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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 18, Number 21 | May 28, 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.

Library of Congress Places Town Maps Online
The U.S. Library of Congress has placed online nearly 25,000 Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps. These maps depict structure and use of buildings in U.S. cities and towns. Also included are the names and width of streets, and shown are property boundaries and how individual buildings were used. The maps cover towns with more than 12,000 people. Maps will be added monthly until 2020 when approximately 500,000 maps will be online. The maps were published prior to 1900 and include the following states: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Alaska is also online through the early 1960s. All states will be online by 2020.

The site is located at with a detailed description at

I had difficulty finding the link to searching for maps, so I used Google to search for “Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps ” and discovered there are maps of towns other than the Library of Congress collection. The New York Public Library has extensive property maps for New York City at One is as early as 1815.

Index to Boston HIAS Case Files Online
A posting to JewishGen notes that the American Jewish Historical Society, New England Branch, in Boston has placed on line a “Guide to the Boston Immigrant Aid Society Collection, 1886–1977.”

One part of the collection, “Series I, Individual Case Files, 1886–1997,” includes an alphabetical index of 14,000 folders. It is located at If an individual of interest is found, click on the icon to the right of the name to reach a page that describes how to request more information.

A general description of the total collection is at

Centimorgans Explained
Confused about all the technical jargon of DNA testing like centimorgans, DNA segments, autosomal, and genetic genealogy? There is an article on the web titled “Finally, a DNA Statistic I Almost Understand,” that explains the significance of the term “centimorgan.” It can be found at

TheGenealogist Adds UK Outbound Passenger Lists to Collection
Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter reports that TheGenealogist has just released 4.5M records of UK outbound passenger lists for the years 1920–1929. Based on searching for the surname Mokotow, these records do not exist on Ancestry or FamilySearch.

Additional information can be found at

FamilySearch Adds Nearly 2.3 Million Records This Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, more than 2.3M indexed records and images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Chile, Denmark, Germany, Peru, Spain, Switzerland and the U.S. states of New Hampshire and Utah.

Most notable for persons with Jewish family history are 1.1M additions to the New York Book Indexes to Passenger Lists, 1906–1942.

Rhode Island. It was not previously reported in Nu? What’s New? that FamilySearch has created a new record collection of 528,000 vital records from the state of Rhode Island. It consists of birth records (1846–1898 and 1901–1903), marriage records (1901–1903) and death records (1901–1953). The collection is located at

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.

FamilySearch Announces Webinars for June
FamilySearch has published its list of webinars planned for June. A sample of those to be presented include:
   • Using the FHL Catalog Effectively
   • Researching in German Archives
   • Using the FHL Catalog Effectively
   • Your British Questions Answered

The complete list can be found at If you are unable to attend a class in person or online, most sessions are recorded and can be viewed later online. To access these, go to the archive at

Ancestry/Fold3 Has Free Access to Military Records
Ancestry, through its Fold3 subsidiary, is offering free access through May 29 to their military records to commemorate Memorial Day. The collection can be found at

Correction on NYC Marriage Indexes
There are three New York City marriage indexes on the Internet. Ancestry and Reclaim the Records agree on dates, which appear to be the date the marriage license was issued. The index on ItalianGen appears to have the actual date of marriage.

Attend the 37th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy
23–28 July 2017  • Walt Disney World Swan Resort  • Orlando, Florida

   • More than 250 lectures and workshops
   • SIG meetings and luncheons
    Birds of a Feather meetings
   • Gala banquet
    Access to subscription-only online databases
   • Film Festival
    Network with other genealogists
   • Consult with the experts

Registration and additional information at

Nu? What's New? is published weekly by Avotaynu, Inc.
Copyright 2017, Avotaynu, Inc. All rights reserved

To change an e-mail address, send a request to

To subscribe to AVOTAYNU, The International Review of Jewish Genealogy, go to

To order books from our catalog, go to

To contact us by postal mail, write: Avotaynu, Inc.; 
794 Edgewood Ave.; New Haven, CT 06515

Telephone  (U.S.) : 475-202-6575