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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 18, Number 43 | November 12, 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.

Free Access and Discounts Abound This Season
It is the season for free access to records and discounts for subscriptions and products. The holidays of Veterans/Remembrance Day, Thanksgiving, Chanukah and Christmas will motivate genealogy companies to make these offers. In most cases registration is required if you have not used the site before.

Ancestry Canada: To commemorate Remembrance Day, Ancestry Canada is offering free access to their Canadian Military Records through November 12. Access the offer at

Ancestry UK: Ancestry (UK) is offering free access to their UK military collection through November at

FindMyPast: Free access to their UK military records until November 13. Access is at Another announcement claims the company is providing free access to their U.S., Canada and some UK records until November 12. The list is at

FindMyPast: It is uncertain whether the following is included in the above-mentioned item, therefore, search over 1.7 million (UK) Commonwealth War Graves Commission records to discover the final resting place of your military ancestors. The collection honors the 1.7 million men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in the World War I and II and covers cemeteries and memorials at 23,000 locations in more than 150 countries. Access at

Forces War Records: Another UK site is offering 40% off the normal membership price. The site contains more than 10 million records—more than 2 million exclusive to their site—of records of persons who fought for Great Britain in World War I and II. Subscribe at It is unclear when the offer ends.

DNA Testing Discounts
The big four are all offering discounts on their autosomal DNA testing. This is the test that attempts to find relatives independent of paternal or maternal line.
   • 23andMe – $49 (when buying two or more)
   • MyHeritage – $59
   • Family Tree DNA – $69
   • AncestryDNA – $79

The best choice is not necessarily the cheapest. The most expensive, Ancestry, has the largest collection, more than 5 million users. Family Tree DNA may have the most Jewish users.

Call for Papers: 38th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy
The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) has issued a Call-for-Papers for the 38th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy to be held in Warsaw next August. Proposals can be for lectures, panel discussions or computer workshops. Persons can submit proposals starting November 15. The deadline in December 31.

The Conference Program Committee suggests that presentation proposals should focus on resources, empires, Jewish culture/history and keepers of Jewish communal memory or historic sites in Central and Eastern Europe. The Committee will accept approximately 120 one-hour lectures/panels and approximately 50 short presentations. To submit a proposal, go to the conference home page at and link to Abstract Proposal System. The link should be available by November 15.

Wanted: Human Interest Stories for Winter Issue of AVOTAYNU
Now that the Fall issue of AVOTAYNU will go to the printer shortly, we are looking ahead to the Winter issue which is special in two ways. For the past 31 years, AVOTAYNU has devoted a portion of each Winter issue to genealogy human interest stories. Stories are typically about how genealogy affected people’s lives, whether it be the researcher or the people they are researching. Deadline for submission this year is December 1, 2017. If you would like to share such a story with AVOTAYNU subscribers, submit it by e-mail to When possible, illustrations should accompany the article.

New Family Histories In Print. Also in the Winter issue, AVOTAYNU lists Jewish genealogical family histories that have been published in the preceding 12 months. Books published earlier are also eligible for inclusion if they have not been previously reported. Please present information about the book in a specific format: author; title of book; years covered; brief description, including family names researched; libraries in which book has been deposited; price and ordering information. Submit the information by e-mail to The deadline date is also December 1. You can subscribe to AVOTAYNU at

Ancestry Adds New Jersey Censuses 1855–1915
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
U.S., Railroad Retirement Pension Index, 1934–1987
Boston, Massachusetts, Catholic Sacramental Records, 1789–1900
New Jersey, State Census, 1855
New Jersey, State Census, 1865
New Jersey, State Census, 1875
New Jersey, State Census, 1885
New Jersey, State Census, 1905
New Jersey, State Census, 1915

MyHeritage Announces Blog On DNA Basics
MyHeritage has started a blog on DNA Basics. This new series will answer some of the most commonly asked questions by MyHeritage DNA users about the science behind DNA testing for family history. The initial column covers the following topics:
   • Genetics 101
   • Inheriting DNA
   • Sharing DNA
   • DNA and your family
   • DNA and your family’s past

The column will appear monthly. The blog is located at

Report  Status of Polish Cemeteries
Jewish Heritage Europe reports that Virtual Shtetl has published a brief report summarizing the state of Jewish cemeteries in Poland. The report states that, according to the most recent research, there are some 1,172 known Jewish cemeteries (or sites of destroyed cemeteries) in Poland, of which 247 are included on the national register of historic/cultural monuments.

The complete article can be found at

Center for Jewish History Changes Date of Twitternar
The Jewish genealogy question and answer session on Twitter by the Center for Jewish History mentioned in the last edition of Nu? What’s New? has been rescheduled for November 14 rather than November 15. Staff from the Center’s Ackman and Ziff Family Genealogy Institute will be answering questions all day on their Twitter, @cjewishhistory. People should tweet using the hashtag #AskAGenealogist, so the staff can best find their questions.

Kristallnacht Commemoration 2017
For the past five years, Jewish Heritage Europe (JHE) has remembered Kristallnacht by posting photographs of synagogues that still stand in Europe, or have been renovated and refurbished, or have been newly built. JHE notes, “We feel that the best way to mark the anniversary is to post images of some of the beautiful synagogues that still stand in Europe.” You can view these photographs at

A Piece if History. We all read about history; it is rare that we get a chance to vicariously participate in it. Shortly after Kristallnacht, the Nazi elite met with a representative of the German insurance industry to decide what to do about all the insurance claims made by German Jews for compensation for the damage done by the rioters during Kristallnacht. Attending the meeting were Goering, Goebbels, Heydrich and others. A transcript of the meeting survived World War II. It is a chilling conversation between members of the Nazi elite that showed how they planned to exclude Jews from their assets and even their rights as citizens of Germany. Avotaynu has reproduced the transcript at

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