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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 18, Number 25 | June 25, 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.

FamilySearch to Suspend Microfilm Distribution Services
Never underestimate the seeking eyes of a professional genealogist. My good friend, Nikki Russler, informed me about 10 minutes before this edition of Nu? What’s New? was to be distributed that the LDS Church has announced to its membership—but not yet on FamilySearch—that their microfilm distribution services will be discontinued September 1.

They state, “The change is the result of significant progress made in FamilySearch’s microfilm digitization efforts and the obsolescence of microfilm technology.” According to the announcement, more than 1.5 million microfilms have been digitized by FamilySearch, but the remaining microfilms will not be digitized until the end of 2020.

When approved by priesthood leaders, Family History Centers may continue to maintain microfilm collections already on loan from FamilySearch after microfilm ordering ends.

The complete announcement can be found at temple-and-family-history/familysearch-microfilm-discontinuation?lang=eng.

No Edition of Nu? What’s New? Next Week
There will be no edition of Nu? What’s New? next week. My wife and I will be touring the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

Time for the Annual Conference Is Almost Here
In less than a month, the 37th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy will take place at the Swan Resort at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. If you are attending, start making a list of lectures and other activities you plan to attend. I printed out the complete program and highlighted items of personal interest. Although I have been doing my family history for 38 years, I still find a large number of lectures at each conference worth listening to. This year, I have identified 24 events, mostly lectures, I plan to attend at the six-day conference.

If you cannot attend, review the program anyway. You have the option to order access to live-streamed lectures from the conference, available live as well as on demand for 90 days following the conference. Selected lectures from all six days of the conference cost only $149.

To the many friends I have acquired over these past 38 years, I hope to see you in Orlando. This will be the 34th conference I have attended.

Registration is at A complete list of activities is at

IGRA Database Reaches 1 Million Mark
In 2015, the Israel Genealogical Research Association (IGRA) began indexing records—primarily Israeli records—of interest to family history researchers. IGRA has just announced they have reached 1 million records in their database.

Just this month, they have added 14 new collections. A partial list shows the diversity of their database:
   • 1928–1931 Petah Tikva Marriages and Divorces
   • Engagements 2016 ‬
   • Dublin Committee for the Relief of the Russian, Polish & Palestine Jews
   • 1940 Prohibited Immigrants
   • Members of Histadrut Hamorim 1941 (Teachers’ Union)
   • Enlistment to the British Army from Petah Tikva 1942
   • Tombstones of the Jewish Cemetery of Salonica, Greece

Their website is located at

Take Advantage of Nu? What’s New Archives
Are you aware that Avotaynu has an archive of past issues of Nu? What’s New? It is located at All but the five most-recent articles are available at the archives. The location comes with a custom search engine powered by Google to assist in locating news items that might be pertinent to your research.

We are now in our 18th year. It is estimated that more than 5,000 articles have appeared to date.

Stanley Diamond Given Canada’s Meritorious Service Award
Stanley Diamond of Montreal last Friday officially received Canada’s Meritorious Service Medal for his work in documenting Jewish genealogy and particularly for establishing and directing the Jewish Records Indexing – Poland project. Diamond is also the founding president of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Montreal. In 2002, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS). An article about Diamond’s work in genealogy appears in the June 23 issue of Canadian Jewish News, but as of today it does not yet appear on the Internet.

FindMyPast British and Irish Collections Accessible at No Charge Through Tomorrow
FindMyPast is making most of its more than 1.1 billion British and Irish records available free of charge through Monday, June 26. The offer is located at Registration is required. When registering, there is an offer to download an eBook: Your Must Have Guide to Finding Your British and Irish Ancestors.

Not included in the offer are the 1939 Register and historical British and Irish newspapers. For privacy reasons, UK Electoral Registers 2002–2014 and UK Companies House Directors 2002–2014 are also not included.

An open “Ask the Experts” question and answer session ( will also be broadcast live on Facebook at 10am EDT on Monday (June 26th). FindMyPast specialists in search techniques, military records, UK family history and everything in-between will be on hand to answer any questions researchers may have, whether they are just getting started or need help overcoming a brick wall. This will then be followed by a free webinar entitled “20 Unmissable Resources for Tracing Your British and Irish Ancestors” at 11am EDT, Wednesday July 5.

FindMyPast Acquires Six Million Ontario Records
Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter reports that FindMyPast has announced a partnership with the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) that will allow FindMyPast to publish millions of OGS records online in a series of phased releases. The first phase will be launched later this year with the online publication of more than six million records including;
   • The Ontario Name Index (TONI). A mega-index of more than 3.7M records with the goal of including every name found in any publication relating to Ontario, ranging from registers of birth, marriage and death to obituaries, memorial inscriptions, newspaper articles and more.
   • Ontario Genealogical Society Provincial Index (OGSPI). More than 2.6M records from censuses, birth, marriage and death registers, references in books, land records, passenger lists, military records and a host of other references.
   • Oddfellows Life Insurance Applications (1875–1929). More than 240,000 names released online for the very first time, containing a collection of more than 59,000 life insurance applications to the Oddfellows Relief Association of Canada. The applications contain answers to up to 31 questions about sex, age, occupation, height, weight, ethnic origins, marital status, family structure, and past and present health conditions.
   • Ontario Genealogical Society Bulletin, Families” and NewsLeaf. New images from official society publications and journals will become available to search through FindMyPast’s Periodical Source Index (PERSI), which claims to be the largest subject index to genealogy and local history periodical articles in the world.

Additional information can be found at

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
Alaska, Vital Records, 1818–1963
Montana, County Marriages, 1865–1993

U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940–1947
U.S. Military and Naval Academies, Cadet Records and Applications, 1800–1908
Louisiana, Soldiers in the War of 1812
U.S. Cemetery and Funeral Home Collection, 1847–2017
U.S. Obituary Collection, 1930–2017
Ohio, Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center Obituary Index, 1810s–2016

Databases of Soviet Army Soldiers as POWs
Rose Feldman of the Israel Genealogy Research Association notes there are databases of Soviet Army prisoners of war at Information provided may include name, father’s name, birth place/year, death place/year, nationality, and place of incarceration.

Who Do You Think You Are? (UK) Announces Celebrities for Its 14th Season
The UK version of Who Do You Think You Are? will present its 14th season on July 6, 2017, at 9pm on BBC One. The initial program will feature Game of Thrones actor Charles Dance on a journey, as he uncovers the true story of the father he never knew. Other celebrities to appear include Clare Balding, Noel Clarke, Fearne Cotton, Lulu, Lisa Hammond, Craig Revel Horwood, Adil Ray, Ruby Wax and Emma Willis.

Additional information can be found at

National Library of Wales Launches Website Containing Pages from Welsh Journals
Jan Meisel Allen reports that the National Library of Wales has launched a new website: Welsh Journals Online. It contains more than 1.2 million digitized pages from more than 450 Welsh journals between 1735–2007. The journals are Welsh and English language journals and are available at no charge. Searches can be limited to either Welsh or English language only publications. It is possible to browse by year, decades, title and editions. The titles range from academic and scientific publications to literary and popular magazines. The site is located at

JewishGen Elects New Board of Directors
JewishGen has announced its new Board of Directors. It is led by Bruce Ratner, a successful businessman and philanthropist and long-time supporter of JewishGen. He is joined by Michael Glickman, President and CEO of the Museum of Jewish Heritage; Peter Kalikow, President of H. J. Kalikow & Company, LLC; and E. Randol Schoenberg, a Los Angeles-based attorney, who is well known to the JewishGen community in his role as the coordinator for the JewishGen Austria-Czech SIG. Schoenberg is also a curator for Geni and is creator of the Jewish Genealogy Portal on Facebook.

This group is not the JewishGen Board of Governors, which is comprised of leaders of Jewish genealogy. The Board of Governors is an advisory-only group.

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

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