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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 19, Number 6 | February 11, 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.

Instead of Flowers, Consider a DNA Kit for Valentine’s Day
…and use the money you saved for the divorce. 😊

All major DNA testing companies are offering discounts on their autosomal DNA tests for Valentine’s Day. Click on the company name to link to the offer.

23andMe. $79. They will gift wrap it at no charge.
Ancestry. $69. Ends February 25.
Family Tree DNA. $59, with additional discounts when bundled with their other products. Offer ends February 14.
MyHeritage. $69 for one kit. An additional $10 per kit will be deducted if two or more kits are purchased. No indication when offer ends.

Gesher Galicia Plans Sub-Conference During IAJGS Conference

Gesher Galicia, the Special Interest Group for Jewish family historians with roots in Galicia, is planning a one-day symposium in Warsaw the Tuesday (August 7) of the annual IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy. It is being held jointly with AGAD (Archiwum Glowne Akt Dawnych—Central Archives of Historical Records) which is located in Warsaw.

The symposium's daytime sessions will be followed by a reception with buffet in the evening. Simultaneous interpretation between English and Polish will be provided for all sessions.

Gesher Galicia states there are a limited number of places left for the symposium, since Gesher Galicia members have already been able to make priority reservations. Once the limit is reached, further requests will be placed on a waiting list.

Register online at

Ancestry Has Unindexed Record Collections: How to Find Them
An article in Family History Daily notes that there are collections online at Ancestry that are unindexed and, therefore, will not produce results from a search. The article describes how to identify these records groups. One of the side benefits of looking for these collections is that I was able to identify all 103 Ancestry collections that include the word “Jewish.” It was interesting just to browse the descriptions of the collections. One of them, U.S., WWII Jewish Servicemen Cards, 1942–1947, included a record of my uncle (mother’s brother).

The article can be found at

New Historic Synagogues of Europe Website
Jewish Heritage Europe reports a new website that documents more than 3,000 synagogues in 48 countries in Europe with information on their age, type, style, current condition, and present usage. It also rates them according to their historic significance and to the risks and threats they face. The site is at The Jewish Heritage Europe announcement can be found at

Swedish National Archives Digital Collections Free to Search and View
The Swedish National Archives Digital Collection of some 100 million records is now online with free access. Collections searchable by name include censuses (1860–1930), inventory of estates, prisoners released from jail and Rosenberg's geographical dictionary (a gazetteer). The original source document can be retrieved. Other databases online include church archives; court archives; property records (1933–1980s); register of population 1642–1820; SCB births, marriages, deaths (1860–1947).

Additional information can be found at Reported by Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter.

New at Ancestry
Ancestry and Ancestry UK have 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
Michigan, Divorce Records, 1897–1952
Massachusetts, Marriage Records, 1840–1915

Ancestry UK
does not indicate whether new records are an update to an existing collection or a new collection.
Buckinghamshire, England, Extracted Church of England Parish Records, 1535–1812
Rosyth, Fife, Scotland, Dockyard Employee Books, 1892–1967
Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland, War Albums, 1899 – 1916
Burntisland, Fife, Scotland, Directory and Yearbook, 1892

MyHeritage Publishes “DNA Basics Chapter 3”
My Heritage has published its third article on DNA. It attempts to simplify the technical aspect of what DNA is all about by analogy:
   • DNA is the instruction manual to each of us.
   • Nucleotides are the letters;
   • Sets of three consecutive nucleotides called codons are the words;
   • Groups of codons called genes are the sentences; and,
   • Chromosomes are complete volumes of the 23-volume manual — one edition of which is inherited from each parent.

The article can be found at

AVOTAYNU Special Subscription Offer Ends Today
Today is the last day Avotaynu will offer six issues of its journal, AVOTAYNU, for the price of four. 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. Order now at Arthur Kurzweil once said, “The single most significant development in the field of Jewish genealogy over the past decade has been the appearance of Avotaynu...(It) is essential for all Jewish genealogists. You must subscribe to it.”

New Yad Vashem Exhibit: Flashes of Memory—Photography during the Holocaust
Yad Vashem has inaugurated a new exhibition entitled “Flashes of Memory: Photography during the Holocaust.” The exhibition presents a critical account of visual documentation—photographs and films—created during the Holocaust by German and Jewish photographers, as well as by members of the Allied forces during liberation. The exhibition focuses a spotlight on the circumstances of the photograph and the worldview of the documenting photographer—both official and private—while emphasizing the different and unique viewpoint of the Jewish photographers as direct victims of the Holocaust.

The exhibit contains about 1,500 photographs and 13 films created during the Holocaust, as well as original newspaper clippings, albums, diaries, and a number of original cameras from the period. Also included in the collection are three-dimensional and color photographs taken by professional photographers of the Nazi regime.

Additional information about the exhibit can be found at

ITS Plans Conference on Tracing and Documenting Victims of Nazi Persecution
The International Tracing Service (ITS) in planning a conference on “Tracing and Documenting Victims of Nazi Persecution: History of the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Context” on October 8–9, 2018, at its headquarters in Bad Arolsen, Germany.

The conference is linked to the opening of the first permanent exhibition on the history of the ITS in Spring 2019. One aim is to discuss new research findings on the institution’s history in a broader context.

The conference is open to historians, researchers from other disciplines and practitioners from archives, documentation centers and similar institutions. They have issued a Call for Papers. The deadline is April 1.
Additional information is at

African-American Records Free on Fold3 for Black History Month
Fold3 has announced that all the records in its Black History collection are available at no charge throughout February—Black History Month in the United States. The collection consists of more than a million documents, records and photographs capturing the experience of African-Americans throughout five eras of history: Slavery, Civil War, Reconstruction & Jim Crow Laws, World War I & II, and the Civil Rights Movement.

Fold3 predominantly focuses on military records. Its website is at

 Attend the 38th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy

  Registration and additional information at

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