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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 18, Number 33 | September 3, 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.

Auschwitz Death Register Spread Sheet Online
A list of 63,000 people who survived the selection process but died at Auschwitz has been placed online as a spread sheet. It is located at The source appears to be the Sterbebücher, 46 volumes of deaths of prisoners who were registered in the camp and died between July 29, 1941 and December 31, 1943. Information provided is last name, first name(s), date of birth, date of death, birthplace, residence and religion.

The file can be downloaded as an Excel file. Under the words “Auschwitz_Death_Certificates_1942-1943,” click the word “File,” then select “Download As.” Once downloaded, the file can be manipulated, for example, sorted by any column. Sorting by religion demonstrated that approximately 28,000 entries are for Jews.

Canada 1921 Census Online Free of Charge
Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee, reports that the 1921 census of Canada is now available to be searched free of charge at the Library and Archives Canada website. Previously only Canadians could browse the 1921 census free of charge due to a contractual arrangement with Those outside of Canada had to have a subscription to Ancestry to access the census. Now the five-year agreement with is completed. The company had assumed the cost of indexing the census.

To read more about the census and search see /introduction.aspx. Earlier Canadian censuses are available at

Free Access to Selected Ancestry Records Through September 4
In recognition of Labor Day in the United States, Ancestry is offering free access to their “occupation” collections through September 4. This includes all U.S. federal and state census records plus many unusual collections such as Brooklyn Hebrew Orphan Asylum Records, 1878–1969 and New York Hebrew Sheltering Guardian Society Records, 1884–1925. Access is at Registration is required.

FamilySearch Microfilm Service Ends September 7
Thursday, September 7, marks the closing of an 80-year era of historic records access on microfilm offered by what today is called FamilySearch. The organization is discontinuing its microfilm circulation services in concert with its commitment to make its billions of historic records accessible digitally online.

FamilySearch began microfilming historic records in 1938. Advancements in technology has made it more efficient to digitize records, hence its program to digitize the microfilms.

FamilySearch notes the following policies will exist because of the switchover:
   • After film ordering ends, if customers need access to a particular film yet to be digitized, they can ask that it be added to the priority digitization list by contacting FamilySearch Support
   • All the microfilms rented by patrons in the past 5 years have now been digitized—more than 1.5 million films (ca. 1.5 billion images).
   • The remaining microfilms are being digitally scanned at a rate of 1,000 films per day and are projected to be complete by 2020.
   • New digital images are available online shortly after they are scanned.
   • Films currently on loan in Family History Centers and affiliate libraries are automatically granted extended loan status.
   • Affiliate libraries now have access to nearly all the restricted image collections as Family History Centers.
   • Visitors to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City will still be able to order needed microfilms to use during their research visits.

Complete information is available at

Hurricane Harvey Affects Two DNA Testing Services
Two of the major DNA testing companies, FamilyTreeDNA and MyHeritage, share the same laboratory which is located in Houston, Texas, site of the recent devastating hurricane Harvey. Fortunately, their lab is on the sixth floor of a high-rise office building, so there was no damage to their facility.

However, because the roads are flooded, the lab employees cannot commute safely to work. In line with safety measures, the lab has been closed until the water recedes and the main roads reopen. This means that there will be a delay of at least one week in the processing of DNA kits that are currently in the lab or are enroute to the lab. There is no delay in the shipping of new kits to customers, as the shipping occurs from their fulfillment facility in New Jersey.

The announcement from MyHeritage can be found at

Who Do You Think You Are? (US) Starts Next Season in Spring 2018
The Learning Channel (TLC) has renewed Who Do You Think You Are? for a new season premiering in Spring 2018. The series follows celebrities as they embark on personal journeys of self-discovery by tracing their own family trees. The series is currently nominated for an Emmy Award for Structured Reality Program, its third nomination in this category and fourth overall. Last year Who Do You Think You Are? won an Emmy for Outstanding Picture Editing for a Reality Program. The announcement did not indicate which celebrities would be featured.

The news release can be found at

Today Is European Day of Jewish Culture
Jewish Heritage Europe reports that today is the 18th annual European Day of Jewish Culture when there are hundreds of events and open-doors visits to synagogues and other Jewish sites in three dozen countries around Europe. In some countries, the “Day” stretches into several days, and in some places it occurs on another date. For more information, see

New at
Ancestry has updated 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.

U.S., Obituary Collection, 1930–2017
U.S., Cemetery and Funeral Home Collection, 1847–2017
Massachusetts, Marriage Records, 1840–1915
New York, Death Index, 1880–1956
New York, Episcopal Diocese of New York Church Records, 1767–1970
New York City, Marriage License Indexes, 1907–1995
North America, Family Histories, 1500–2000
Ohio, Soldier Grave Registrations, 1804–1958
Virginia Colonial Records, 1607–1853

FamilySearch Adds Nearly 8.5 Million Records This Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, nearly 8.5 million indexed records and images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Argentina, Italy, The Netherlands, South Africa, Sweden and the U.S. states of Kansas, Louisiana and Washington State.

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.

Make sure the members of your family who were murdered in the Holocaust are not  forgotten. Submit a Page of Testimony in thier memory to The Shoah Victims' Name Recovefr Project. Go to Click the words "Submit Pages of Testimony Online" or “Download Page of Testimony Forms.”

Pages of Testimony are special forms created by Yad Vashem to restore the personal identities and to record the brief life stories of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis and their accomplices. These one-page forms, containing the names, biographical details and, when available, photographs, of each individual victim are essentially symbolic "tombstones". Since its inception Yad Vashem has worked tirelessly to fulfill our moral imperative to remember every single victim as a human being, and not merely a number.  To date there are some two million seven hundred thousand names recorded on Pages of Testimony, written in more than twenty languages, stored for perpetuity in the circular repository around the outer edge of the Hall of Names. Many shelves remain empty bearing witness to the millions of individuals who have yet to be memorialized.

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