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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 18, Number 14 | April 2, 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.

AncestryDNA Announces Genetic Communities
AncestryDNA has announced a concept they call Genetic Communities™. Genetic Communities are groups of AncestryDNA members who are connected through DNA most likely because they descend from a population of common ancestors, even if they no longer live in the area where those ancestors once lived. AncestryDNA automatically finds groups of people in the network that have more DNA matches to each other than to people in other parts of the network. From these results, they propose that the member join a specific Genetic Community.

Genetic Communities differ from ethnicity estimates in that the former are groups of people who are connected because they share fairly recent ancestors who came from the same region or culture—even though they may have had different ethnic backgrounds. Ethnicity estimates show your ancestry going back hundreds or even thousands of years.

Family Tree DNA has a concept called “Group Projects.” They differ significantly in at least two ways.
   • Group Projects are created by individuals not the company.
   • Individuals join the group because their personal research—not testing—suggests common kinship.

Information about Group Projects can be found at my/projects-home.aspx.

The Genetic Communities announcement is at A complete description is at

FamilySearch Plans Western European Family History Conference/Webinar
FamilySearch will be offering a Western European Family History Conference May 15–19 at their Family History Library in Salt Lake City. It is also accessible live as a webinar. Participation is free of charge, but registration is required due to class size and webinar bandwidth limitations. Content will focus primarily on how to research records from Germany, France, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Luxembourg and Belgium. Topics addressed will include census, church, immigration, and vital records.

Additional information, including how to register—either in-person guest or webinar—can be found at

JewishGen Adds France to Its “All Country” Databases
JewishGen has announced a “JewishGen France Database,” a multi-database search facility containing more than 150,000 records of Jews living in France and other French-speaking regions. It is JewishGen’s fourteenth “All Country” database.

The JewishGen France Database searches all of JewishGen’s records for France, other French-speaking areas such as Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland, and former French colonies and protectorates such as Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. The database is a work in progress, and new entries are added regularly.

The database is located at

My First DNA Match
It has been five years since I began my personal involvement in DNA testing. I finally got my first DNA match. It was through AncestryDNA which claimed the person was my first or second cousin. This is true. He is my first cousin once removed. What is important to me is that he is the son of a cousin I have not communicated with for more than 50 years.

I have my testing primarily with Family Tree DNA, but this result demonstrated to me that you must use all the major services—AncestryDNA, Family Tree DNA, 23and me and MyHeritage DNA—because you never know which service will be used by a long-lost relative. Most of these services offer discounts from time to time, so check back with them periodically for special offers.

FamilySearch Adds Nearly 2.6 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 records), Australia, France, Peru, Portugal and the U.S. states of Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York and South Carolina

Most notable for persons with Jewish family history are additions to the Cook County (Chicago) birth certificates, 1871–1940. Other U.S. additions may be of use.

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.

GenTeam (Austria) Adds WWI Austria-Hungary Military Casualty Lists
GenTeam has added 580,000 records to its collection. One new record group is “Austria-Hungary Military Casualty Lists from World War I.” It includes wounded, prisoners of war and the fallen from all member countries of the Habsburg monarchy. It is a work-in-progress. When completed the Casualty Lists will have approximately 3–3.5M entries. The GenTeam site is located at It now has more than 16M entries.

Recent Additions at Ancestry
There were updates to the following Ancestry collections:
   • Summit County, Ohio, Marriage Records, 1840–19804
   • U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861–1934
   • Vermont, Marriage Records, 1909–2008

FindMyPast Adds University of New Zealand Collection
Among the records added this week, FindMyPast has included records of students who graduated from the University of New Zealand between 1870 and 1963. There are more than 37,000 records. Information provided includes name, year of graduation, college, degree, and in some cases notes.

The collection can be found at

“Introduction to Genetic Genealogy”
For those readers that are new to how DNA testing can assist in family history research, or those that are still confused about the basics of this new tool, there is yet another article that is an “Introduction to Genetic Genealogy.” It can be found at 03/introduction-to-genetic-genealogy.

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
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