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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 18, Number 16 | April 23, 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.

This Evening Starts Yom HaShoah
This evening begins the 24-hour observance of Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Day) when we remember the six million Jews murdered for only one reason; they were Jews. Let us use this day to also remember the hundreds of thousands of survivors whose lives were permanently altered for the worse because of this tragic event.

(Click on picture at the right to enlarge.) The older girl in the picture was arrested at aged 14 on June 6, 1944, and subsequently deported to Auschwitz. She remained a prisoner there until October 1944 when she was sent to her death in a gas chamber. The young girl in the picture was hidden by Christian families and survived the Holocaust, but her parents were murdered at Auschwitz. The boy is the son of one of the Christian families that rescued the little girl.

Annual Conference Includes Free Access to Fee-for-Service Internet Sites
One of the many benefits of attending the annual conference, which this year is in Orlando, Florida, is the Conference Resource Room. Started many years ago by providing access to reference books and computer printouts, its major attraction now is free access to fee-for-service websites. This year, the Resource Room will have computers that give free access to:
   • American Ancestors by the New England Historic Genealogical Society
   • JewishGen

In addition, on Wednesday only, ProQuest will provide access to their collection.
If you are unfamiliar with any of these sites, go to their home pages to gain an understanding of what record collections they have.

Yad Vashem and the ITS Arolsen Archives. Access to the International Tracing Service (ITS) archives is available only at Yad Vashem, the U.S. Holocaust Museum and a few institutions around the world. Yad Vashem specialist Sima Velkovich is flying in from Israel to give four lectures on Holocaust-related research and to give participants access to the ITS archives and other Yad Vashem resources throughout the week.

Additional information about the conference, including how to register and make hotel reservations, can be found at

Genealogy Indexer Now Scanning Directories Printed in German Typefaces
Genealogy Indexer now can scan and index directories printed in Fraktur, Gothic, or blackletter typefaces. They have just placed online at their website nearly 100 more directories, some of which are in these type fonts.

To date there are more than 2,500 sources at the site. They consist of 850,000 pages of:
   • 1,700 historical directories (business, address, telephone, etc., mostly from Central and Eastern Europe
   • 114,000 pages of 256 yizkor books (memorials to Jewish communities destroyed in the Holocaust)
   • 32,000 pages of military lists (officers, casualties, etc., mostly from the Russian Empire and Poland
   • 43,000 pages of community and personal histories
   • 24,000 pages of Polish secondary school annual reports and other school sources. New sources are added weekly.

The site is at

DNA Sales in Time for National DNA Day
April 25 is National DNA Day, and three of the major DNA testing companies—Ancestry, FamilyTreeDNA and MyHeritage—are offering discounts on their products. Don’t select which company to use based on price. All are charging about the same amount. Ancestry and MyHeritage offers only one product, autosomal testing; FamilyTreeDNA offers 10 different products which are combinations of the three basic tests: autosomal, Y-DNA (male line) and mt-DNA (female line) tests.

National DNA Day commemorates the discovery of the DNA helix and completion of the Human Genome Project. The FamilyTreeDNA offers are at Ancestry offer is at MyHeritage is at

More On the Value of GEDMatch
In the last issue of Nu? What’s New? I stated that “…Several NWN subscribers noted this is unnecessary (to test with all DNA services) if you use GEDmatch, which will compare your results against those using other services…” Ron Doctor notes that this is not true. He states that “GEDmatch compares your results against those in its database, but if a testee doesn't upload his/her results to GEDmatch, you won't get a comparison.”

Information on how to use GEDmatch is located at upload-to-gedmatch.

FamilySearch Announces More Than 50 Webinars for May
FamilySearch has announced it will be presenting more than 50 webinars during May. A sample of those to be presented include:
   • Using the FHL Catalog Effectively
   • Finding German Places of Origin
   • Research in Alsace-Lorraine
   • Dutch Provincial and City Research
   • Using the FHL Catalog Effectively
   • United States Census: Techniques and Strategies for Finding Elusive Ancestors

The complete list can be found at and-webinars-for-may-2017.

“8 Reasons You Should Consider Joining a Local Genealogical Society”
The Jewish Genealogy Society of Long Island (JGSLI) has published its 28th video on YouTube designed to advance the user’s ability to do family history research. It is titled “8 Reasons You Should Consider Joining a Local Genealogical Society.” The society notes that despite the growth of online resources that permit you to do research from the comfort of your home, genealogical societies still provide a valuable function.

JGSLI was the winner of the IAJGS 2015 Outstanding Publication Award for its You Tube Channel. This video, as well as the previous programs, can be accessed at channel/UCUV8xttIn93AwJX2_I0AIAg/feed.

FamilySearch Adds Nearly 7 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, Brazil, Cape Verde, France, Italy, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.S. state of California.

FamilySearch added more than 1M additional index records to the Netherlands, Archival Indexes, Miscellaneous Records collection. There are now more than 9M records. The entire collection of 159M records is located at

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.

Recent Ancestry Updates
The following collections on Ancestry have been updated in the past two weeks:
   • U.S., Cemetery and Funeral Home Collection, 1847–2017
   • U.S., Obituary Collection, 1930–2016
   • 1900 United States Federal Census
   • Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899–2011
   • Colorado State Census, 1885
   • Massachusetts, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1798–1950
   • Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1669–1999
   • U.S. Phone and Address Directories, 1993–2002
   • U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917–1918
   • American Soldiers of World War I
In addition, a new collection, “U.S., Compiled Records from Various Societies, 1875–2010,” has been added. This collection contains a variety of records from various areas within the U.S and were provided by different genealogical societies and archives.

Ancestry Australia Offers Free Access to Its Australian, New Zealand and UK Collection
In celebration of Anzac Day, is offering free access to its Australia, New Zealand and UK collections (military only) through Tuesday, April 25, 2017. Link to this offer at Anzac Day, as described on Wikipedia is “a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders ‘who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations’ and ‘the contribution and suffering of all those who have served.’”

FindMyPast Honors Anzac Day
In honor of Anzac Day, FindMyPast is opening their complete collection of Australian and New Zealand records through April 25. FindMyPast states it has 96 million Australian and New Zealand records at its site:

Webinar on U.S. Bureaus of Immigration and Naturalization During World War I
April 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entry into World War I. The Bureaus of Immigration and Naturalization, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) institutional precursors, supported the American war effort in many ways. The USCIS is holding a webinar on April 27 at 1:00 pm Eastern Time which will discuss its role in “the war to end all wars.” It will not be recorded for future viewing.

Link to the webinar at At the bottom of the page is a link to test that you have the software (Adobe Connect) used to connect to the webinar. Run this test well before the event. It may be necessary to install additional software.

The presentation next month will be on May 23. It will be a repeat of the webinar on Philadelphia as an immigrant port of entry ca. 1882–1909.

JRI-Poland Adds Index to 90,000 Lodz Vital Records
Jewish Records Indexing – Poland, in collaboration with the Douglas E. Goldman Jewish Genealogy Center at Beit Hatfutsot, has made available on its site an index to 90,000 vital records of Lodz, Poland, covering the years 1916–1935. The indexing effort was done by volunteers at Beit Hatfutsot from scans provided by JRI-Poland.

The index includes 1907–1915 Russian-language birth, marriage and death records and 1916–1935 Polish-language marriages and deaths. Births less than 100 years old are protected by Polish privacy laws.

Stanley Diamond, Executive Director of JRI-Poland stated this effort was the first part of the project, ultimately to provide extracts of all genealogical-relevant information from Lodz records, starting in 1826. JRI-Poland is located at

IAJGS Issues “Call for Applications”
The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) has issued its annual call for applications in three areas:
   • Achievement Awards
   • Malcolm Stern and John Stedman Memorial Awards
   • Nominations for Board of Directors

The IAJGS Achievement Awards are given to individuals or organizations who have made or are making outstanding contributions to Jewish genealogy. The awards provide recognition in areas important to the growth of organized Jewish genealogy. The awards are announced at the annual IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, which this year is in Orlando, Florida. The 6 award categories are:
   • IAJGS Lifetime Achievement Award
   • Outstanding Project/Resource/Program
   • Outstanding Publication
   • IAJGS Member of the Year
   • Volunteer of the Year
   • Future Leader of the Year Additional information is at

The purpose of the Rabbi Malcolm Stern Grant and John Stedman Memorial Fund Award is to encourage non-profit institutions or organizations, Jewish or not, to pursue projects, activities and acquisitions that provide new or enhanced resources to benefit Jewish genealogists. Additional information is at

The call for applications from candidates interested in serving on the IAJGS Board of Directors is now open. This year at the IAJGS Annual Meeting, as it is an odd-numbered year and in accordance with the IAJGS bylaws, they will elect four officers: President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Additional information, including requirements to be on the Board 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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 Cost is $35 (one-time charge).

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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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