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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 17, Number 36 | September 11, 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.

Remembering 9/11
Today we remember the thousands of people murdered in the attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon and the foiled flight that crashed in Pennsylvania.

MyHeritage DNA Matching Goes Live
In mid-May, MyHeritage users who had their DNA tested through Family Tree DNA, 23andMe or Ancestry could upload their DNA data to a planned DNA Matching program. MyHeritage has just announced the feature is live.

Various vendors of autosomal DNA tests for genealogy have developed chips that each read a slightly different set of about 700,000 SNPs. MyHeritage states they have created and refined the capability to read the DNA data files from all main vendors and bring them to the same common ground, a process that is called imputation. About 61% of the 190 million DNA matches now available on MyHeritage are cross-vendor matches.

The complete announcement, including how to upload your own DNA results, can be found at

How Has Grown
One way to measure the growing interest in genealogy is by how has grown over the years. Quinton Atkinson, Senior Director of Content Acquisition and Partner Development at Ancestry, reported at the recently completed Federation of Genealogical Societies conference that Ancestry now has $680 million in income from 2.4 million paid subscribers. They have 18 billion digitized records from 80 countries; 8 billion profiles in 80 million user trees; and more than 2 million genotyped customers. Users have contributed 300 million sharable photos, documents, and stories. All of this totals more than 10 petabytes of data. A petabyte is a million billion bytes. Reported by Ancestry Insider.

Search Israeli Online Phone Book with Latin Letters
Stephen P. Morse has reintroduced the capability at his site to search the Bezek Israeli telephone book using Latin letters. The function was removed some years ago when the Bezeq site provided its own transliteration. That feature no longer exists on Bezeq. Searching can be accomplished at

To use the feature, enter a surname in Latin letters. This will display possible spellings of the name in Hebrew letters. Copy the Hebrew name to the search engine and click “Search.” The results are displayed both in Hebrew and transliterated Latin letters.

It may be necessary to play with Hebrew transliterations. Searching for “Cohen” produced two Hebrew spelling variants, both of which are used by Israelis. The surnames Mokotow and Mokotoff produced no results, but Mokotov provided the list of my Israeli relatives.

Find A Grave Site Includes Gedenkbuch Holocaust Victims
Find A Grave has included the more than 170,000 German Jews murdered in the Holocaust that appear in the Gedenkbuch. Other Holocaust-related lists previously added to the site include Dachau prisoner lists, Auschwitz lists and Jews deported from France. The last-named list was removed because it included numerous Holocaust survivors and the death location of victims could not be determined.

Recent FamilySearch Additions
FamilySearch has not made a formal announcement this week about new record collections and additions to collections, but adding indexes and digital images continues—some valuable to Jewish family history research. The most recent additions can be found at Click the words “Last Updated” to provide the list in chronological order, most recent first. They include more than 117 million indexes of GenealogyBank Obituaries, 1980–2014.

U.S. National Archives Now Has Lectures on Demand
The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration has placed more than 40 lectures on YouTube. The list is available at Examples of lectures include:
   • Genealogy Introduction—Immigration Records at the National Archives
   • Using to Access NARA Records
   • Access to Archival Databases (AAD) for Genealogists
   • Passport Applications, 1795–1925
   • Freedom of Information Act Requests at the National Archives

Webinar on U.S. Immigration Files
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is conducting a webinar on September 30 a 1pm (ET). The webinar will focus on immigration correspondence files at the National Archives in Washington, DC. The session will expand upon guidance already found on the USCIS website with additional examples and advice. Among the research approaches to be covered are those:
   • Based on arrival information (immigrants held for special inquiry)
   • Based on family stories (immigrants arrested or deported, family members who communicated with or were contractors for the Immigration and Naturalization Service). Most importantly, attendees will understand the nature of the INS Subject Correspondence Index and why not all files are indexed by name.

This webinar is only available live—it will not be recorded. Visit the USCIS website at to register and understand the technical requirements to participate in the event.

Irish Government Places Civil Registers of Vital Records Online
Jan Meisels Allen reports that the General Record Office of Ireland has made their civil registers of birth, marriage and death online at civil-search.jsp. For many years, it also includes an image of the document. Birth records date from 1864 to 1914, marriage records from 1845 to 1939 and the death records 1864 to 1964.

The first time I used the site searching for the surname “Cohen,” it required a given name too. I chose “Samuel” and it displayed information for all persons named Cohen. Thereafter, I was able to do surname-only searches.

Commercial Genealogy Sites Will Commemorate Anything to Make a Special Offer
It has reached the point that if you want to subscribe to a for-profit genealogy site, wait for the next holiday when it is likely there will be some discount offer. The example below takes this to an extreme.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the tank, Forces War Records is offering the chance to win free tickets to TANK100 at the Bovington (UK) Tank Museum on September 17.

To submit a Page of Testimony, go to Click the words “Download Pages of Testimony Forms.”

Join the ranks of Yad Vashem’s worldwide network of volunteers working in one-on-one outreach efforts with Holocaust survivors and members of their generation to recover the names of Shoah victims before they are lost forever. For ideas and resources on how to launch a names recovery campaign in your area, visit Yad Vashem’s Community Outreach Guide for updated program information on the project in Israel and in Russian speaking Jewish communities around the world.

Yad Vashem has provided a 10-minute Pages of Testimony tutorial video at the site to learn how to help survivors and others from their generation to fill out Pages of Testimony. To volunteer for the project or for more information contact
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