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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 17, Number 27 | July 10, 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.

RPAC Concerned Access to State and Local Records Will Decline
With access to many state and local government records threatened by decreasing budgets, the Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC) announced today its support of the Joint Statement by the Council of State Archivists, the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators, and the Society of American Archivists, which affirms that the “preservation of and public access to government records is of paramount importance” and “government archives play a critical role in ensuring citizens’ rights and preserving the nation’s history.”

The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies is one of the three sponsors of RPAC.

RPAC and its many participating organizations represent several thousand local, state, and regional genealogical societies, including more than 400,000 members researching family history and more than 2,000 professional and forensic genealogists. They are among the “more than 80 million professional and amateur genealogists around the world,” according to a 2013 report in the Voice of America in a market research study conducted by Global Industry Analysts.

You can read the complete statement at genealogists-support-access-to-state.html.

Journal of Multidisciplinary Research Devotes Issue to Genealogy
Further proof that the academic community is starting to take genealogy seriously is that the Journal of Multidisciplinary Research, an international, peer-reviewed academic journal, has just published a special issue on genealogy and family history. Guest Editor is Arnon Hershkovitz, Senior Lecturer in the Mathematics, Science and Technology Education Department, at Tel Aviv University’s Department of Education. Hershkovitz notes, “This is a huge step in the long journey towards academization of genealogy.”

The issue of the journal can be found at jmr/Issues/JMR8-1.pdf.

Annual Conference an Extravaganza
Three years ago in Nu? What’s New? I noted that the annual IAJGS conference has become more of an extravaganza than a conference. There are no longer merely lectures and workshops. There are:
   • Up to seven concurrent lectures and workshops during each time period
   • A track on “Genealogy for Jewish Educators”
   • Computer Workshops
   • Special Interest Group Luncheons
   • Gala Banquet
   • Vendor exhibits
   • The play, From Door to Door, by the Seattle Jewish Theater Company.
   • Film Festival
   • Pre- and post-conference cruises
   • Tours during the conference

Events stretch from 7:30am to at least 10:00pm. There is a morning minyan (religious service) at 7:10. It is truly an international conference because there will be attendees from more than 20 countries. In addition, it is becoming more common for lecturers to be from outside the U.S.

Finally, if you cannot attend, but wish you could, there is LIVE!! This allows the subscriber to watch 60 of the best programs on his/her computer, tablet, or smartphone.

If you cannot make this year’s conference, plan to attend the one next year which will be in Orlando, Florida, July 23–28, 2017. It can include pre- or post-conference visits to Disneyworld, which is just a few miles away.

The conference website is at

Six Tips for More Effective Genealogy Searches

Family History Daily has written an interesting essay titled “Can’t Find Your Ancestor? 6 Tips for More Effective Genealogy Searches” that could be of value to veteran as well as beginning family historians. It can be found at 6-tips-for-more-effective-genealogy-searches.

New Issue of Southern African SIG Newsletter Online
The latest issue of the Southern African SIG (SA-SIG) Newsletter—60 pages in length—is now available online at Previous issues of the newsletter can be found at that location as well.

FindMyPast Adds 7.8 Million U.S. Naturalization Petitions, Passport Applications
FindMyPast has added more than 7.8M U.S. Naturalization Petitions records spanning the years 1905 to 1950. The collection currently covers four states: Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania. In addition, the site includes 800,000 U.S. Passport Application records. This type of records are rich with information about the individual and his/her family. They can include name, date/place of birth (including that of spouse and children), photograph of person, and other valuable genealogical information.

The Naturalization Petitions cab be found at united-states-naturalization-petitions. The Passport Applications are at

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. 

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