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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 19, Number 43 | November 4, 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.

State of Maine Creates “Digital Maine Library” with At-Home Access to State Residents
(Hopefully what is described below represents a trend rather than a unique circumstance.—Ed.)

Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter
notes that the state of Maine library system has created a “Digital Maine Library.” The site allows any Maine resident to access from their home computers thousands of magazines, newspapers, reference sources and learning materials. In addition, MyHeritage and Ancestry websites are accessible at no charge from any library in the state. The system can determine that you are accessing within the state through geo-authenticating software.

Newspaper content is among the most popular collections on the site. This includes a database of newspaper articles from five of Maine’s daily newspapers as well as access to subscription content from the New York Times, Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal and hundreds of other newspapers and magazines from around the world.

Additional information is at digital-maine-library/. A news announcement of the system is at

MyHeritage Publishes “DNA Basics Chapter 9: Explaining Ethnic Regions”
MyHeritage has published its ninth chapter on “DNA Basics.” It is titled “Explaining Ethnic Regions.” The chapter describes how MyHeritage analyzes your ancestral roots to provide a percentage-based ethnicity breakdown, which includes 42 ethnicities from around the world. They note that, “This includes Japanese, Irish, Italian, five Jewish ethnicities — Ashkenazi, Sephardic, Mizrachi, Ethiopian, and Yemenite — a level of resolution offered by no other DNA company, and many others.”

It notes that ethnic groups historically come from the same geographic regions because previously people didn’t move around as much as they do today. Sometimes endogamous DNA inheritance wasn’t necessarily geographic — it may have been cultural. For example, most Jews (Ashkenazi, Sephardic or Mizrahi) or Mennonite Christians married and had children within their own groups for generation after generation, creating a correlation between certain DNA sequences and particular cultural identities. This was independent of where they moved.

The complete article can be found at

DNA Tests Now Available In Stores – Latest Prices
The next time you go into a CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens or Walmart store (U.S. only), you may find they are selling DNA testing kits. HomeDNA, the company that offers DNA testing for yourself, your dog or your cat, are selling their kits at these retail stores according to their website at User reviews at their site tend to be negative, but in fairness to the company, the majority of the complaints seem to be that the customer did not understand what they were buying.

Current Prices of DNA Tests At Their Lowest
Ah, capitalism at its best. Competition is driving prices down.
23andMe $49 when you buy 2 or more
Ancestry. $59. Offer ends November 21
Family Tree DNA. $79 (Check their site for offers announced after the publication of this ezine.)
MyHeritage. $49, Offer ends November 12

Free Access to Ancestry Military Records Through November 12
In recognition of Veterans Day in the U.S., Ancestry is providing free access through November 12 to their military records, some 250 million in all. The collection includes draft cards, service records and prisoner and casualty lists.

To access for free, visit This link requires that you provide a given name as well as a surname. To do a surname-only search, go to the Ancestry home page at and do a surname-only search. The results will provide all given names.

It appears that Ancestry has redesigned its home page for non-subscribers. The steps required for a surname-only search are: go to the Ancestry home page and scroll down to “Ancestry helps you understand your genealogy.” Click the “Learn more” button. On the next page, click the drop-down menu “Search” in the upper left part of the screen and select “Military.” On the next page, enter the surname only, check off the box “Exact” and then click search. At some point in this process you will be asked to log in or register.

1926 Census of Canadian Prairie Provinces to Be Indexed
Statistics Canada has transferred to Library and Archives Canada the 1926 census of Prairie Provinces (Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta). FamilySearch is indexing the entries and expects to complete the job about December 1. Library and Archives Canada will then start building the database which will consist of a searchable index as well as the digitized images from the census. They expect to have an online database by March 2019.

The complete announcement is at 2018/1926-Census-announcement.aspx/.

Updates to British/Irish Databases
TheGenealogist has released more than four million passenger list records from the 1950s. These are records of passengers who left the UK by ship to various destinations around the world. Access is by subscription. It can be found at

British Newspaper Archive has added 340,000 pages of historic newspapers to their collection. This brings their total collection to more than 28 million pages. Access to the British Newspaper Archive is by subscription. It can be found at

The Irish Genealogical Research Society has added 14,000 names to their early Irish birth, marriage and death indexes. This brings the total for the three indexes to 274,000. The marriage index can be searched at no charge. Additional information is at

FamilySearch Adds Additional Records This Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, about 150,000 entries to their index, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Germany, Chile, Italy, and the United States (Texas, West Virginia, and Western States Marriage Index). Although this is a small amount of additions, it might include a record of value to you.

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.

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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