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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 19, Number 20 | May 20, 2018

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.

The Ancestor Hunt Provides Links to Canadian Vital Records Sites
The Ancestor Hunt has identified 147 websites that have data on Canadian birth, marriage and death records. The list can be found at record-collection-links-from-canada. At the website there are links to three articles about vital records:
   • 27 Ways to Find Ancestor Birth Information
   • 22 Ways to Find Ancestors Marriage Information
   • 21 Ways to Find Ancestors Death Information

Virtual Genealogical Society Formed
A Virtual Genealogical Society has been formed whose only presence is on the internet. The group has already planned 15 lectures starting in June and a virtual conference November 1–3, 2019. The society defines itself as a global organization serving family history enthusiasts of all levels, geared towards those:
   • whose circumstances make it difficult to attend local genealogical society meetings
   • who prefer online presentations, special interest groups (SIGs), conferences, and socializing
   • with an interest in connecting, networking, and mentoring with global genealogists

The society does not view itself as a substitute for the usual land-based genealogical societies which they note provide unique benefits that include:
   • Access to their local database of records and indexes
   • Mentorship from society members with expertise in local records and repositories
   • Field trips to area repositories

The society’s website is at

European DNA Sites Shutting Down Because of General Data Protection Regulation
Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee, reports that three genealogical firms are closing due to the privacy provisions of and compliance with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The regulation goes into effect May 23. The firms are World Famous Network, Y-Search and Mitosearch. GDPR has strict regulations about privacy and right-to-be-forgotten. The European Union claims the regulation applies globally.

Additional information can be found at To read the previous IAJGS Records Access Alert postings about the European Union's GDPR, privacy issues, and more go to You must be registered to access the archives.

Article Explains Site Search Feature of Google
Are you familiar with the Site Search feature of Google? It allows searching a specific website rather than the entire internet. Family History Daily has published an article about the feature. It is located at search-genealogy-sites-with-google/.

Even if you are familiar with the feature, have you ever used it to search a vast website such as I did a JewishGen site search for the Mokotow ancestral town of Warka and came up with 224 hits. If you are researching an unusual surname, search JewishGen for all occurrences of the name. The surname Mokotow produces 65 hits at the JewishGen site, many of which I was unaware existed.

USCIS Creates Video About Ellis Island
The United states Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has created a 30-minute documentary video, “USCIS and the Legacy of Ellis Island.” It can be accessed at While most documentaries about Ellis Island describe the immigrant experience, this video tells the story from the perspective of those who worked there.

“USCIS holds a distinctive place in history for its role in processing immigrants into the fabric of our nation,” USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna said to employees at the premiere. “It remains an undisputable fact that America is a nation of immigrants. As employees, we all have an essential duty in honoring and preserving that legacy.”

The announcement can be found at highlighting-its-historic-connections-ellis-island.

New Jewish Genealogical Society Located in Hungary
The Jewish Genealogy Group of the Tiszafüredi Menóra Nyílt Alapítvány is the newest member of the growing family of IAJGS organizations. Tiszafüredi Menóra Nyílt Alapítvány is a foundation located in Tiszafüred, Hungary, which has a web presence at The foundation has a public Facebook group at For more information about the Hungary group, contact Karesz Vandor at

The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) was formed in 1988 as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. IAJGS is an umbrella group of organizations which provides a common voice for issues of significance to its members, to advocate for and educate about our genealogical avocation, and to coordinate items such as the annual International Conference on Jewish Genealogy. This summer’s conference is in Warsaw in August ( For more information on IAJGS, visit their website at

FamilySearch Adds Nearly 200K Records This Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, nearly 200,000 indexed records, can be found at They are all updates to indexes for collections from Australia, Brazil, Kentucky, Luxembourg, Oklahoma, and Peru.

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.

No New Collections at – Free Access to UK Records
Ancestry has added/updated no new records during the past week.

Free Access to UK Records to Honor Victoria Day. In recognition of the Canadian holiday, Victoria Day, Ancestry Canada is offering free access to all UK records through Monday, May 21, 2018. Link to the offer

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Each year AVOTAYNU publishes more than 300 pages of useful, interesting information about Jewish family history research that can help you in your research. Now in its 33rd year, an index to the first 24 volumes is available to all the major articles.

Published quarterly, our contributing editors from 15 countries throughout the world regularly gather important information that appears in our issues. Our publishers, Gary Mokotoff and Sallyann Amdur Sack, are on a first name basis with officials at institutions containing genealogical data throughout the world. 
Some institutions are U.S. National Archives, U.S. Library of Congress, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Leo Baeck Institute,  Yad Vashem and  Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People.

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