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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 18, Number 39 | October 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.

Annual Jewish Genealogy Conference Now Has Facebook Groups
The wheels are starting to turn for the planned IAJGS 38th International Conference on Jewish Genealogy to be held in Warsaw, Poland, from August 5–10, 2018. There are now two moderated “closed” Facebook groups to keep people up-to-date about the conference. Join the groups using the links below. Subsequently, you will be informed that your request has been approved, and you will become a member of the group with the ability to send/receive messages.
   • 2018 IAJGS Warsaw Conference. This is the online meeting place to receive conference announcements and a bulletin board for genealogists to share information and questions about the conference.
   • Kosher SIG. This online meeting place will share information and ask questions regarding kosher food and minyanim (religious services) at IAJGS conferences.

Newspaper Article Spoofs Current Addiction to DNA Testing
Do you have an addiction to DNA testing? Do you suffer from TAA—Terminal Ancestry Addiction? Have you noticed one of its symptoms; CO (Cousin Overdose)? There is a satirical article in the Huffington Post that allows you to diagnose—and treat if you want to—this disease which is spreading throughout the world.

The author notes, “I have even convinced some of my dearest friends and family into trying this DNA drug with me. I’ve shared the swab, passed the test tube, and begged them to just scrape for me. Just spit for me. Why? Because Ancestry loves company.”

He later continues. “I write this letter as I suffer from ancestry withdrawal while attempting to go cold turkey for just one day. I’m shaking like an tree leaf. I don’t know if I can make it. I really don’t know. They’re calling me. Calling me. I need more of that double helix. Just one more ancestor hint. Please pray for me…”

The article is signed “your 1st - 8th cousin.” It can be found at

New York City Wants to Further Restrict Access to Birth/Death Records:
Genealogical Community Rising to Oppose Changes
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMG) has proposed restricting access to New York City birth records for 125 years and death records for 75 years. The genealogical community is opposing these measures. If you have interest in such records and oppose the new rule, the following is suggested:
   • Read the proposed rules at
   • From that page, log in or register to post a comment opposing the rules. As of Saturday evening, there were 29 comments.
   • Sign the petition at created by the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B).
   • Draft a letter and mail to the DOHMG postmarked by 5 pm October 24, 2017. NYG&B has a sample letter at their special website page set up for this purpose and the address to send the letter.
   • Share the news with other genealogists who have interest in access to New York City records and have them join the protest.

The genealogical community is suggesting a different position which largely follows the existing guidelines of the state of New York:
   • Access to birth records after 75 years (if the individual’s death can be verified) or 105 years if no death date is verified.
   • Access to death records after 50 years, or after 25 years, to registered members of a New York genealogical society.
   • Access to the index to death records after 25 years (providing the name, date of death, place of death, date of birth, and burial/cremation information)

Wanted: Human Interest Stories for Winter Issue of AVOTAYNU
We now are working on the final stages of getting the Fall issue of AVOTAYNU into print, but we are also looking ahead to the Winter issue which is special in two ways. For the past 31 years, AVOTAYNU has devoted a portion of each Winter issue to genealogy human interest stories. Stories are typically about how genealogy affected people’s lives, whether it be the researcher or the people they are researching. Deadline for submission this year is December 1, 2017. If you would like to share such a story with AVOTAYNU subscribers, submit it by e-mail to When possible, illustrations should accompany the article. In 2008, Avotaynu published 72 of these human interest stories in a book, Every Family Has a Story. A sample story in the book that originally appeared in the Winter 1998 issue of AVOTAYNU can be read at

New Family Histories In Print. Also in the Winter issue, AVOTAYNU lists Jewish genealogical family histories that have been published in the preceding 12 months. Books published earlier are also eligible for inclusion if they have not been previously reported. Please present information about the book in a specific format: author; title of book; years covered; brief description, including family names researched; libraries in which book has been deposited; price and ordering information. Submit the information by e-mail to The deadline date is also December 1. You can subscribe to AVOTAYNU at

New Collections at Includes New York City Birth Index, 1910–1965
Ancestry has added/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.

New Collections
New York City Births, 1910–1965 Index. Information provided includes name, exact date of birth, borough and certificate number. All years specified are included.

Updated Collections
U.S., Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Records, 1826–1945
U.S., Homestead Records, 1863–1908
Pennsylvania, Birth Records, 1906–1910
North Dakota, Marriage Records, 1872–2017

HIAS Index Cards Online
Information from the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) case files has been placed online at the American Jewish Historical Society site. They consist of two groups:
   • Master Index Cards for arrival records 1955–1980
   • Database of arrival records 1980–2016

Master Index Cards 1955–1980. Images of the index cards are provided. They can contain a wealth of information including name (also maiden name of married women), birth date, country of birth, marital status and relationship to person who heads the case file. Also addresses within the United States. It may be possible to get the complete copy of the case file. See

HIAS Database 1980–2016. Of less value, is this index of individuals showing name, country of birth and case file number.

The search site is at

Ontario Birth Records 1860–1920 Online
FindMyPast has a collection of Ontario birth indexes that now contains more than two million records. The collection spans the years from 1860 to 1920. Each index record lists the person’s name, date of birth, place of birth and both parents’ names. An image of the original record is also available. The actual record can include first name(s), last name, sex, birth year, birth date, registration year, father’s first name(s), father’s last name, mother’s first name(s), mother’s last name, place, city, county, batch number and film number.

The index is located at

Reclaim The Records Adds New Jersey Marriage Index, 1901-2016
Reclaim The Records has placed online images of an index to New Jersey marriages, 1901–2016. It is located at The 1901–2000 data is listed year-by-year (or occasionally by range of years), and then the marriages are listed alphabetically by surname.

Every year from 1901–2000 has a Brides Index, which means that the file is listed alphabetically by the bride's surname or maiden name. Many (but not all) years from 1901–2000 also have a Grooms Index, which is alphabetical by the groom's surname.

The 2001–2016 section of the index is in PDF format, one file per year, but because the state had created those PDFs by doing a print-to-file directly from their actual database, you can do a text-search in those files by downloading the PDFs to your computer. This is important because these files are not in any kind of alphabetical order at all, they are just roughly chronological.

The complete announcement can be found at

Index to L’viv/Lwow Ghetto Records Online
The United States Holocaust Museum's Survivors and Victims Database has a new collection consisting of registration and work cards for Jews in the L’viv/Lwow ghetto. This collection contains alphabetically ordered identity cards for Jews who daily went to work within the city. Data includes name, date of birth, ghetto residence, occupation and workplace address.

You can view and search for names within the collection at You can request a copy of the digitized document linked to each name record and receive the relevant document in your email.

ScotlandsPeople 1935 Valuation Rolls Online
Valuation rolls for 1935 have now been added to the ScotlandsPeople website. This set of records follows ten previous releases of rolls, 1855–1930. The latest valuation rolls include more than 2.7 million indexed names and addresses for owners, tenants and occupiers of properties throughout Scotland, including a record of its annual valued rent. The total of index entries available to researchers on the ScotlandsPeople site is now over 118 million.

Valuation rolls were local tax records, listing properties and people in each Scottish county and burgh between 1855 and 1996. Additional information is at

Advantage Preservation Digitizes Library Newspaper Collections
The Ancestor Hunt reports that Advantage Preservation company has contracted with several hundred libraries across the U.S. to digitize their newspaper collections and host them online at no charge to the user. The most recent update from Advantage Preservation totals more than 465 collections from 37 states and a total number of pages exceeding 45 million. A complete list of participating libraries with links to the collections can be found with The Ancestor Hunt announcement at

The Ancestor Hunt has links to other online newspaper collections at They are primarily U.S. and Canadian newspaper sites.

Roots Tech Early-Bird Registration Discount Ends Monday, October 16.
The RootsTech early-bird registration ends Monday, October 16. Until that time registration cost in $169. Thereafter it will be $199. Register at

The conference is from February 28 to March 3, 2018, at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. There are more than 200 sessions. RootsTech is the largest attended genealogy conference in the world. Attendance estimates range from 10,000 to more than 20,000.

JewishGen Course: “Research Your Roots Using JewishGen”
JewishGen will once again give their online course: “Research Your Roots Using JewishGen.” It is designed for those researchers relatively new to JewishGen who wish to use all their databases and communication facilities to explore a family branch. As is true with most JewishGen courses, it is mentored. Students have an instructor personally responding to questions, make suggestions and assist in researching the branch 24/7. Tuition for this course is $150

A more detailed description, requirements and tuition can be found at

FamilySearch Offering Webinars on the Basics of U.S. and Canadian Research
From October 15–20, FamilySearch is offering a week of webinars on basic subjects of Canadian and U.S. research. In addition, there are lectures on using FamilySearch. There are handouts online for each session. These handouts can be useful even if you cannot attend the lecture as a checkoff list of considerations covered in the lecture topic.

Additional information is at

Attend the 38th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy

  Registration and additional information at

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