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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 18, Number 12 | March 19, 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.

MyHeritage Adds Consistency Checker to Its Online Family Trees
I have been using Brother’s Keeper as my offline family tree software for more than 25 years. One feature it has that I find valuable is its Reasonableness Checker. It analyzes my tree database noting such unreasonable considerations as age at time of marriage is not with a range of years which you can set (preset to 14–90). This is a clue that the birth or marriage year is likely incorrect. There is a total of five reasonableness checks.

MyHeritage has now announced a Consistency Checker for family trees online at the MyHeritage website. The feature employs 36 different checks on the family tree data, ranging from the obvious (e.g., a person was born before their parent, or the parent was too young to be a parent) to the subtle and hard to find (e.g., a person was tagged in a photo and the photo is dated before the person’s birth; or two full siblings were born five months apart.)

Some of the issues it finds are factual mistakes (e.g. wrong birth date entered). Some are bad practices (e.g. birth year entered as 22 instead of 1922, or prefix entered as part of the first name instead of in the prefix field). Some are warnings about possible data entry errors (e.g. a woman’s married surname was apparently entered as her maiden surname, or a place was entered that looks suspiciously like a date). Some are inconsistencies you may want to fix, such as references to the same place name with two different spellings. Any issue you feel is fine and should intentionally not be addressed can easily be marked to be ignored and will not be reported again.

A similar Consistency Checker tool has long been available in MyHeritage’s offline software package Family Tree Builder. Additional information about Consistency Checker can be found at

Holocaust in France: A Resource Guide Published at IGRA Site
Holocaust in France: A Resource Guide by Jean-Pierre Stroweis is now available on the Israel Genealogy Research Association (IGRA) website. The guide includes online resources and a selection of books, in both English and French, of the fate of the Jews in France during World War II. These will enable researchers to trace victims and survivors of the Holocaust in France.

This list contains general Holocaust resources and resources specific to France such as internment and concentration camps in France; deportation documentation; escaping from France; Jewish underground; military and the Vichy Regime; Jewish children; the work of Serge Klarsfeld; companies and foreign workers; and libraries, archives and Jewish institutes in France.

View the Guide at

New York State Considering “Right to Be Forgotten” Law
Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee, reports that bills have been introduced in the New York State Assembly and Senate that would invoke the right to be forgotten. They would require online search engines and publishers to remove information about people at their request if the information is “inaccurate”, “irrelevant,” "inadequate” or "excessive.” The bills have an exception for information on felonies, legal matters related to violence or a matter "so significant current public interest and as to which the requester's role with regard to the matter is central and substantial.”

The bills can be found at (Assembly) and (Senate). Some commentary on the bill including why some First Amendment attorneys oppose the bill can be found at

USCIS Webinar on "Fact, Fiction, and Immigration Passenger Lists” Planned
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will present a webinar on "Fact, Fiction, and Immigration Passenger Lists” Tuesday, March 21, at 1:00pm ET. The presenter, Marian Smith, who will revive and update a 2006 presentation about understanding passenger list arrival records (originally titled "Making Sense of Immigration Passenger Lists”).

Topics included in the presentation will be the availability of such records (what records survived and are they complete), how they were created (by whom, how and where), and how preconceived notions can help or hinder research success. Smith will also reflect on changes in passenger list research over the last decade.

The webinar will not be recorded—it can only be viewed live. Additional information is at

FamilySearch Phasing Out Microfilm Collection
Microfilm is a technology of the past and FamilySearch is in the process of phasing it out. According to a report by "Ancestry Insider”:
   • Replacement parts for broken microfilm readers are getting hard to find and are costly
   • More than 50% of the FamilySearch microfilm collection has been digitized
   • As collections are digitized, they are available online at
   • A few collections are available only at Family History Centers or possibly only available at the Family History Library, subject to the original agreement with the copyright owner.

More detailed information can be found at future-of-family-history-center.html.

Have You Renewed Your Subscription to AVOTAYNU?
Just a friendly reminder to AVOTAYNU subscribers whose subscription expired with the Winter issue to be sure to renew now to take advantage of the renewal discount. Your subscription expired if there was a yellow renewal sheet with your copy of the Winter issue. Non-U.S. subscribers may not yet have received their copy of the Winter issue. The renewal offer is at

If you are not a AVOTAYNU subscriber, you can sign up for the 2017 issues at

Last Chance: Ancestry Irish Collection Free Access
Today, until midnight Eastern Time, Ancestry is allowing access to their Irish collection at no charge. The link is 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 
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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
Nu? What's New? is published weekly by Avotaynu, Inc.
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