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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 19, Number 35 | September 9, 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.

Shanah Tovah (Happy New Year)
Happy (Jewish) New Year to all!! May you be inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life for a good year.

“Privacy Best Practices for Consumer Genetic Testing Services”
The Future of Privacy Forum has created a position on “Privacy Best Practices for Consumer Genetic Testing Services.” The Best Practices provide a policy framework for the collection, protection, sharing, and use of genetic data generated by consumer genetic testing services. All major DNA testing companies have subscribed to the position including 23andMe, Ancestry, Family Tree DNA and MyHeritage.

The announcement notes, “Today, more consumer genetic testing services are available than ever before, prices for testing are becoming increasingly affordable, and the speed at which testing is completed is accelerating. As the industry continues to expand and the technology becomes more accessible, it is vital that the industry acknowledge and address the risks posed to individual privacy when Genetic Data is generated in the consumer context.”

The complete announcement can be found at The actual position paper is at

MyHeritage Enters the Retail Store Marketplace
MyHeritage has entered into a partnership with retailer WHSmith that will allow consumers to purchase MyHeritage DNA kits in WHSmith’s retail stores in Europe. Under the new partnership WHSmith will distribute a unique product named “MyHeritage Family History Discovery Kit,” which bundles MyHeritage’s DNA test with 3 months of access to MyHeritage’s Complete Plan. The Complete Plan includes all family tree features and historical records on MyHeritage, integrated with the DNA test results. The price in the UK is £89.

The announcement refers to stores in Europe, but WHSmith has more than 1400 stores in 27 countries. The success of the partnership might cause expansion of the offer to other countries.

Additional information can be found at

Reclaim The Records Acquiring Geographical New York City Birth Index
Reclaim The Records plans to place online a Geographical New York City Birth Index. This index will be sorted by street address on birth certificates. It can be useful when searching the index by name does not prove successful. The range of years is approximately 1885–1912. These images should be online for free public use by the end of 2018 or early 2019.The complete announcement can be found at

FindMyPast Offering Free Access Through September 7
FindMypast is offering free access to their more than 2.7 billion records until Monday, September 7. The collection is particularly heavy in British and Irish records but also includes records from Australia, New Zealand, United States and other countries. Records range from censuses and parish registers to passenger lists and military service records. Access is at

JewishGen Again Presents Independent Study Program
JewishGen will again offer its Independent Study Program from September 21 to October 12. Participants in the program will work one-on-one with a mentor on one of the student’s research problems. The mentor will analyze the data and help set goals and objectives for solutions and success. JewishGen states that Independent Study is a way to get a helping hand and help set goals and objectives for solutions and success. Tuition is $125.

Additional information as well as registration is at

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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