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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 19, Number 46 | November 25, 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 Thanksgiving!!

Avotaynu Joins Black Friday Madness– 40–74% Discount on Selected Books
Avotaynu is joining the Black Friday season madness by offering certain of our books at deep discounts. The sale will be available from Sunday, November 25, to Monday December 3. For lack of a better term, we are calling it a Black Friday sale.

In the early days of our publishing history, before the advent of Print-on-Demand technology, Avotaynu had to guess how many books had to be printed for the anticipated life of the book. It was better to estimated high than low, because if we ran out of stock, it was very expensive to have a second printing. The consequence is that we are overstocked on selected books, and we would like to get them out of the warehouse and into the hands of people who will find these books valuable.

All the books are reference works; therefore, they are as valid today as when they were first printed.

Order now. We are in short supply of some books, and when a book goes out of print, it will not be reprinted. Go to and purchase books shown on that page only. Important note: If you order from any other page, you will pay full price. The page includes a link to more detailed information about a specific book.

Subscribe to AVOTAYNU
If you do not subscribe to our journal AVOTAYNU, subscribe now and receive the Fall and Winter 2018 issues and all four 2019 issues for the price of a year’s subscription. Six issues for the price of four. Subscribe now at

Books on Black Friday sale:
Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy. Written by more than 60 authors, each an expert in his/her own field. It has more than 100 chapters on virtually every aspect of Jewish family history research. A must for any serious genealogist. $85.00 Now only $49.00, a 43% discount.

A Practical Guide to Jewish Cemeteries. A comprehensive guide to Jewish cemeteries and Jewish burial customs. How to read tombstones. Also identifies famous cemeteries and burial sites of famous Jews. $39.00 Now only $22.00, a 44% discount.

Every Family Has a Story. Human interest stories published in AVOTAYNU in the past 20 years—72 in all—about how genealogy affected people's lives. $37.00 Now only $22.00, a 40% discount.

Dictionary of Ashkenazic Given Names. This magnum opus describes origin and evolution of 15,000 given names. The 100-page introduction was Dr. Alexander Beider’s doctoral thesis at the Sorbonne. $85.00 Now only $49.00, a 43% discount.

Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Galicia. Identifies 35,000 surnames from Galicia. The introductory section describes how Jews from the region acquired hereditary surnames and dispels many myths including derogatory surnames. $85.00 Now only $49.00, a 43% discount.

A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Russian Empire: Revised Edition. Comprehensive collection of Jewish surnames from Czarist Russia—74,000 in total. Its 200-page introductory discusses the origin and evolution of Jewish surnames in Eastern Europe. Two vols. $118.00 Now only $59.00, a 50% discount.

Jewish Personal Names. Roots of more than 1,200 Jewish given names showing Yiddish/Hebrew variants with English transliteration. $15.00 Now only $9.00, a 40% discount.

A Dictionary of German-Jewish Surnames. More than 13,000 surnames from pre-World War I Germany. $89.00 Now only $49.00, a 45% discount.

Russian-Jewish Given Names: Their Origins and Variants. Comprehensive collection of Jewish given names from czarist Russia. $35.00 Now only 19.00, a 46% discount.

Where Once We Walked: Revised Edition. Award-winning gazetteer of Central and Eastern Europe. Mostly replaced by JewishGen’s Communities Database, but still has value in providing Jewish population before the Holocaust and cites as many as 50 books that reference the town. Also advantages of a book vs. computer screen. $85.00 Now only $35.00, a 59% discount.

Biographical Dictionary of Canadian Jewry: 1909–1914. Births, bar mitzvahs, marriages, deaths and other records of Canadian Jewry. $35.00. Now only $15.00, a $58% discount.

Library Resources for German-Jewish Genealogy. Concise directory of library sources in Germany and the Internet. $20.00 Now only $9.00, a 55% discount.

Jewish Vital Records, Revision Lists in the Lithuanian Archives. Inventory of Jewish records in the Lithuanian State Archives. $35.00 Now only 9.00, a 74% discount.

Eliyahu's Branches. More than 20,000 descendants of the Vilna Gaon with analysis of the early descendants of this great scholar. $69.50 Now only $35.00, a 49% discount.

DNA Testing Price War Continues
Prices for the autosomal DNA test continue to decline as Family Tree DNA lowers the cost to $39.00 plus $9.95 shipping if in the U.S. and postage prepaid if returning the test kit within the U.S. The offer ends Monday, November 26.

Order the kit at

Improving Quality of Photos
Photographs are an important part of documenting a family’s history. Often, we are faced with low quality, blurry images. Addressing this problem is an article by Family History Daily titled, “The 3 Free Scanning Apps That Helped Reveal Long Hidden Details in This Old Photo.” The article notes that, “By allowing a photo scanning app to auto-adjust the exposure and clarity of the original, as well as by using the zoom feature with one app, I was able to transform the photo for easier viewing.”

The three apps discussed are:
   • TurboScan by Piksoft
   • PhotoScan by Google
   • Office Lens by Microsoft
Given are the pros and cons of each application. The article can be found at

DNA Basics Chapter 10: How DNA Testing Can Help You Find New Relatives
MyHeritage has published its tenth essay on DNA Basics titled “How DNA Testing Can Help You Find New Relatives.” It discusses the company’s DNA matching service.

When you take a MyHeritage DNA test or upload your DNA to MyHeritage, it will be matched against other persons already in the program. For every DNA Match, you will be able to see the estimated relationship between you and the other person, based on the quantity and characteristics of the DNA that you share with that person. If your match has a family tree, you will also be able to view it and have more insight into how the two of you are related.

The complete essay can be found at

Report Discusses Status of Jewish Cemeteries in Ukraine
Jewish Heritage Europe reports that the Vaad Association of Jewish Communities of Ukraine has produced a report on “Jewish Cemeteries of Ukraine: Preliminary Results of Studies for 2016–2018.” It summarizes the size and status of dozens of Jewish cemeteries and mass graves in Ukraine. The size and number of tombstones were determined, along with the dates of the burials and transcription of the epitaphs. The data for most sites is or will be entered into an electronic database and available to the public.
Read the Jewish Heritage Europe report at report-on-jewish-cemeteries-in-ukraine/.

UK National Archives Has Available 56 Guides to Its First World War Collections
The UK National Archives has a website that identifies 56 guides to its First World War collections. It is located at Examples of collections are:
   • British Army soldiers of the First World War
   • Deaths in the First and Second World Wars
   • Merchant seamen serving 1858–1917

FamilySearch Additions for the Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch can be found at It is a minor update other than 79.5 million indexed Lutheran records from Germany and 900,000 index records for the 1901 census of Ireland. Other small additions are to record groups from Benin, Costa Rica, Portugal, South Africa, and the United States (Michigan, Georgia, and Montana). This site provides direct links to the individual collections.

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.

Subscribe now at

Nu? What's New? is published weekly by Avotaynu, Inc.
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