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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 19, Number 22 | June 3, 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.

Now That EU's General Data Protection Regulation Is in Effect
Interest Turns to the Proposed EU ePrivacy Regulation
Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee, reports now that the European Union (EU) General Data Protection Regulation is in effect, interest has turned to the proposed EU ePrivacy Regulation. This regulation protects confidentiality of electronic communications. If it is enacted as currently drafted, companies such as Skype, WhatsApp, iMessage, video games and other electronic services with player messaging and services with private interactions will require explicit permission before placing tracking codes on users’ devices for collecting information.

The bill also requires companies to offer people the same communications services whether or not they agree to have their data collected. The companies contend being required to provide equal communications services to people who opt out of data mining, could cause sites or apps that rely on data-driven advertising to start charging fees or close down.
Additional information can be found at

To read regularly the IAJGS Records Access Alert postings, register at 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 to which you must reply or the subscription will not be finalized.

GDPR Already Being Mocked
The potentially broad interpretation of the General Data Protection Regulation of the European Union is already being mocked by some individuals. One example is a person who stated that a group of five- and six-year-old girls were arrested for singing “Happy Birthday” to a friend without getting approval of the birthday child to use her name in public. You can read the tongue-in-cheek comment at

Swedish Court Says “Right to Be Forgotten” is Not Global
Jan Meisels Allen reports that that a Swedish court found in favor of Google saying the “right to be forgotten from the internet should not apply to complaints made about search engines results found outside Sweden.” Sweden is a member of the European Union.

The Swedish Data Inspection Agency concluded that results should be removed anywhere in the world not just in Sweden to protect an individual’s privacy. The administrative court disagreed. The Agency is appealing the ruling to the Court of Appeal.

Additional information can be found at

Suddenly it Is “Be Unkind to Ancestry” Week
Public concern about the potential abuse of DNA samples and speculation about where Ancestry LLC is heading has generated a number of opinion columns on the internet this past week. Typical of the articles are:
   • Ancestry wants your spit, your DNA and your trust. Should you give them all three? 
   • Can take ownership of your DNA data?
   • Ancestry has a history of backtracking on promises to customers
   • Is Ancestry LLC the Devil? Or just his little brother?

Ancestry now claims they have 7 million samples of DNA. You can read AncestryDNA’s privacy statement at

How to Maintain Your Own Personal Archive
Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter cites an article that appeared in the Princeton Alumni Weekly that provides a checkoff list of considerations for archiving your family history records. They include:
   • Create meaningful file names
   • Migrate older file formats
   • Capture a copy of your website or blog
   • Store at least one backup copy of your files separate from your active files
   • Don’t use social-media sites as your primary photo archives
   • Move your files off old, password-protected hard drives

For a more detailed explanation of the points above, read the article at

Book “Lithuanian Jewish Communities” Now Available on Internet
One of the pioneering works of Jewish genealogy was Nancy and Stuart Schoenberg's “Lithuanian Jewish Communities.” Published in 1991, the book begins with a 41-page description of the history of the Jewish presence in Lithuania. Most of the book is devoted to describing each major Jewish community that existed in Lithuania before World War II. Included for each community is when it was founded, the Jewish population in different years, shops and synagogues, and the names of citizens. An appendix locates each town on a map of Lithuania.

It is now available on the internet at no charge at Click the left image to advance through the pages of the book.

New Updated Collections at
Ancestry has 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.

Find A Grave Index
Australia and New Zealand, Obituary Index, 2004–2018
Canada, Obituary Collection, 1898–2018
Caribbean, Obituary Index, 2003–2011
England, Somerset, Church of England, Various Collections
England, Somerset, Marriage Registers, Bonds and Allegations, 1754–1914
England, West Yorkshire, Church of England, Various Collections
U.S., Cemetery and Funeral Home Collection, 1847–2018
UK and Ireland, Obituary Index, 2004–2018
Virginia, Birth Records, 1912–2014, Delayed Birth Records, 1854–1911

Do You Subcribe to AVOTAYNU?
Each year AVOTAYNU publishes more than 300 pages of useful, interesting information about Jewish family history research that can help you in your research. Now in its 33rd year, an index to the first 24 volumes is available to all the major articles.

Published quarterly, our contributing editors from 15 countries throughout the world regularly gather important information that appears in our issues. Our publishers, Gary Mokotoff and Sallyann Amdur Sack, are on a first name basis with officials at institutions containing genealogical data throughout the world. 
Some institutions are U.S. National Archives, U.S. Library of Congress, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Leo Baeck Institute,  Yad Vashem and  Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People.

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