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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 19, Number 18 | May 7, 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.

DNA Testing Community Reacts to GEDmatch Being Used to Catch Murderer
The DNA testing community is reacting to GEDmatch data being used to catch a murderer. GEDmatch has announced that they now have a feature which allows contributors to delete their registration/profile and associated DNA and GEDCOM resources.

It is likely that all DNA services are reviewing their privacy rules. Ancestry recently stated they have updated their Privacy Statement. It has always stated that regarding legal or regulatory process, “We may share your Personal Information if we believe it is reasonably necessary to comply with valid legal process (e.g., subpoenas, warrants).” Read their privacy statement at

Ancestry further disclosed that in 2017 they received 34 valid law enforcement requests for user information. They provided information in response to 31 of those 34 requests. All the requests were related to investigations involving credit card misuse and identity theft. Ancestry disclosed they refused numerous inquiries on the basis that the requestor failed to obtain the appropriate legal process. Read their Transparency Statement at

UK-based Who Do You Think You Are? magazine has an article titled “What Are the Risks of Using DNA Websites in Criminal Investigations?” It can be read at

The “DNA Explained – Genetic Genealogy” website also comments at

Stephen P. Morse Adds New York State and New Jersey Voters’ Index to Site
Stephen P. Morse has added two more features to his site which contains more than 100 useful functions for genealogy. They are the New York State voters’ index at and the New Jersey voters’ index at

Just today I helped an inquirer find the Ellis Island record of an ancestor which he could not locate using the Ellis Island website. By using the powerful abilities of the Morse Ellis Island search engine, the ancestor popped out from the list.

MyHeritage Founder and CEO Produces Webinar on Founding of MyHeritage
Gilad Japhet, MyHeritage’s founder and CEO, has produced a webinar in which he shares his story of how he originally caught the genealogy “bug” and the journey of how he started MyHeritage and recruited the team. He also explains the background of the Legacy acquisition and highlights new things coming up for Legacy Family Tree, its webinar series and MyHeritage.

Japhet also discloses some scoops, including new features that MyHeritage is working on that will be released later this year.

The webinar is at /watch-special-webinar-with-myheritages-founder-and-ceo/.

MyHeritage Adds Pedigree View Feature to Its Family Tree System
The latest feature to be added to the MyHeritage environment is the ability to view up to five generations of a person’s ancestry in what they call Pedigree View. When the selected person has more than five generations of ancestors, an arrow appears to the right of ancestors in the last generation displayed. Clicking on a profile in the tree opens the profile panel where you can review more details about the individual and their immediate relatives such as siblings, spouses, and children.

In this initial release, Pedigree View is read-only; the ability to add, edit, and delete tree profiles from the Pedigree View will be added soon. Pedigree View doesn’t replace the current view, which is called Family View.
Additional information can be found at new-feature-pedigree-view-for-family-trees/.

AVOTAYNU Spring Issue Goes to Printer This Week
AVOTAYNU starts its 34th year of publication with its Spring 2018 issue which will go to the printer this week. The lead article is by me (RHIP) about the hidden powers of genealogical search engines. IAJGS past president Marlis Humphrey makes her contribution with “Hidden Gems of Jewish Genealogy.” It refers to lesser-known websites of value to Jewish family history research. Articles that may cause controversy and dialogue include Gerhard Buck’s “‘Protected Jews’, A Misleading Translation of Schutzjuden” and Yale Zussman’s “Involuntary Name Changes: The Real Story.” Zussman discusses the claim that no one had their name changed at Ellis Island.

All told there are 16 articles plus the usual columns: From Our Contributing Editors, U.S. Update, Ask the Experts, Ask Dr. Beider, Book Reviews and From Our Mailbox. The complete Table of Contents is at If you do not subscribe to AVOTAYNU, you can do so at

Mother’s Day Brings Discounts from DNA Testing Services
National DNA Day (April 25) with its DNA testing discounts is barely history when the DNA service companies are now looking forward to giving discounts for Mother’s Day.
   • Family Tree DNA $59 through May 14 at
   • MyHeritage $59 through May 14 at
   • 23andme $79.20 or buy 2 kits, get 1 free, through May 13 at
   • Ancestry DNA is back to $99 but check daily for a possible Mother’s Day offering at

UK “The Genealogy Show” to Replace “Who Do You Think You Are? Live”
Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter reports that an international group of genealogists has been working since the US-based RootsTech conference to have a UK version called “The Genealogy Show.”

Since the demise of “Who Do You Think You Are? Live” (WDYTYA) there has been a vacuum in the genealogy calendar of UK-based events with many attendees commenting on the loss of a “big” annual gathering. This two-day event will take place in 2019 at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, the same hall as was WDYTYA in previous years.

More information will be released on the website over the next month, though you can register interest as an exhibitor, speaker or sponsor on the website now at The Eastman announcement can be found at

Family Search Additions for the Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They are primarily minor updates to collections from Australia, Belgium, Hungary, Peru and Russia. A large number of Bavarian church record indexes are included.

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 Collections at
Ancestry has added/updated the following record groups at their site. Excluded are church records. 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
New York State, Death Index, 1957–1968
Victoria, Australia, Marriage Index, 1837–1950
Victoria, Australia, Death Index, 1836–1988

Updated Collections
Washington, Marriage Records, 1854–2013
Somerset, England, Gaol Registers, 1807–1879
Canada, Obituary Collection, 1898–2017
U.S., Obituary Collection, 1930–2018
U.S., Cemetery and Funeral Home Collection, 1847–2018
Australia and New Zealand, Obituary Index, 2004–2017
Poland, Łódź Ghetto Register Books, 1939–1944 (USHMM)
1920 United States Federal Census
New York, New York, Extracted Birth Index, 1878–1909
UK and Ireland, Obituary Index, 2004–2017
Caribbean, Obituary Index, 2003–2009

New Book! On Oldness: How to Successfullyl Navigate Old Age
Sallyann Amdur Sack, Avotaynu co-owner and a clinical psychologist, has written a wonderfully useful book, On Oldness: How to Successfully Navigate Old Age, based on first-hand experiences in growing older. Now an octogenarian, she offers a simple guide to effectively managing the challenges specific to old age. She argues that with attention and planning—plus a significant dose of health and good luck—old age can be a delightful, rewarding and pleasurable final stage of life. She challenges the assumption that the progress of life is one long, slow stage to oblivion. 

Cost is only $19.00 plus shipping. Additional information, including a complete Table of Contents can be found at books/On-Oldness.html.

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