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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 19, Number 39 | October 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.

New Article: “Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy”
Philip Trauring, author of the blog “Blood and Frogs” has written an article “Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy.” The book is divided into nine sections:
   • What Do You Already Know?
   • Up, Down and Sideways
   • The Importance of Documents
   • Organizing Your Research
   • Finding Family
   • Online Family Trees
   • Working on Your Computer
   • Getting Help
   • Conclusion

Avotaynu publishes a printed book with the same title, “Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy.” The Trauring work is not competitive with the Avotaynu book, but, instead, provides the reader with a different approach to getting started. (See the Avotaynu work’s Table of Contents at The Trauring work is approximately 6,000 words; the Avotaynu work is approximately 27,000. Novice genealogists will find value in both books.

The articlew can be found at getting-started-in-jewish-genealogy.html.

Trauring is also the author of “Compendium of Jewish Genealogy,” a massive online encyclopedia of thousands of resources for doing Jewish genealogical research. He is president of the Israel Genealogy Research Association.

Free Access to Through October 8
In honor of Canadian Thanksgiving Day, October 8, is allowing free access to their immigration records through October 8. Records can be accessed at It appears that surname-only searches are not possible. Both given name and surname are required.

New eBook, Back to Shul, Documents Lithuanian Synagogues
Jewish Heritage Europe reports that the International Center for Litvak Photography has just published an ebook, Back to Shul, which is a text and photo essay that chronicles a 12-day journey by the Center’s director documenting synagogue buildings in Lithuania.

The text, written as a sort of diary, can be downloaded as a free PDF or read online. The fully captioned photos can be viewed online. There is also a list of the circa 100 known synagogue buildings in Lithuania, with their location and current status.

The book can be found at The Jewish Heritage Europe announcement is at

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
Nienburg, Germany, Births, 1874–1905
Nienburg, Germany, Deaths, 1874–1974

Updated Collections
UK, Historical Photographs and Prints, 1704–1989
Beaver County, Pennsylvania, Tax Records, 1832–1925
Surrey, England, Electoral Registers, 1832–1962
England & Scotland, Select Cemetery Registers, 1800–2016
UK, Mechanical Engineer Records, 1847–1938
Sweden, Indexed Birth Records, 1859–1946
New Jersey, Marriage Index, 1901–2016
Mainz, Germany, Marriages, 1876–1920
England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916–2005

JewishGen Offering Course on Belarussian Research
JewishGen will offer a “Research in Belarus” class from October 26–November 16. This three-week course will cover the modern boundaries of Belarus including parts of what was once Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

The class includes downloadable lessons to help with surnames and given names, types of records, how to use secondary sources, how to write up your research and communicate with others.

This is a personal mentoring program where students work one-on-one with the instructor. Students should have 8–10 hours per week to read the lessons, search online and interact with the instructor. To meet the needs of international students this course is open 24/7.

Choose your guberniya and district by checking the Jewish Communities Database or Shtetls of Belarus from the Belarus SIG website.

Tuition is $125. Enrollment is limited. Additional information and registration are at

Now You Can Have Your Dog’s DNA Tested
Do you have a dog of mixed breed and do not understand what is the mixture? Perhaps you suspect or want to confirm your dog is pure bred. HomeDNA is now offering a DNA test for dogs called “Mixed-Breed Dog Identification DNA Test and Life Plan.” Information about how to get your dog tested can be found at you-may-have-it-wrong-homedna.

The Name “Mormon Tabernacle Choir” Is No More
Last August, we reported that the Mormon Church declared they no longer will use the word “Mormon” to describe their Church. Instead it will be referred to by its full name “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” “Church of Jesus Christ,” or just the “Church.” Even the term “LDS Church” will be abandoned. Now the venerable Mormon Tabernacle Choir has had its name changed. Hereafter, it will be called “The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.” Information about the name change can be found at

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.

Subscribe now at

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