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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 19, Number 11 | March 18, 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.

FindAGrave Using Holocaust Victims’ Lists to Expand Their Collection
FindAGrave has included a number of Holocaust victims’ lists in their collection. They include the GedenkbuchMemorial to the Jews Deported from France, Lodz Ghetto list and Chelmno death camp.

The first edition of the Gedenkbuch includes more than 178,000 German Jews murdered in the Holocaust. FindAGrave lists their place of death as “Body lost or destroyed.” Memorial to the Jews Deported from France is a list of 72,798 Jews deported from Drancy, France, to Auschwitz. The list includes Holocaust survivors. The place of death is shown as Paris, France. None died in Paris. Most died at Auschwitz/Birkenau.

There are 3,900 names from the Lodz ghetto and 625 from Chelmno. There are also 31,000 deaths at Auschwitz. The Auschwitz list would include Jewish as well as non-Jewish persons.

New Book: Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy: 2018 Edition
Avotaynu has just published the 2018 version of Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy. The book has been regularly updated since 2010 because of the dynamic growth of Jewish genealogy research. New additions to the 2018 version includes a section on Facebook groups for Jewish genealogy and an expansion of the section on DNA testing. Also, statistical data about sizes of the numerous databases mentioned have been updated.

It is not a beginner’s guide, but a primer to demonstrate that there is a world of records and resources to help you to trace your Jewish family history. The book is only 104 pages, making it quick reading, yet it holds a wealth of information. An appendix includes a case study to demonstrate that tracing your Jewish ancestry can be done. The appendix documents how the book’s author traced the ancestry of the notorious Bernie Madoff back six generations using only internet resources. It included the challenge that the name was changed to Madoff “at Ellis Island.”

Additional information, including the Table of Contents, is available at The price is $16.50 plus shipping. Avotaynu offers the book to Jewish genealogical societies at half price when at least 20 copies are ordered. Some societies distribute the book at no charge to new members who are starting to research their Jewish roots. Others use it as part of beginners’ workshops.

Have You Renewed Your Subscription to AVOTAYNU?
Just a friendly reminder to AVOTAYNU subscribers whose subscription expired with the Winter issue to be sure to renew now to take advantage of the renewal discount offer. Your subscription expired if there was a yellow renewal sheet with your copy of the Winter issue. Non-U.S. subscribers may not yet have received their copy of the Winter issue. The renewal offer is at

In addition to the renewal discount offer, you will be part of a drawing to be held in early May where three persons will win any of the books Avotaynu has published. How would you like a copy of Dr. Alexander Beider’s landmark work, A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Russian Empire, or Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy. Resubscribe for three years and you will have three chances to win. If you are not an AVOTAYNU subscriber, sign up for a special discounted offer of the Winter issue and all four issues in 2018 at

FamilySearch Adds Nearly 2 Million Records This Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, nearly 2 million indexed records and images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. Those identified with a dagger (†) are Christian-only records. They include records from Austria(†), BillionGraves, Brazil, England(†), France, Germany, Guatemala, Idaho, Illinois, Mexico, Spain(†) and Texas.

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.

IIJG Extends Deadline for Genealogical Research Prizes ($2,500 and $1,500)
The International Institute for Jewish Genealogy (IIJG) has extended to April 30 the submission date for its two commemorative prizes in the field of Jewish genealogy.

The first prize, in memory of Harvey Krueger, is an “ignition grant” of $2,500 to young researchers about to embark on, or already preparing, masters or doctoral theses on any aspect of Jewish genealogy. The second, in memory of Chava Agmon, is a prize of $1,500 for a completed but unpublished research work in Jewish genealogy.

Entries for both prizes will be judged by their originality and the extent to which they expand the horizons of Jewish genealogical research in the humanities and/or the exact sciences.

Submissions, in the form of an accepted thesis proposal or a completed study, should be submitted by April 30. Full details about the prizes, including “Instructions to Applicants” can be found at

RootsTech Statistics Are Staggering
RootsTech, the largest genealogy gathering in the world has released statistics in the recently completed 2018 conference.
   • 17,210 registrations
   • 111,699 Live Stream views
   • Live Stream viewed in 125 countries
   • 11,237 tweets using #RootsTech
   • 300 classes

This is the eighth year the conference has been held as the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City. Next year’s conference will be from February 27–March 2, 2019. Their website is at

St. Patrick’s Day Offers
Ancestry is making all their Irish records available at no charge through Monday, March 19. The collection is located at

FindMyPast is offering a 50% discount on one month of their Plus and Pro subscriptions through March 19. I could not find the offer at their website. Their subscription page is at

Family Tree DNA is offering a $20 discount on the Family Finder DNA test. The offer ends today, March 18. Their website is located at

Video: Poland With No Jews
Tomasz Wisniewski is a pro-Semitic Pole living in Bialystok who has produced numerous videos about Jewish life in Poland. His latest is a 14-minute video titled Poland With No Jews. In it, he interviews elderly Poles who remember what life was like in pre-war Bialystok when Jews represented 63% of the population. The video can be found at To find other Wisniewski videos about the Jews of Poland, search YouTube for “bagnowka.” There is also a list at although it may not be current. Wisniewski also has a website at that contains much information if you have Polish heritage.

Tourist Film of Vienna at the Time of the Anschluss (March 1938)
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has placed on its website a film which started as an American tourist’s view of Vienna in 1938 and wound up as a view of the Viennese reaction to Hitler’s takeover of Austria (known as the Anschluss). It can be viewed at The first three minutes are typical tourist scenes. The remaining eight minutes are scenes from the Anschluss.

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

Nu? What's New? is published weekly by Avotaynu, Inc.
Copyright 2018, 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