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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 19, Number 19 | May 13, 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.

Happy Mother's Day!

23andme Sues Ancestry for False Advertising and Patent Infringement
DNA testing company 23andMe has filed a lawsuit in California federal court against The suit seeks to invalidate the “Ancestry” trademark and claims the company sells a DNA-based ancestry test that infringes on 23andMe’s patent. It also accuses Ancestry of false advertising.

23andMe claims that has been misleading customers by running a “perpetual sale” and by falsely claiming in ads that it tests five times more regions than its rivals. Furthermore, the suit claims the Ancestry trademark is invalid because the term is generic.

The complete article may be found at To read the article, you must register on the site and provide your name and email address. However, registration is free.

(Originally reported on Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter.)

Visiting an Ancestral Town This Year? Consider Photographing Tombstones
If you are planning a visit to your ancestral town this year and will also be visiting the local cemetery, consider taking photos of the remaining headstones for submission to JewishGen's JOWBR database. As you know, JewishGen's goal is to preserve genealogical information for future generations, and virtually preserving headstones, especially if they include Hebrew patronymic names, is incredibly valuable to researchers.

JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) now has more than three million names and other identifying information from cemeteries and burial records worldwide. You can search in at

This request from Nolan Altman, manager of the JOWBR, database reminds me of an incident that occurred several years ago. We were attending a celebration in my wife’s family and I was chatting with her uncle. “Uncle Abe,” I said, “Are you aware that R. L. is documenting the history of the Auerbach family?” Uncle Abe acknowledged that he knew of her work but added, “She is a bit meshugah (crazy).” “Why do you think she is meshugah?” I asked. “Because she takes pictures of tombstones,” was his reply.

Be a bit meshugah. Add to the JOWBR collection.

My Heritage Adds Yet Another Function: Health Family Tree
MyHeritage has added yet another feature which it calls “a new layer of family history experience.” Called Health Family Tree, it is intended to help users document the health conditions of close family members, both living and deceased, in one convenient place. You can then share this information as a printout.

Health Family Tree is a free feature, currently in beta mode, and initially available to all MyHeritage users who have taken a MyHeritage DNA test or uploaded DNA data to MyHeritage, and who manage a family tree with at least 7 people in it. It will be made available later to more users.

Additional information is available at introducing-the-health-family-tree/.

Winners of AVOTAYNU Subscription Renewal Contest
Each year Avotaynu offers people who are resubscribing to our journal AVOTAYNU the opportunity to enter a contest to win a book of choice published by Avotaynu. Winners of the drawing this year (and the free book they chose} are Carol Galetz of New Rochelle, New York (A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Russian Empire: Revised Edition); Dale Amdur of Chicago, Illinois (choice not selected); and Jeanette Rosenberg of Edgware, Middlesex, England (Genealogical Gazetteer of the Kingdom of Hungary).

WDYTYA-UK Announces Celebrities to Appear on Show
The UK television show Who Do You Think You Are has announced the celebrities that will appear in the new season on BBC One. The series will start with a standalone episode in early June starring “Our Girl” star, Michelle Keegan. Others whose ancestry will be traced include actor Olivia Colman; musician, DJ, fashion designer and British icon Boy George; “Strictly Come Dancing”’s head judge, Shirley Ballas; comedian and “Not Going Out” actor, Lee Mack; presenter and former JLS member, Marvin Humes; barrister and television personality, Robert ‘Judge’ Rinder, and gold medal winning Paralympian, Jonnie Peacock.

Additional information can be found at 2018/who-do-you-think-you-are.

Second UK Genealogy Family History Show to Occur in 2019

Last week’s edition on Nu? What’s New? noted plans for The Genealogy Show to be held at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, England, the same hall as was the now defunct Who Do You Think You Are-Live! in previous years. Now a second genealogy show called Family Tree Live will take place on April 26–27 2019 at London’s Alexandra Palace.

This conference is being sponsored by “Family Tree” and the Federation of Family History Societies. There will be lectures, hands-on workshops, a DNA hub, advice stations and vendor exhibits. Additional information can be found at

NEHGS Presenting a Webinar on Boston HIAS
New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) is giving a free webinar on “Using the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society Collection at the Jewish Heritage Center” on May 24 from 3:00– 4:00pm Eastern Time.

Between the late 19th century and late 1970s, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), Boston office played a key role in helping Jewish immigrants settle in the United States. The webinar will discuss the history of the organization, how to use the online finding aid and digital archive to locate records, and how the stories behind the names add to our historical narrative.

Additional information, including how to register, can be found at

Library Archives Canada Provides Detailed Description of 1921 Census
Library Archives Canada has provided a detailed description of the 1921 census. It is located at Subjects are background of the census, about the database, column headings and interpretation, common abbreviations, issues about this census and this database, research tips, other resources and how to obtain copies.

New FamilySearch Records This Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch 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 BillionGraves Index, Brazil, Cape Verde(†), Denmark, Germany(†), Guatemala, Panama(†), Peru, Portugal(†) and Slovakia.

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. 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
Menden (Sauerland), Germany, Births, 1874–1906
Menden (Sauerland), Germany, Marriages, 1874–1935
Menden (Sauerland), Germany, Deaths, 1874–1986
1939 England and Wales Register

Updated Collections
Biography & Genealogy Master Index (BGMI)
Canadian Headstone Index, 1840–2017
New South Wales, Australia, St Peters Cooks River Select Births, Marriages and Burials, 1839–1963
Northern Ireland, Will Calendar Index, 1858–1965
Saskatchewan, Death Index, 1889–1916
Somerset, England, Marriage Registers, Bonds and Allegations, 1754–1914
UK, Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878–1960

A Summary: Right to Know vs. Right to Be Forgotten
Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee, has written a summary of the controversy between Right to Know and Right to Be Forgotten at her “Record Access Alerts” website. It is shown in its entirety below.

The effective date of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is literally a few days away—May 25, 2018. The GDPR codifies the right to be forgotten which in the EU became effective with a Court of Justice of the EU decision in May 2014. To some of us, the right to be forgotten, while tempting to “erase” some postings or actions that we might wish to forget, is in fact erasing history. For those in the United States, we enjoy the First Amendment freedoms of press and speech/expression, and it is questionable if the right to be forgotten would be upheld in a U.S. court of law, despite a bill in New York State, and other actions.

An opinion piece in the New York Times, by Floyd Abrams, a First Amendment lawyer is of interest and may be read at: google-right-to-be-forgotten-first-amendment.html. Many of the items discussed by Mr. Abrams have been previously posted on the IAJGS Records Access Alert. The May 2014 European Court decision establishing the right to be forgotten; the proposed legislation in New York State Assembly; the recent decision in the UK against Google requiring them to remove links to a convicted felon; extraterritoriality by France against Google for not removing links from servers outside of the EU, etc.

To read the previous IAJGS Records Access Alert postings about the European Union’s GDPR, right to be forgotten, May 2014 Court case establishing the right to be forgotten, New York State Assembly bill, privacy issues and more go to: records-access-alerts/. You must be registered to access the archives. To register go to and follow the instructions to enter your email address, full name and which genealogical organization with whom you are affiliated. You will receive an email response that you have to reply to or the subscription will not be finalized.

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

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