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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 18, Number 42 | November 5, 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 New York Passenger Lists (1820–1957) to Its Collection
MyHeritage has added New York Passenger Lists to its collection with some remarkable improvements. In 1897, immigration officials began asking the arrivals for the name and address of the relative or friend they were joining in the U.S. Then in 1907, they began asking for the name and address of their closest relative or friend in their home country. These names are now part of the index. Neither Ancestry nor FamilySearch include these names.

Adding these names may now make it possible to locate passenger arrival records for people whose names were grossly misspelled. Here is a personal example. I was unable to find my grandfather Morris Mokotoff in the Ellis Island Database when it became available because it was terribly misspelled—literally “Moische …Ukaton.” I eventually found it through the Stephen P. Morse site that I have used—with time-consuming effort—to search for people independent of their name. With the new MyHeritage database, I found him instantly. I searched for all persons “Mokotow” and he was at the top of the list: “Moische …Ukaton” going to D. Mokotow. He was found because “D. Mokotow” is part of the MyHeritage index.

These additional names can identify people yet to be discovered in your research. The lists included a Torvie Makotow an “acquaintance” of my granduncle, David Mokotow. This person is unknown to me. David was a popular guy. Another passenger list shows Samuel and Chane Switsky naming him as their brother-in-law. These people are unknown to me.
Searching the Ellis Island and New York Passenger Lists collection is free. A subscription is required to view records and scanned images and to access Record Matches. Search the passenger lists at The complete announcement is at

MyHeritage claims it now has more than 8.27 billion historical records in its collection. You can subscribe to one of their three levels of service at

MyHeritage Giving Deep Discounts for Their DNA Service
Until November 23—Thanksgiving Day in the U.S.—My Heritage is deep discounting the price of its DNA testing service from $99 to $59. There is also free shipping when purchasing three or more kits. The company claims the advantages of using their service are:
   • 42 ethnicity groups in our report — more than any other major DNA vendor
   • The fastest processing time — only 3-4 weeks
   • International database improving your chances of finding relatives around the world
   • Fully integrated with family tree tools and historical records to expand your family research

Order kit(s) at,

MyHeritage Webinar Lectures Now Online
Last Sunday, MyHeritage ran and all-day webinar of seven lectures on various aspects of genealogical research. These programs are now available online at

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

The presentations will be permanently available in the Legacy library as free replays. View over 50 other free videos in the Legacy library at

Google Makes Significant Change in Rules for Search Results
Have you recently tried to locate websites in foreign lands using Google? You may have difficulty finding them because of a new policy established by Google. No longer will you get search results from all over the world. Instead, your location will determine what results you will receive from Google Search and Maps.

In preparing this edition of Nu? What.s New? I needed the URL of the Polish State Archives. I Googled “Polish State Archives” and the results were all American sites that referred to the Archives. When I then Googled “Polish State Archives,” and the first result was the URL for the Archives.

Strangely, when I Googled “Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain,” the URL for the society was the first listed even though their URL ends in “.uk.” Googling the French society, Cercle de Généalogie Juive, resulted in the URL of their society being listed first. Similarly, no problem with Israel Genealogical Research Association.

The Google company states the reason for the change is to make search results “more local and relevant.” I never realized that Google knew better than me what is “relevant” to the search I am undertaking. Somehow, I think the change is related to Google.s problems with the European Union in the matter of “right to be forgotten.”

Unfortunately, in the future when you search for information outside your country and get no meaningful results, you won.t know whether the information being searched for does not exist or Google excluded it as not being “local and relevant.”

The announcement of the change can be found at making-search-results-more-local-and-relevant/.

Ancestry Permitting Opting Out of DNA Sharing
Ancestry notes that one of the powerful benefits of using AncestryDNA is discovering matches with other participants who share DNA traits with you. However, they also note that some customers want to have privacy and control over their own results.

As a consequence, the company has introducing the ability to choose whether to participate in the DNA matching program. If a person opts out, their DNA results will not be matched/viewed by others. In addition, they will not be able to view the results of persons they match.

The complete announcement can be found at

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.

Updated Collections
Delaware, Marriage Records, 1744–1912
New Hampshire, Marriage and Divorce Records, 1659–1947
U.S., Cemetery and Funeral Home Collection, 1847–2017
U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s–Current
U.S., Obituary Collection, 1930–2017
Vermont, Divorce Index, 1925–2003
Virginia, Divorce Records, 1918–1991
Virginia, Marriage Records, 1936–2014
Web: Monroe County, Michigan, Obituary Index,1821–2012

Clearance Sale: A Practical Guide for Jewish Cemeteries for Only $19.00
Deadline Tomorrow
The deadline to buy A Practical Guide to Jewish Cemeteries for only $19.00 is Monday, November 6. The regular price is $39.00.

This 256-page book is a comprehensive text on Jewish cemeteries, providing historic, legal, traditional and mystical information in easy-to-understand format. The text is illustrated with 107 photographs and diagrams. It is an invaluable tool for the genealogist, researcher, student, tour guide and traveler that includes:
   • A simple course on how to read Hebrew tombstone text and dates
   • A detailed explanation of Jewish tombstone symbols
   • Tombstone photography, rubbing and preservation
   • History and location of famous Jewish cemeteries and Nazi camps
   • Burial sites and biographies of 260 famous Jews
   • A history of Jewish burial from Abraham to present day
   • Jewish law and tradition concerning cemeteries
   • How to approach people who vandalize cemeteries
   • Strategies to prevent removal by companies and governments • Information about ancient Jewish burial

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: The webpage includes the complete Table of Contents plus a sample chapter.

Center for Jewish History Plans “Twitternar”
The Center for Jewish History in New York will be hosting a Jewish Genealogy question and answer session on Twitter on Wednesday, November 15. Staff from the Center.s Ackman and Ziff Family Genealogy Institute will be answering questions all day on our Twitter, @cjewishhistory. People should tweet using the hashtag #AskAGenealogist, so the staff can best find their questions.

Blood & Frogs Site Adds Links to Archival Records
Blood & Frogs has announced that its Compendium of Jewish Genealogy now has links to two major online resources that have records for 1,350 Polish towns—the Polish State Archives (PSA) and FamilySearch. The Compendium provides links to online resources for all countries in the world. There are currently more than 11,000 entries. It can be found at The announcement of the links to PSA/FamilySearch can be found at

Ukrainian Genealogist Pushing for Records Access
Brooke Schreier Ganz, president of Reclaim the Records, has reported that a distant cousin of hers, Alex Krakovsky, is a young Ukrainian genealogist who lives in Kiyev and is shaking up things in the world of the Ukrainian archives system by fighting for increased records access by the public. An example is a register titled 1910-1912. Board of the Kiyev Jewish Emigration Society which is a list of Jewish immigrants who were going to Galveston, Texas, for resettlement in the United States. Krakovsky scanned the register and placed it on the Internet. It is written in Russian and can be found at

Krakovsky has also written a Ukrainian Wikipedia page about Jewish shtetls. It is located at Use Google translate to translate from Ukrainian to your native tongue.

Ganz states, “Clearly something here must be genetic, because Alex does in Ukraine very much what I do in New York with Reclaim the Records—he takes on the archives system and fights them to return records access to the people! All the records he gets out of the archives are posted online for free public use.”

Her report can be found on various Facebook pages including Tracing the Tribe at

Central Database of Shoah Victims. Names Now Has 4.7 Million Entries
Yad Vashem.s online Central Database of Shoah Victims. Names was launched in 2004 and, to date, the names and biographical details of 4,700,000 are recorded. Each month, thousands of people from around the world access the database, searching for information about Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust. Even today, over 70 years after the end of the war, new information is being discovered.

The names of more than a million victims remain unknown, according to Yad Vashem. They state, “It is our collective moral imperative to persist in our efforts to recover the names and restore the identities of the victims of the Shoah for future generations.”

Have you submitted the names of family members murdered in the Holocaust? If not, go to to submit the names online or download the printed form.

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 2.7 million 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.

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