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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 17, Number 38 | September 25, 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.

MyHeritage Halfway to Digitizing Every Cemetery in Israel
MyHeritage has announced that they have completed 50% of their goal to digitize every cemetery in Israel. It would make Israel the first country in the world to have all of its gravestones preserved online and searchable. To date, they have taken approximately 1.3 million photos and are adding 5,000 photos every day. They hope to complete the project by the end of 2017. The company stated they are making all of this data available on at no charge.

In 2014, the company launched a global initiative with BillionGraves to digitally preserve the world’s cemeteries. When photographing and documenting gravestones using the BillionGraves mobile application, the precise GPS coordinates of every gravestone are preserved. This makes it easy for others to locate and visit graves of family members and also allows volunteers to see which areas of a cemetery have already been photographed, avoiding duplication and maximizing productivity.

The announcement can be found at

23andMe Offers Ancestry-Only Testing for $99
The DNA testing firm 23andMe is now offering ancestry-only testing for $99. Previously it was part of their health and ancestry package which costs $199. Users may opt in to be matched against other customers to identify familial relationships similar to that offered by Family Tree DNA’s Family Finder service and AncestryDNA.

Three companies now offer this type of service:
   • 23andme. $99
   • $99
   • Family Tree DNA $79

IAJGS Records Access Alerts
Readers who are interested in the controversy between right-to-be-forgotten, right-to-know and freedom of the press should subscribe to the IAJGS Records Access Alerts. The list is maintained by Jan Meisels Allen, chairperson of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee. She posts, almost daily, events throughout the world that involve public access to information. As Meisels Allen notes, “these concepts impact us as genealogists, who have ancestry in those countries and are interested in the impact of records access.”

Subscribe at You will be informed when you are accepted to gain access to the list.

Recent postings include:
   • (Canada, India, Italy) The Right to Be Forgotten-Updates and More to Consider
   • (European Union) The European Court of Justice Ruling On Posting Website Hyper-Links Without Permission Can Be Copyright Infringement
   • (European Union) The Court of Justice of EU Advocate General's Opinion—Right to Be Forgotten Not Absolute
   • (Ireland) General Record Office of Ireland Makes Civil Registers of Vital Records Available for Free
   • (US) Consumer Review Fairness Act Passes House—HR 5111
   • (US) National Archives Open Government Plan 2016–2018
   • (US) California Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case on Right to Be Forgotten Appealed by Yelp
   • (US-NYC) Reclaim the Records and New York City Clerk's Office Agreement—RTR Gets Their Legal Fees and the Records

FamilySearch Adds Nearly 1.6 Million Records This Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, nearly 7 million indexed records and images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Argentina (Catholic Church records) and the U.S. states of California, Minnesota, Texas and Utah. The largest addition is an index to nearly 1M Minnesota obituaries 1865–2006.

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 in the announcement are the number added, not the total number available in the collection, which can be greater.

British Newspaper Archive Now Has 15.5 Million Digitized Pages Online
British Newspaper Archive now has 15.5 million digitized pages from 676 titles online. Dates range from 1710–1959. The fee-for-service site is located at

Ancestry Adds Glasgow Electoral Registers has added Glasgow electoral registers 1857–1962 to its collection. These registers list the names and residences of people who are eligible to vote. Scotland’s eligibility to vote evolved through the years:
   • Until 1918, only male landowners over the age of 21.
   • 1918–1927, men over the age of 21 and some women (typically landowners) over the age of 30).
   • 1928 onward, men and women over the age of 21.

The database is located at

Easy Button Feature Creates New Sources in FamilySearch Tree from MyHeritage Records
FamilySearch has partnered with My Heritage to make it easy to copy new sources of information found on MyHeritage to a family tree built at the FamilySearch site. Called the Family History Easy Button, it operates in the following way.
   • Sign in to a family tree at
   • Go to the Person page of an ancestor.
   • In the Search Records box on the right, click “MyHeritage.”
   • Click the name in the MyHeritage search results to see record details.
   • Review the information and find a record of interest.
   • Scroll to the bottom of the record page and click “Attach source to FamilySearch” in the lower left.

Additional information about the feature can be found 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

* Also see Russia and USSR ** Also see individual countries
Nu? What's New? is published weekly by Avotaynu, Inc.
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