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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 18, Number 40 | October 22, 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.

Have You Signed Petition to Oppose New York City Proposed Records Rules?
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMG) has proposed restricting access to New York City birth records for 125 years and death records for 75 years. A public hearing will be held this Tuesday (October 24) by DOHMG where it is expected many people representing the genealogical community will come to protest these new rules.

If you cannot attend, show your opposition by signing the online petition located at The genealogical community is opposing these measures because they hinder family history research. If you have no immediate interest in New York City records, sign the petition anyway. When making policy, government agencies tend to look at what their counterparts are doing in other regions. The agencies in your area, when planning to change policy, may conclude the New York City policy is good for them too. In addition, a good turnout will demonstrate to all government policy makers that the genealogical community is a voice for influencing policy.

The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) has already sent a letter to DOHMG. You can read it at

“Information for the English-speaking Jewish Tourist in Warsaw”
For those readers who plan to attend the IAJGS 38th International Conference on Jewish Genealogy to be held in Warsaw, Poland, next August, a 23-page document created by the Jewish Community of Warsaw may be of value. Among the topics covered are:
   • Jewish sites including synagogues
   • Keeping Kosher
   • Cabs and public transportation
   • Communication through local and international telephone calls

Information can be found at uploads/2017/08/information_warsaw.pdf.

The IAJGS conference website is at

MyHeritage to Hold One-Day Webinar
MyHeritage will offer its first “One-Day Genealogy Seminar” globally on October 29 from 7am–3pm EDT (New York City time). The seminar will include presentations by experts in the fields of DNA, Jewish genealogy, general research techniques and technology trends for genealogy.

The topics (including the name of the lecturer) are:
   • Google for Genealogy: Search Tricks to Tease Out Information – Jessica Taylor
   • How to Pass Your Ancestors’ Legacy to Your Grandchildren – Jessica Taylor
   • Introduction to the Use of Autosomal DNA Testing – Tim Janzen
   • Advanced Autosomal DNA Techniques Used in Genetic Genealogy – Tim Janzen
   • Filling in the In-Between of the Jewish BMD – Rose Feldman
   • Jewish Family Research Challenges – Garri Regev
   • Discover Your Family History with MyHeritage’s Unique Technologies – Daniel Horowitz

Registration and other information can be found at

GRO Pilot Scheme Allows Ordering Records as PDF Files
UK’s General Register Office (GRO) has instituted a pilot program where people can order birth and death records as PDF files rather than a paper version. The cost for each file is £6 rather than £9.25 for the paper copy. The search engine requires that you know the year of the event within two years. The range of records is for birth certificates (1837–1916) and for death certificates (1837–1957). The project will last at least three months.

Search the indexes and order copies at certificates/indexes_search.asp.

FamilySearch Adds More Than 40 Million Records This Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, more than 40 million indexed records and images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Argentina, Australia, Austria, BillionGraves, Chile, China, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Hungary, Italy, Massachusetts, Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, Billion Graves Index and the States of Massachusetts and West Virginia.

The high number of additions are primarily from four collections: Index to the 1921 Denmark Census (3.3M records; Index to Finland, Church Census and Pre-Confirmation Books, 1657-1915 (33.4M records); images of Italy, Salerno, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1806-1949 (5.5M); and index to Netherlands, Archival Indexes, Miscellaneous Records (6.7M records).

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/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.

New Collections
Bernalillo County, New Mexico, Marriage Index, 1888–2017

Updated Collections
U.S., Cemetery and Funeral Home Collection, 1847–2017
U.S., Obituary Collection, 1930–2017
Connecticut, Hale Collection of Cemetery Inscriptions and Newspaper Notices, 1629–1934

Ancestry Offers 30% Discount to AARP Members
Ancestry is offering a 30% discount on their World Explorer Membership to members of AARP (American Association of Retired Persons). This discount also applies to renewal of existing subscribers. Information can be found at

Digitization of the Canadian Expeditionary Force Personnel Service Files Continues
As of this week, 502,740 of 640,000 files are available online in the Library and Archives Canada “Personnel Records of the First World War” database. The project is being done alphabetically, and they are now up to the surname “Russell.” The records include date/place of birth, name/address of next of kin and other data. Information about the project can be found at At the current pace, the project should be completed by the end of 2018.

USCIS Repatriation Webinar October 26
During World War I, hundreds of native-born and naturalized Americans lost their U.S. citizenship by serving in the armed forces of an allied country during WWI. Whether eager to join the Allied cause before the U.S. entered the war or wishing to fight in their native countries, many Americans joined foreign allied armies. Most desired to remain U.S. citizens and were even unaware that their enlistment had stripped them of their citizenship. To aid these expatriated Americans, Congress passed the Act of October 5, 1917, which allowed them to take the Oath of Renunciation Allegiance and reassume U.S. citizenship.

On October 26, at 1pm Eastern, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will give a webinar on how Americans who were expatriated through service in the armed forces of an allied country during WWI regained their U.S. citizenship. To register for the webinar or read a list of future webinars, go to

Have You Registered to Receive Notices from Avotaynu Online?

Have you subscribed to Avotaynu’s latest venture: Avotaynu Online? We have created a special sign-on site at By registering, you will receive a weekly notice of items added to the site.

By virtue of its focus on the in-depth reporting of specific subjects, Avotaynu Online will be entirely distinct from the existing print journal, AVOTAYNU, which for over three decades has covered the broad spectrum of Jewish family history research, and from the weekly Nu? What’s New?, which reports breaking stories in the world of genealogy.

 Avotaynu Online is free of charge. 

Nu? What's New? is published weekly by Avotaynu, Inc.
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