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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 18, Number 30 | August 13, 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.

Summer Issue of AVOTAYNU to Go to Printer This Week
The Summer issue of AVOTAYNU will go to the printer this week. It contains 16 articles plus the usual columns: From Our Contributing Editors, U.S. Update, Ask the Experts, Ask Dr. Beider and Book Reviews. The first two articles put to rest the outlandish claims that modern-day Jews are not descended from Biblical Jews, which leads to the claim that contemporary Jews have no claim to the Holy land. The articles are written by giants of their own specialties. The titles speak for themselves:
   • “The Genetic Origins of Ashkenazi Jews” by Dr. Harry Ostrer
   • “Contested Origins of Easter European Jewry: Clues from History, Linguistics and Onomastics” by Dr. Alexander Beider

The next batch of articles discuss important topics in Jewish genealogical research:
   • “Map Websites for Central Europe and the Larger World: Gazetteers to Access Them” provides clues where you can find online maps and gazetteers useful in Jewish genealogical research
   • “Researching Russian-Jewish Ancestry Step by Step” informs readers how to access records in the countries of the former Soviet Union
   • “Developing and Index of Jewish Records for Old Kiev Guberniya” is the work of regular AVOTAYNU contributor, Sarah Nadia Lipes, who is developing a database of so-called second-tier records.  
   • “Alexander Hamilton’s Jewish Roots: What We Know, What We Don’t Know; and an Educational Guess or Two.” U.S. Founding Father Alexander Hamilton has been of interest in the U.S. lately because of the Broadway hit musical “Hamilton” and the controversy about placing an image of a woman on U.S. currency. The $10 bill is under consideration which currently bears Hamilton’s portrait.
   • “ITS/Bad Arolsen: A Breach in the Digital Dike” reports that there might be light at the end of the tunnel for online access to the 50 million documents of the International Tracing Service with the release online of four small record collections.
   • “Index to World War II Hungarian-Jewish Documents Available Online” discusses a project of the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills, Michigan, to index microfilmed documents containing tens of thousands of names of Jews who lived in Hungary during World War II.
Described above is just the tip of the iceberg. The complete Table of Contents is at

Introductory Offer – See What You Are Missing
All Four Issues of AVOTAYNU for only $19.00
Avotaynu is making an unusual offer we have not made in its 33 years of publishing. If you are not an AVOTAYNU subscriber, you can receive all 2017 issues of our quarterly for half price; only $19.00. This offer also applies to people outside of the U.S./Canada where the regular price of $46 is reduced to $19.00—a 59% discount.

This offer is not available to current subscribers who want to renew their subscription for an additional year, nor 2016 subscribers who have not yet renewed.

Act now! You will immediately receive the Spring 2017 issue and the remaining three issues—Summer, Fall, Winter 2017 editions—when they are published. Order at The offer ends Monday, August 21.

“Free UK Genealogy” Offers Free-to-Search Online Records
A UK organization named “Free UK Genealogy” offers free-to-search online databases of the UK for 19th-century censuses; birth, marriage and death indexes; and parish registers. It is likely that most, if not all of these records already are available at no charge on FamilySearch, but given that this is an independent venture, records not found on FamilySearch due to transcription errors may be found at this site.

Record groups, number of records and their locations are:
   • 32M 19th-century censuses:
   • 33M births, marriages and deaths:
   • 38M records from parish registers:

Free UK Genealogy is a non-profit organization (a Charitable Incorporated Organization registered in England and Wales) that provides free, online access to family history records.

Library of Congress Webinars Will Discuss World War I
The Library is highlighting its remarkable World War I resources with a series of five free webinars in Summer and Fall 2017. The sessions will run for 40 minutes each and are open to the public, although registration is required for each event. After the webinars, the Library will make recordings of the sessions available at their site. Check back two weeks after the event to access the webinar.

Titles of the webinars are:
   • Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I
   • Over Here, Over There: Immigrant Veterans of World War I
   • Woodrow Wilson Chooses War
   • Lest Liberty Perish: Joseph Pennell and World War I
   • Charles Hamilton Houston & World War I

Additional information, including how to register, can be found at world-war-i-american-experiences/events-and-resources/

ITS Yearbook Focuses on Child Survivors of Nazi Persecution
The 2017 Yearbook of the International Tracing Service (ITS) focuses on the fates of children and adolescent survivors of Nazi persecution. “They were the most vulnerable, and had lost every sense of what it means to have a home,” says Henning Borggräfe, head of the ITS department of research and education. “By featuring the situation of child survivors in the ITS Yearbook we would like to call the attention of scholars and educators to this subject.”

The latest edition of the Yearbook offers insights into the aftermath of the Holocaust, Nazi persecution and forced labor, and looks at the work carried out by Allied relief organizations after 1945. The authors also give an introduction to various methods of historical-political education work on Displaced Persons.

Additional information is at

New at
Ancestry has updated the following record groups at their site. Note that they do not indicate how many entries have been added. Announced collections may not be complete for the dates specified and will be added at some later date.

Maine, Death Records, 1761–1922
Oklahoma, Naturalization Records, 1889–1991
Delaware, Death Records, 1861–1933
Maine, Birth Records, 1715–1922
Maine, Marriage Records, 1713–1922
U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936–2007

FamilySearch Updates This Week
FamilySearch did not formally announce any updates to their collections this week.

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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