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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 18, Number 22 | June 4, 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.

MyHeritage Adds DNA Ethnicity Analysis
MyHeritage has joined other DNA services in offering analysis to determine a person’s ethnicity. Persons who have already purchased their DNA kit through MyHeritage as well as those who upload their DNA data to MyHeritage will find they already have access to this analysis. Additional information can be found at

Ethnicity analysis is an imperfect science as demonstrated by the results I have received regarding my own ethnicity from three services.





Ashkenazic Jewish




Sephardic Jewish
















Great Britain




South America




Note that only Family Tree DNA indicates I have Sephardic roots. Ancestry’s actual term for my 92% Jewish heritage is “European Jewish.” A map provided by Ancestry shows that their definition of “European Jewish” excludes the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal). I do not know how Ancestry defines Sephardic ethnicity.

The results caused me to try to determine where in my ancestry do I have Sephardic roots using relatives whose DNA was also tested by Family Tree DNA. A second cousin on the Mokotoff side (father’s father) does not show Sephardic roots. A second cousin on my father’s mother’s side also does not show Sephardic roots. Finally, my uncle (mother’s brother) lacks Sephardic roots. My DNA consultant indicates that this occurs because of the random selection of the 50% autosomal DNA each parent gives to a child. If this is true, autosomal DNA cannot be used to find the source of your ethnicity.

I invite comments.

FindMyPast Offer: One Month for $9.95
There are so many fee-for-service genealogy companies on the Internet, that one could easily spend $1,000 per year to subscribe to all of them. Some of these companies offer record collections the majority of which are of no interest to you or are duplicated elsewhere. Yet there are those one or two record groups unique to the website that can help document your family’s history.

Solution. Some of these companies offer month to month subscriptions. FindMyPast currently is making such an offer through Family History Daily. For only $9.90, you can access their collection of 8 billion records for a month. First search their website for records of value to you. If they exist, take out a one-month subscription. The website notes that the subscription will be automatically renewed for another month unless you change your account settings.

The offer is at It ends June 6.

Clearance Sale! Every Family Has a Story For Only $19.99
Not every one of the 75 books Avotaynu has published to date is designed to further your family history research. One such book is Every Family Has a Story: Tales from the Pages of AVOTAYNU.”

The book consists of 72 articles that have appeared in our journal, AVOTAYNU, each story focusing on the human side of genealogy—how genealogists have been personally affected by their research and how the research of genealogists has affected others. The lead stories in the book are good examples:
   • How a genealogist, adopted shortly after birth, located her birth family and discovered she has seven siblings. She was the only one adopted out of the family.
   • How a genealogist helped a child survivor of the Holocaust find family and return to Judaism.
   • When a Jewish mother with four children got off the boat at Ellis Island, the authorities were suspicious that two of them were not hers—they were black.
   • How a professional genealogist helped locate a woman who wrote a diary as a teenager during the Holocaust period. The story has a shocking ending.
   • The most unusual name-change story ever published in AVOTAYNU is described in “A Priest in the Family.”

The book regularly sells for $37.00 plus shipping. Until Monday, June 12, we are offering it for only $19.99 plus shipping. There are less than 100 copies in stock. When it is sold out, the book will go to “Out of Print” status, so order now! You must use a special web page to take advantage of the offer:

All 72 stories will make delightful reading. Order now!

New at
Ancestry has added the following record groups at their site. Note that 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.

New Collections:
Washington, Divorce Index, 1969–2014
U.S. Civil War Roll of Honor, 1861–1865
Washington, State Marriage Indexes, 1969–2014

Updated Collections:
Idaho, Divorce Index, 1947–1966
Idaho, Death Records, 1890–1966
Idaho, Birth Index, 1861–1916, Stillbirth Index, 1905–1966
Web: El Paso County, Texas, Death Index, 1956–2010

The Auschwitz Album
The most complete photographic evidence of the Auschwitz “experience” was published many years ago by Yad Vashem in a book titled The Auschwitz Album. Yad Vashem has now placed these photographs online at album_Auschwitz/index.asp. The photographs are organized by topic. I could find no one webpage that provides links to all the pages, so they are provided here. The book can be purchased from Yad Vashem at



Last Moments Before Gas Chambers:

Selected for Slave Labor:

Assignment to Slave Labor:

“Kanada” (Sorting abandoned belongings of arrivals):

Video about Auschwitz-Birkenau:

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 
 Google Custom Search engine
 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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