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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 14, Number 10 | March 12, 2013

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
There was no edition of Nu? What’s New? this past Sunday, because there was not much new material during the past seven days. Here are the few interesting items.

FamilySearch Makes “Family Tree” Database Available to the Public
FamilySearch has made its “Family Tree” database available to the public. Previously only authorized Mormons had access. In looking at the content, it is a mystery to me why the information initially was available exclusively to members of the faith. The content appears to be nothing more than the content of previous databases. When searching for members of my family, the only results were from a family tree I submitted many years ago to Ancestral File, a Mormon Church database of family trees.

Family Tree is a Geni/MyHeritage-like environment in which users can start family trees and/or update incorrect information and add people to existing trees. It can be accessed from the FamilySearch home page by clicking the words “Family Tree” at the top of the page.

An Unusual Jewish Funeral
Last Thursday I went to an unusual Jewish funeral; unusual in that it occurred about 90 days after the person died. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington, D.C., which has about a 90-day backlog in requests for burials. With some limitations, any person who served in the U.S. military can be buried at this prestigious cemetery, regardless of rank.

What impressed me—other than the total ceremony which was complete with Army band, honor guard, etc.—was that the band played Jewish religious music in addition to military music. It included Ayn Keloheynu and Yigdal. I am sure there were others when the band was playing out of my earshot.

If you are unfamiliar with the ceremony, a Christian version can be seen at

FamilySearch Additions for the Week
Recent additions to FamilySearch, both indexes and browseable images, can be found at They include records from
Brazil, Indonesia, New Zealand, Peru and the U.S. States of Minnesota, New York and Ohio.

The largest portion of this update includes the 8,613,673 images added to the New York Probate Records from 1629 to 1971, increasing this collection’s images by 63 percent. Another notable collection updates are the 699,800 indexed records and images from the Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Immigration Cards from 1900 to 1965.

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 are the number added, not the total number available in the collection.

Avotaynu Renewal Deadline March 15
A final reminder that when you received your copy of the Winter issue of AVOTAYNU, if your subscription is about to expire, there was a yellow renewal form included with the issue. Select a one-, two- or three-year renewal by the March 15 deadline and participate in a contest whose prize is a copy of any book published by Avotaynu.

Avotaynu Anthology of Jewish Genealogy
 All back issues of our journal AVOTAYNU from 1985–2011

    • 27 years   • 105 issues   2,900 articles  • 7,000 pages 
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 Download or print articles

 Cost is $35 (one-time charge).

 Additional information at

Number of articles in Anthology by topic:

Algeria 8
Argentina 21
Australia 36
Austria 17
Austro-Hungary 7**
Belarus* 26
Belgium 24
Bermuda 1
Book Reviews 289
Brazil 25
Bulgaria 5
Burma 1
Canada 94
Caribbean 9
Cuba 3

China 10

Computers 21
Conferences 52
Costa Rica 1
Croatia 3
Cyprus 1
Czech Republic 33
Denmark 2
DNA 25
East Europe– Gen’l
Egypt 11
England 125
Estonia* 5
Europe-General 25
Finland 1

France 102
Galicia 20
General 233
Germany 173
Gibraltar 1
Greece 12
Holland 83
Holocaust 177
Hungary 46
India 6
Iraq 3
Iran 5
Ireland 2
Israel 125
Italy 14 
Latvia* 26

LDS 29
Libya 1
Lithuania* 71
Methodology 84
Moldova* 5
Morocco 18
New Zealand 13
North Africa 2
Poland 118
Portugal 21
Rabbinic 57
Romania 33
Russia 46** 
Scotland 27
Sephardic 42
Serbia 2

Slovakia 1
South Africa 22
South America 1
Spain 13
Sudan 1
Sweden 5
Switzerland 27
Syria 3
Tunisia 3
Turkey 22
Ukraine* 57
United States   227
USSR 92**
Venezuela 1
Zimbabwe 1

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