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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 19, Number 10 | March 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.

New York City Enacts New Rules for Public Access to Birth and Death Records
Despite a huge turnout by genealogists and historians at a public hearing to discuss public access to vital records, the New York City Department of Health (DoH) declared that general public access to birth records will not be available for 125 years after birth, and death records will not be available for 75 years after death. Justification for the decision was that birth and death records are protected from access by the general public because they contain individually identifiable information, which is considered private.

The DoH reported that at the hearing, 31 people testified, 18 of whom also submitted written comments. In all, 5,028 written comments were received, 3,884 of which were signatures to a petition and many of these signatories also submitted their own written comments. The DoH stated that no changes were made to the proposed amendment based on the comments received.
The Board will consider an amendment to the Health Code to allow direct descendants and other close relatives to access birth and death records before they become public.

The DoH ruling can be found at pdf/notice/2018/noa-amend-article207.pdf.

Warsaw Conference News
The closer it gets to the 38th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy to be held from August 5–10 at the Warsaw Hilton, the more information is flowing from the conference coordinators. The gathering is co-hosted by the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews and the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute of Warsaw, with the cooperation of the Polish State Archives. Information about the event is at

Pre/Post-Conference Tours. Taube Tours, the official tour company of the IAJGS Warsaw conference, has several pre-/post-conference tours. There is a 7 days/6 nights pre- or post-conference “Glimpse into Polish Galicia” tour. It includes visits to Chmielnik, Pinczow, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Tarnow, Rzeszow, Lancut and Krakow. There are also six Warsaw day tours during the conference; two additional day tours, one to Lodz, the other to Treblinka; and a post-conference “Journey through Jewish History of Lublin, Former Shtetls & Krakow.” Click on the “Book Today!” button to get detailed information about a specific tour. Additional information can be found at

Another tour. Mel and Deana Fishman, tour operators from Canada, are planning a pre-conference tour of Warsaw August 1–4 and a post-conference tour of Krakow and Auschwitz (August 10–15). Contact for information.

Looking for / Wanting a Roommate? Are you looking for or want a roommate for the Warsaw conference? The planning committee has established a Roommate Matching Service. Write to Send your name, dates you are seeking, indication of male or female, and whether you are already holding a hotel room reservation for two people.

Kosher and Travel Guide to Warsaw. There is an extensive “Jewish & Kosher Travel Guide to Warsaw” at

JewishGen Course on “Complex Genealogical Research in the U.S.”
If despite basic research you have not yet found the Hebrew names, birth year or town for your U.S. immigrant, consider taking the JewishGen course “Complex Genealogical Research in the U.S.” The course focuses on the more complex documents our ancestors generated including naturalization, passports, death records (probate, obituaries, cemeteries), newspapers, city directories, immigration ports other than Ellis Island, major archives and libraries, military records, internet research and miscellaneous state and federal government records.

The course starts on March 23 and ends on April 19. Tuition is $150. Complete information can be found

Family History Centers Access to Digitized Microfilm:
How Are They Doing?
Just about a year ago, Family Search announced they were going to phase out their microfilm collection and instead require that the digitized version of the microfilm be accessed through one of their thousands of Family History Centers (FHC) throughout the world. A major advantage of this new approach is that a patron would not have to wait weeks to get a copy of the microfilm sent to a Local FHC. Instead the digitized version would be available online at the FHC.

Question: If you have used the new system, how well is it working? We would be interested in your opinion. Write to

TheGenealogist Has 1940s Outbound Passenger Lists
The UK-based The Genealogist has added outbound passenger lists for the 1940s to their collection of passenger lists from previous years. The feature article does not explicitly state these are lists for all ten years of the 1940s.

The records can be searched by name, year, country of departure, country of arrival, port of embarkation and port of destination. TheGenealogist focuses on records for the UK. Many of their collections can be found on FamilySearch or Ancestry, especially vital records. One unique collection they have is an index for British naturalizations. This outbound passenger list collection is the most comprehensive.

Additional information about the 1940s records can be found at

Commonwealth Day March 12
Tomorrow, March 12, is Commonwealth Day which celebrates the union on the 53-member states that were mostly former territories of the British Empire. To my knowledge, not one genealogical company is recognizing the day with free offers. How unAmerican. 😊

Attend the 38th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy
Registration and additional information at

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