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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 18, Number 3 | January 15, 2017

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.

FamilySearch Sets Goals for 2017
FamilySearch has published a list of goals for 2017 that includes not only records acquisition and indexing, but improving the quality of its website and apps.

More than 330 FamilySearch digital camera teams worldwide will preserve 125–150 million historical records in 2017. The organization announced recently that they digitized 60 million new images of historical records in 2016. Another 200 million images will be added from FamilySearch's microfilm conversion project that uses 25 specialized machines to convert their vast microfilm collection. More than 30 percent of the 2.4 million rolls of microfilm have already been digitized and published online.

FamilySearch volunteers will be focused on creating searchable name indexes to two major collections in the United States (marriage records and immigration records that will include passenger lists, border crossings, and naturalization petitions) and core record collections from select high priority countries.

FamilySearch's two mobile apps—FamilySearch Family Tree and FamilySearch Memories—will see new updates. Users will be able to search from the convenience of the FamilySearch mobile app. Other features have been added to the apps.

A more detailed description of these plans, plus other goals of FamilySearch, can be found at

Workshop Planned on Online Access of Holocaust Documents: Ethical and Practical Challenges
The organization European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI) is planning a workshop on “Online Access of Holocaust Documents: Ethical and Practical Challenges.” It will be hosted in Bucharest, Romania, from May 29–31 by the "Elie Wiesel” National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania.

EHRI notes that documentation is of great interest to scholars, museum and archive professionals, educators, journalists, survivors and their families and the public. Open access to this material has an important role in facilitating research and Holocaust education and in fostering a remembrance culture. Providing online access to the archival information poses significant ethical challenges. Academic and broad public interest in this subject and the moral duty of giving access to Holocaust documents may come into conflict with certain unique aspects of Holocaust documentation: the sensitivity of the information exposed and the need to protect the victim`s privacy.

If the documents are online, can their use be controlled? What type of documents should we put online? Who should have access to them: just professionals or the public as well? What about copyright issues and privacy protection? In addition, collection holders on the one hand and Holocaust researchers and other potential users on the other, may have differing perspectives on the relevance of the available material and varying expectations from the provided access.

Regarding the level of accessibility, the Holocaust research field also faces some practical challenges such as multi-lingual access, poor online infrastructure or the lack of expertise in digital preservation in various regions/institutions. The workshop will address all practical, legal and ethical challenges that archivists and users confront.

Additional information can be found

ITS General Inventory Online
The International Tracing Service (ITS) has published its complete inventory on the Internet. The inventory offers an overview of the ITS archival holdings, which comprise some 30 million documents on National Socialist persecution and forced labor as well as the fates of the survivors.

For reasons of transparency, ITS has deliberately decided to include parts of the holdings that have undergone only preliminary or superficial indexing to date in its general online inventory. These inventory holdings merely have a reference number with no description of their contents. Those fully indexed have detailed descriptions of the contents to permit more in-depth access to the documents. The general inventory on the website reflects the current status of the indexing process, as the data is retrieved directly from the digital ITS archive.

The search engine can be found at Additional information about the announcement can be found at

January 27 Is International Holocaust Remembrance Day
Several years ago, the United Nations passed a resolution declaring January 27 an International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. That day is the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp. This year, the UN is urging member states to develop educational programs to instill the memory of the tragedy in future generations to prevent genocide from occurring again. It requested the United Nations Secretary-General establish an outreach program on the “Holocaust and the United Nations”, as well as institute measures to mobilize civil society for Holocaust remembrance and education in order to help prevent future acts of genocide.

The UN states that the Holocaust was a turning point in history, which prompted the world to say “never again”. The significance of resolution, it states, is that it calls for a remembrance of past crimes with an eye towards preventing them in the future.

Additional information can be found at

Oklahoma Birth and Death Record Indexes Now Online
Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter
reports that an index to Oklahoma births and deaths is now online at The index includes births occurring more than 20 years ago, and deaths occurring more than 5 years ago. Information provided is name, gender, birth county and exact date of birth.
A drawback of the site is that surname-only searches may be difficult. Searching for the surname “Levy” produced a message “Your search terms were too broad and matched 105 records. Please narrow your search by adding more information.” Fortunately, one of the search parameters is “Date Range” which would allow the researcher to search a given year ±5 years.

Who Do You Think You Are – UK to Resume January 25
The 13th series of Who Do You Think You Are? (UK version) will return to television screens on Wednesday, January 25 at 8pm on BBC One. The first episode features the actor Sir Ian McKellen. Other personalities featured on consecutive Wednesdays are Greg Davies, Sunetra Sarker, Warwick Davis and Sophie Raworth.

Additional information can be found at

News from Ancestry: Ohio Naturalizations Updated; DNA Subscribers Reaches 3 Million
Ancestry has updated the Ohio Naturalization Petition and Record Books (1888–1946) collection.

The company also announced there are now more than 3 million subscribers to AncestryDNA.

Conference "Call for Papers" Deadline Is Today, January 15
Procrastinators who wish to give a lecture at the 37th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy should be aware that today is the deadline for submitting proposals. The conference will be held from July 23–28 at the Walt Disney Swan Resort on the grounds of Disney World/Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida. Those accepted will be notified of their acceptance during the early registration period that ends April 16, 2017.

The committee is particularly interested in presentations that enable the conference participants to enhance their genealogical research by teaching them to:
   • Discover their family history using new research tools and resources
   • Preserve their family histories and traditions
   • Share their family history with future generations of their family and with fellow genealogists

The procedure to submit a proposal can be found at /abstract_submission.cfm. This annual gathering brings together more than 1,000 family researchers, academics, professional genealogists, historians, and a wide variety of individuals from around the world who cherish their heritage and the future of the Jewish people.

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 
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 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
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