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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 16, Number 4 | January 25, 2015

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
Genetic Genealogy Standards Finalized
Last May, a committee of genetic genealogists, scientists and traditional genealogists had proposed a set of standards for genetic genealogy. The document is intended to provide ethical and usage standards for the genealogical community to follow when purchasing, recommending, sharing or writing about the results of DNA testing for ancestry. Based on feedback from the public, this committee has created a final draft of Genetic Genealogy Standards. This draft can be read at Principal sections of the report include:
  •  Standards for Obtaining, Using, and Sharing Genetic Genealogy Test Results
 Standards for the Interpretation of Genetic Genealogy Test Results

Jewish Museum of the American West: An Online Virtual Museum
A posting to the Early American Discussion Group of JewishGen notes that there is a new virtual museum, the Jewish Museum of the American West, located at It was created by the Western States Jewish History Association. The museum consists of “Exhibition Halls,” one for each state west of the Mississippi River; the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Yukon Territory, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba; and the Mexican states of Baja, Sonora, Chihuahua and Coahuila.

Much of the current material comes from articles in the Association’s journal, Western States Jewish History Journal, which has been published since 1968. The bulk of the photographs during the early stages of the museum will come from the archives of the association.

People are encouraged to make submissions to the site. Rules and how to submit can be found at

New Book: Jewish Surnames from Bulgaria
With a degree of sadness, we announce the posthumous publication of Jewish Surnames from Bulgaria. Its author, Mathilde Tagger died about a month ago.

The Jewish presence in Bulgaria is the result of waves of migration to Bulgaria from Bavaria, France, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Russia and Ukraine and their surnames reflect this fact. The book identifies 882 surnames used by Jews in Bulgaria. Each surname entry identifies its original language, a full reference for biblical, Talmudic or Mishnaic names, and a full meaning and reference to a medieval Spanish source when appropriate. A brief overview of Bulgarian Jewish history explains the origin and meaning of these names.

The book is 104 pages and is published both in English and Hebrew. The cost is $20 plus shipping.

For additional information, including how to order the book, go to At the site is a sample entry and the Table of Contents.

Additions to FamilySearch
FamilySearch has not posted an official list of additions to their collection for nearly a month. I spoke to an official at FamilySearch and he will discuss the matter with the person in charge of the new postings. Meanwhile, I browsed the full collection for recent additions that might be of value to persons tracing their Jewish family history. They include:
   Boston, Passenger Lists, 1848–1891, 1,115,730 index records
   Colorado, Naturalization Records, 1876
1990, images only
   New York, Records of the State National Guard, 1906
1954, 724,527 index records

Hopefully a link to the full list of additions can be provided in next week’s addition of Nu? What’s New?.

Drone View of Bialystok Jewish Cemetery
Photographers Ania and Jakob Gornicki have used a drone to create videos of a number of sites in Poland, including the main cemetery in Bialystok. It can be viewed at I had trouble viewing the video in Internet Explorer, possibly due to some improper setting on my computer. I was able to watch it using Firefox but had to frequently double-click the stop button (it looks like a “00”) to advance the viewing. The video shows the cemetery is well maintained although a great number of tombstones have fallen over. To watch drone views of other sites in Poland, click the Next arrow.

Tomasz Wisniewski of Bialystok also has a brief video of the cemetery at His site has additional photographs of Polish Jewry.

Webinar on World Family Reunion
An article in the January 11 issue of "Nu? What’s New?” announced plans for a Global Family Reunion that will take place on June 6 in the New York Hall of Science which is on the grounds of the 1964 World’s Fair. Now, a webinar is planned where the creator of the reunion, A.J. Jacobs, will talk about his mission to break the Guinness World Record for the world's largest family reunion. He will discuss his family history discoveries and his quest to see how everyone is related. You can register for the webinar at

Oral Testimonies of Holocaust Survivors Online
The British Library has placed online a collection of 289 audio interviews with Holocaust survivors. It is located at Each testimony is heavily abstracted and the abstract often includes names of persons mentioned by the interviewee. Searching by town name may also yield results. The project is described at

The Shoah Foundation, located at, has 52,000 interviews. They have a somewhat similar extraction that can include names of spouses (inferring number of times married), parents, siblings, children, etc. Place names often are identified.

Yad Vashem News
In commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27, Yad Vashem has created on its Facebook page an “IRemember Wall” that allows people across the globe to engage in online commemorative activity of Holocaust victims. Each participant will be randomly linked to a name of one of the over 4.3 million men, women and children currently documented in the Names Database. To participate, go to

Yad Vashem reports that in 2014, the Shoah Victims' Names Recovery Project has recovered some 103,000 names. Of these, more than 21,000 were commemorated on Pages of Testimonies and added to the Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names. Access to the database is from the institution’s home page at

MyHeritage Partners with 23andMe DNA Service
MyHeritage has announced a partnership with the 23andMe DNA service. The partnership will make 23andMe customers aware of the existence of MyHeritage and make MyHeritage users aware of 23andMe’s existence.

MyHeritage states it has made an offer to 23andMe customers to build a tree with unlimited nodes for six months at no charge. After the six month period, subscribers can continue with free access as long as your tree has fewer than 250 nodes. 23andMe will abandon its own version of family trees on May 1. They are providing a mechanism for transferring trees to the MyHeritage site.

The principal benefit to MyHeritage users appears to be the large pool of DNA data at 23andMe which claims it has 750,000+ customers.

23andMe customers can find the MyHeritage offer at See the MyHeritage version of the announcement at

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 
 Google Custom Search engine
 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.
Copyright 2015, Avotaynu, Inc. All rights reserved

To change an e-mail address, send a request to

To subscribe to AVOTAYNU, The International Review of Jewish Genealogy, go to

To order books from our catalog, go to

To contact us by postal mail, write: Avotaynu, Inc.; 794 Edgewood Ave.; New Haven, CT 06515

Telephone  (U.S.) : 475-202-6575