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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 19, Number 5 | February 4, 2018
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.

The Ancestor Hunt Has Links to Vital Records Websites
The Ancestor Hunt has hundreds of links to websites that have vital records information in the United States and Canada. For example, there are 25 online collections that have information about New York State births, marriages and deaths. The links can be found at

FindMyPast Free Access to British and Irish Census, Birth, Marriage and Death Records
To mark the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the UK, FindMyPast is providing at no charge through February 8 access to its collection of British and Irish census, birth, marriage and death records. In addition, more than 3,000 Metropolitan Police and Home Office records revealing the authorities’ surveillance of the suffragette movement are available on the website in a new collection. This collection will be available at no charge through March 8, International Women’s Day.

The collections can be accessed at A more complete announcement can be found at

“Ghetto List”
A so-called “Ghetto List” identifies thousands of towns in Eastern Europe where Jews lived showing the town name in various languages, region/country as defined by Germany during World War II (Example: Generalgouvernement), date of occupation, date of liquidation, date of deportation, place of deportation, comments and source of information. It can be downloaded from The site is in German.

Finding Elusive Records on FamilySearch
The FamilySearch blog for this week includes an article on “Finding Elusive Records on FamilySearch.” Many of the suggested strategies apply to searching for records on any online genealogy database. The article can be found at

Study Planned on How Endogamy Affects Jewish DNA Results
Ashkenazic Jews and those with Ashkenazic ancestry often share significantly more DNA with one another than would be expected because of endogamy. Ashkenazim descend from a small group of people whose descendants all married one another—so they are all cousins many times over. This causes people with Jewish ancestry to be predicted by autosomal DNA tests to be more closely related than they actually are.

Lara Diamond is collecting data on how much DNA is shared by known relatives with Ashkenazi heritage in order to better inform all of us what true close cousin matches look like. An explanation of the project and information on how you can contribute data can be found at

AVOTAYNU Winter Issue Goes to Printer This Week
The Winter issue of AVOTAYNU will go to the printer this week. The lead article is by Dr. Alexander Beider about “Exceptional Ashkenazic Surnames of Sephardic Origin.” This is followed by an article by Alexander Avram, Director of the Hall of Names and the Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names at Yad Vashem, regarding Yad Vashem’s progress in its efforts to identify every Hungarian Holocaust victim.

This is the human-interest issue of AVOTAYNU, where genealogists describe how their research affected their lives and/or the lives of others. Possibly the most unusual article is by a woman who was told at age 30 that her father was not her biological father, but, instead, her mother was artificially inseminated by an anonymous donor. The article describes her quest and success in finding this donor. All told, there are 18 articles in the issue plus the usual columns: From Our Contributing Editors, U.S. Update, Ask Dr. Beider, Book Reviews and From Our Mailbox. The complete Table of Contents is at

Special offer: Six issues for the price of four. If you do not subscribe to AVOTAYNU, we are offering a six-issue subscription to our journal AVOTAYNU for the price of four issues. The cost of a six-issue subscription is only $38.00—the cost of a four-issue subscription—instead of $53.00, a $15 saving. Non-U.S./Canada subscribers can subscribe for only $46 instead of $65, a $19 saving.

You will receive the Fall issue immediately, the Winter issue when it is in print, and all four issues of 2018 as they are published. The offer expires next Sunday. Go to to place your order.

FamilySearch Adds Nearly 3 Million Records This Week
Plus 63 million Index Records for Mexico
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, nearly 7 million indexed records and images, can be found at Also included are 63 million index records for Mexico civil registration for the various states.

This site provides direct links to the individual collections. Those identified with a dagger (†) are Christian-only records. They include records from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil(†), Czech Republic, England(†), France, Italy, Lesotho(†), Luxembourg, Peru, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and the U.S. states of Maryland(†), New Jersey and Utah.

Most notable for persons with Jewish family history are additions to Vienna Jewish Registers of Births, Marriages, and Deaths (1784-1911).

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

Updated Collections
Iowa, Delayed Birth Records, 1856–1940
U.S. Southern Claims Commission, Disallowed and Barred Claims, 1871–1880
Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906–1966
Essex County, Massachusetts Probate Records Supplement, 1644–1691
1900 United States Federal Census

MyHeritage Shows Ethnicities Around the World
MyHeritage has added a fun feature to its DNA program: Ethnicities Throughout the World. It allows you to explore the most common ethnicities in different countries, and the top countries for each ethnicity, according to data from the more than one million users who have purchased the MyHeritage DNA kit or uploaded DNA data to MyHeritage. You do not have to be a MyHeritage subscriber to review the results. It can be found at

Note this does not accurately portray the ethnic heritage of people living in different countries, but instead accurately portrays the ethnic heritage of people living in different countries who purchased the MyHeritage DNA kit or uploaded DNA data to MyHeritage. For example, the United States shows no persons of Native American heritage. This is because no such persons subscribed to the MyHeritage DNA project.

The announcement can be found at new-feature-ethnicities-around-the-world/.

You can join the people who have ordered a MyHeritage kit at If you already have had an ethnicity test by another firm, upload it to the MyHeritage site at

Polish Law Creating Controversy
Recently, there has been much publicity about legislation by the Polish government that addresses the question of Polish participation in the Holocaust. Debra Zlot Kay posted to Facebook a translation of the act created by
a Polish friend. It appears below.

1. Whoever accuses publicly and against the facts the Polish nation or the Polish state of being responsible or complicit in the Nazi crimes committed by the Third German Reich as defined in Article 6 of the Charter of the International Military Tribunal - Annex to the Agreement for the prosecution and punishment of the major war criminal if the European Axis signed in London on the 8th of August 1945 (Journal of Laws of 1947 item 367) or other crimes against peace and humanity or war crimes or otherwise grossly diminishes the responsibility of the actual perpetrators thereof, shall be subject to a fine or a penalty of imprisonment of up to three years. The judgement shall be made public. 2. If the perpetrator of the prohibited act referred to in the paragraph 1 acts unintentionally, he or she is subject to a fine or restriction of freedom. 3. The perpetrator of the prohibited act referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 does not commit an offense, if he or she acts in the framework of artistic or scholarly activities (alternative translation: [...], if his or her act is part of artistic or scholarly activities).

The New York Times had an editorial about the matter. It can be found 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.

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