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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 17, Number 24 | June 20, 2016

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.

Do You Use Google Alerts?
Do you use Google Alerts? It is a service provided by Google where you state keywords of interest to you, and Google sends you an e-mail periodically identifying matches with your keywords. I use it for the surnames I am researching, that fortunately are unusual, and for my ancestral towns. Successes are rare for me, but it is still worth the minute or so to check out the links. Some successes are new articles about living relatives.

A common false positive for me is caused by the fact that the original Polish spelling of my surname is Mokotow, which is also the name of the southern district of Warsaw. I once received Google Alerts every time there was a new apartment for rent in the Mokotow district. This was eliminated changing my search criteria to “Mokotow –[minus]apartment.” The feature can be found at

The Google Alert feature is identified in a recent posting to the FamilySearch blog titled 3 Tips for Using Google for Genealogy. The article can be found at

List of American Jewish Newspapers Online
The online site TheAncestorHunt has a page that provides links to historic Jewish-American newspapers available online, many at no charge. It is located at The site also identifies a number of other resources for Jewish news such as the Jewish Telegraphic Agency Archives at and a Wikipedia site that provides Wiki links to 51 Jewish newspapers published in the United States.

My Heritage Adds Sun Charts to System
MyHeritage has released a new type of chart in their system called “Sun Chart.” It is available for no charge to MyHeritage users. In a Sun Chart, the name of the main ancestor (selected by the user) is in the center of the chart, with multiple generations of descendants in outer concentric rings, somewhat similar to the rays emanating from the sun. It can be classified as a descendant Fan Chart, but it is not limited in the number of generations and is unique in that it also includes photos, making it the only descendant fan chart that includes photos, according to MyHeritage.

The chart is similar in appearance to Fan Charts that exist in some genealogical software systems. With Fan Charts, an individual is placed at the center and his ancestors fan out from the center.

MyHeritage notes that a Sun Chart is ideal for family reunions and other festive family events. A regular descendants chart, typically horizontal or vertical, can become enormous, too large and unwieldy to be practical for events or for hanging on the wall. Descendant fan charts are a popular choice but are limited in the number of generations and do not include personal photos.

Additional information is at

MapMe Can Create a Historical Map of Your Family
Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter notes that the MapMe website can create an interactive map of the towns where your ancestors/relatives lived and even show migration paths. The service is free of charge. There is a Map Creation Wizard to assist in creating a map. I personally found the site difficult to use because of the lack of instructions. Readers can draw their own conclusions. The site is at

Enumeration District Maps for US 1950 Census are Going Online
Public access to the U.S. 1950 census is still six years away, but Eastman’s Genealogy Newsletter notes that the National Archives and Records Administration is now placing online about 8,000 Enumeration District maps. They include all county maps and any map that includes five or more enumeration districts. Read about the project at

Searchable Indexes to All Sir Martin Gilbert’s Books Now Online
The late historian, Sir Martin Gilbert, was a prolific writer—88 books—on works primarily about Winston Churchill, the 20th century and Jewish history. Now the index portion of many of these books can be downloaded and searched at To search for a particular name or place, each book’s index must be searched individually. A successful search will show on what page or pages the entry can be found in the book. A link to the book will help the researcher to find more information on the book.

Have You Registered to Receive Notices from Avotaynu Online?

Have you subscribed to Avotaynu’s latest venture: Avotaynu Online? We have created a special sign-on site at By registering, you will receive a weekly notice of items added to the site.

By virtue of its focus on the in-depth reporting of specific subjects, Avotaynu Online will be entirely distinct from the existing print journal, AVOTAYNU, which for over three decades has covered the broad spectrum of Jewish family history research, and from the weekly Nu? What’s New?, which reports breaking stories in the world of genealogy.

 Avotaynu Online is free of charge. 

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