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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 18, Number 50 | December 31, 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.

Happy New Year!
I have read that 2018 should be a good year because the number 18 is considered lucky in Jewish culture; it is the numerical equivalent of the Hebrew word “chai” which means “life.”

FindMyPast Offers Free Access to 98 Million Atlantic Emigration Records
FindMyPast is offering, for some unknown period of time, free access to 98 million Atlantic emigration records. They are records of persons who emigrated from Britain or Ireland to Canada, United States or the Caribbean. Called the “British & Irish Roots Collection,” it provides a detailed abstraction of the ship manifests as well as the original manifest document itself. In one case of a passenger named Mokotow, it provided name, gender, age, birth year, occupation, departure date, departure port, destination and ship name.

Search the collection at british-and-irish-roots-collection. Upon locating a result of significance, click “View the record's source.” This provides an expanded extraction the record. At the bottom of the page, click “View image.” This now provides the actual ship manifest. Important note: I tried two different results. In one case, I was able to retrieve the actual ship manifest at no cost. In the second case, it was only available by paid subscription.

MyHeritage Adds British Mandate Period Citizen Requests to Its Collection
MyHeritage, in collaboration with the Israel State Archives, has placed online 67,000 citizenship requests from 1937–1947. The requests are indexed, extracted and the actual document can be retrieved. Eretz Israel was under the control of Great Britain and was known as the British Mandate period from 1923–1948. As is true of citizenship documents in most countries, it is a treasure trove of information about the individual and his/her family provided by the individual him/herself when making application. There are also photographs of the individuals.

The database is available in English at The Hebrew version is at Additional information about the announcement can be found at

Ancestry Offers Discounts Again
Ancestry’s pre-holiday discounts are being offered again. Through January 7, you can subscribe to their U.S. Discovery service for $49 instead of $99—a 59% discount. Also, their World Explorer service is being offered for $99 instead of $149—a 30% discount. Subscribe at

Legacy Family Tree Webinars for 2018 Announced
Legacy Family Tree Webinars has announced its 2018 schedule. The webinars are at no charge at the time they are presented and for seven days thereafter. Following the free period, anyone may purchase a webinar through a subscription.

Some of the January webinars include:
   • Genealogy for Beginners: Start Your Online Family Tree by Daniel Horowitz
   • Introducing the Geni World Family Tree by E. Randol Schoenberg
   • Understanding DNA Matching technology
   • Comparing the Genealogy Giants: Ancestry, FamilySearch, FindMyPast and MyHeritage by Sunny Morton

The complete list of webinars can be found at upcoming-webinars.php. Previous years’ webinars—639 in total—can be found at

Database of Foreign Jews Interned in Italy During the War Period
A posting to the JewishGen Discussion Group notes there is a website that includes nearly 9,500 foreign Jews interned in Italy during World War II. It is located at The site is in Italian only. There is the ability to search as well as browse the database. There is the ability to download the complete collection at

Sources of Online Information about Victims of National Socialism (Nazis)
Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter notes that the ManyRoads website has published a list of links to websites that have information about the victims of National Socialism (Nazis) from 1938 through 1945. The resources include information and data on persons known to have been persecuted on political grounds or for religion, nationality, sexual orientation, physical or mental handicaps, and other reasons as well.

The list is at: The Eastman announcement is at

National Museum of Italian Judaism and the Shoah Opens
Jewish Heritage Europe notes that the National Museum of Italian Judaism and the Shoah located in Ferrara is now open, following the inauguration of a major temporary exhibit on the Jewish experience in Italy from ancient Roman times until the Middle Ages. (Click on image for larger view.) The inaugural ceremony—on the first day of Hanukkah—was attended by President Sergio Mattarella and other VIPs.

Called “Jews, an Italian Story: The First Thousand Years,” the exhibit will run until September 16, 2018. The complete news item can be found at

Trove of Lost Jewish Material Found in Vilnius
YIVO Institute for Jewish Research has announced the discovery of a trove of lost Jewish materials thought to have been destroyed during the Holocaust. The new Vilna discovery contains never-before published literary manuscripts from some of the most famous Yiddish writers as well as numerous religious and communal works. Containing more than 170,000 pages, this trove of materials was first hidden from the Nazis by the YIVO Paper Brigade during WWII. They were subsequently preserved for decades by the efforts of Antanas Ulpis, a Lithuanian librarian, who saved the documents from the pulping mills and stored them in secret in St. George Church, which had been turned into a branch of the National Library of Lithuania.

Additional information about the discovery can be found at

Contribute to the Success of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy
Help support a dynamic institution that in its brief existence already has been the catalyst for such benefits to Jewish genealogy as the Beider-Morse Phonetic Matching System,  Sephardic DNA and Migration project, inventorying the Paul Jacobi Collection of 400 prominent Ashkenazic lineages, the Proposed Standard for Names, Dates and Places in a Genealogical Database, and a system for Integrating Genealogical Datasets.

Visit the IIJG website at and read about these developments, as well as  ongoing and proposed projects.

Make your tax-deductible contribution by credit card or PayPal at Click the Donate link. If you prefer, mail a check to Avotaynu Foundation,  794 Edgewood Ave., New Haven, CT 06515, USA. Make the check payable to “Friends of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy.” Donations are tax deductible for U.S. taxpayers.
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