting, peoples join groups all the time and leave groups all the time. If ethnicity were unchanging, we'd have very different subspecies of hominins roaming the world today. Plenty of Jews and Arabs are fair-skinned, fair-haired, and have fair-colored eyes. Just like plenty are on the other end of the spectrum.”

Waas’ biography can be found at

Your Genealogy Is Done!!!...If You Are Icelandic
Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter notes that the family history of every citizen of Iceland has been completed—with source citations—and is online. There is even an Android app available to show each Icelandic citizen his or her genealogy, in most cases back to 874 CE. Eastman notes that everyone in Iceland is related. Every member of the 300,000 population derives from the same family tree, according to genealogy website

You can read his column at

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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