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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 19, Number 23 | June 10, 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.

DNA Sales for Father’s Day
To demonstrate they are neither misogynists or misandrists, DNA testing companies are offering the same discounts for Father’s Day as they did for Mother’s Day. Here are the offerings for autosomal testing:
   • 23and me $69 until June 17 with free gift wrap
   • Ancestry $69 until June 18
   • Family Tree DNA $59 until June 18. 25% off many other products
   • MyHeritage $59 until June 17

New York City Board of Health Gives Some Relief on
Embargo of Birth and Death Records

The New York City Board of Health recently ruled that public access to birth records would not occur until 125 years after birth, and for death records 75 years after death. This ruling was made despite strong protest at hearings that the embargo periods were too long and would stifle family history researchers. The current rule provides that death records can be made available to a persons’ spouse, domestic partner, parent, child, sibling, grandparent or grandchild of the decedent.

The Board of Health has relented somewhat by allowing access to a wider range of relatives. In their report they state, “The Department believes that ascertaining facts related to one’s family history is a proper purpose.”

The proposed change, which would go into effect in 2019, would expand the group of family members who can access birth and death records prior to their public release. Specifically, the Department proposes to expand the list of relatives who can request a death certificate to also include great-great grandchildren, nephews, nieces, aunts, uncles, grandnephews, and grandnieces, and to allow spouses, domestic partners, parents of a children over the age of 18, children, siblings, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, grandnieces, and grandnephews to request certification of birth of a deceased individual.

The committee’s report can be found at

“Genealogy Databases and the Future of Criminal Investigation”
Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter notes that Science magazine has published an article about the use of public DNA databases by law enforcement officials. The introduction to the article states: “The search of a nonforensic database for law enforcement purposes has caught public attention, with many wondering how common such searches are, whether they are legal, and what consumers can do to protect themselves and their families from prying police eyes. Investigators are already rushing to make similar searches of GEDmatch in other cases, making ethical and legal inquiry into such use urgent.”

The complete article can be read at

IIJG Announces Roll-out of Family Tree of Scottish Jewry
The International Institute for Jewish Genealogy (IIJG) has announced the roll-out of the “Family Tree of Scottish Jewry” (FTSJ). The project is the culmination of a multi-year experiment, led by IIJG, to conduct a genealogical and demographic survey of a complete national Jewry, something that, as far as is known, has never been done before.

The project focused on the Jewish community of Scotland since its emergence two centuries ago, with the opening of a synagogue in Edinburgh in 1816–17. More than 100,000 Scottish Jews were traced, documented and entered into the database. This enables users to (1) locate and browse through their own family tree as far back as it is known, while offering clues to their origins and other genealogical details on the way; and (2) identify collateral Scottish relatives and determine family connections between any two people in the database. For reasons of data privacy protection, FTSJ can only be viewed at the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre in Glasgow. Information about the project can be found at

As a result of the research, aspects of the historical narrative of the Jewish community in Scotland have had to be revised, particularly as regards to their origins, numbers, transience and dispersal patterns over time. Two books on the project have been published. The first is by Kenneth Collins, entitled The Jewish Experience in Scotland: from Immigration to Integration (Glasgow, 2016). The second is a scholarly volume containing the results of the research and a series of related articles, entitled Two Hundred Years of Scottish Jewry (Glasgow, 2018), edited by Profs Kenneth Collins, Aubrey Newman and Bernard Wasserstein. Both books can be purchased through the IIJG site at

MyHeritage Experiences Security Breach
MyHeritage has announced that a security breach caused the email addresses and hashed versions of passwords to be leaked for its more than 92 million users. The company stated that there is no evidence the email addresses have been used by a third party. MyHeritage does not store customers’ credit card information and stores sensitive data such as DNA and family history information on segregated servers which weren’t breached. The company is expiring the passwords of its users to maximize security and is in the process of accelerating the introduction of the option of Two-Factor Authentication which was originally planned for July-August.

With Two-Factor Authentication, you designate a mobile phone and link it to your account by providing MyHeritage with its number. Then, any time you log in to MyHeritage from a new computer, tablet or phone, or if a month has passed since your last login, MyHeritage sends a six-digit verification code as a text (SMS) message to your mobile phone and you need to enter it on MyHeritage to complete the login successfully.

Additional information can be found at

More Announcements from MyHeritage
New Historical Records Added. I suspected that MyHeritage had added a large number of new record collections, because as a MyHeritage subscriber I was inundated with hints to more family records through the MyHeritage SuperSearch function. Part of SuperSearch is a scheme where MyHeritage informs subscribers of possible records of their family found in new collections. MyHeritage now has more than 9 billion historical records in their collection. Those items added in May include newspaper collections from Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island; a Danish Census from 1840; New Jersey Birth, Marriage and Death Indexes; and Queensland Passenger and Crew Lists. Persons who subscribe to MyHeritage will receive notifications of possible family data in the new collections through MyHeritage’s SuperSearch capability. More about the May additions can be found at 2018/06/new-historical-records-added-in-may-2018/

Pedigree View Now Available in Edit Mode. Pedigree View is MyHeritage’s method of viewing pictorially the pedigree of a person on a family tree. It was initially released as read-only. Now you can now add, edit, and delete tree profiles directly from the Pedigree View. Additional information is at

MyHeritage to Discontinue BackupMyTree and World Vital Records/Family Link.
Effective September 1, 2018, BackupMyTree and World Vital Records/Family Link will be discontinued. BackupMyTree is a free service offered by MyHeritage for backing up family trees. World Vital Records/Family Link was a predecessor to MyHeritage’s SuperSearch. Any current subscriber of these services is entitled to a free Data subscription on MyHeritage for the same duration. Additional information is at

The Ancestor Hunt Now Has 126 Obituary and Obituary Index Links from Canada
The Ancestor Hunt has updated its links and now has 126 obituary and obituary index links from Canada. It also has 1.275 links to obituary and obituary index links from the United States. The Canadian links can be found at The U.S. links are at obituary-index-links-from-the-us.

European Commission Plans to Document Jewish Cemeteries in Europe
Jewish Heritage Europe reports that the European Commission of the European Union has issued a Call for Applications for a major pilot project to document Jewish cemeteries in Europe and monitor best practices in preservation. The work program foresees a pilot project aimed at conducting a broad sample survey of at least 1,500 Jewish cemeteries in selected European countries, identifying good practices for their preservation as well as proposing a model for their successful safeguarding.

Additional information can be found at

New JGS in Northeast Florida
The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) has announced the creation of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Northeast Florida. The group meets monthly in the auditorium at River Garden Senior Services, 11401 Old St. Augustine Road, Jacksonville, Florida. Some of the group’s upcoming meetings will include discussions on the first Jewish families in Jacksonville and the possibility that some of the early settlers in 1565 St. Augustine were conversos. Additionally, later this summer they plan to screen some documentary films with Jewish genealogy content.

For more information about the Jacksonville, Florida society, see their website at or their Facebook group “Jewish Genealogy Society of Northeast Florida” 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. For more information on IAJGS, visit their website at

JewishGen Offers Course on New York Research
JewishGen is again offering its monitored course on New York research. The program focuses on immigrant ancestors and their immediate families in the U.S. It features eight online text lessons which can be read/downloaded at your own pace and a unique conversational forum for questions & answers. The forum is open 24/7; there are no set times because the students are international.

Course details, instructor’s credentials and student requirements (time, fee, prerequisites) are on the education page at or the course page at

FamilySearch Adds More Than 2.5 Million Records This Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, more than 2.5 million indexed records and images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. Those identified with a dagger (†) are Christian-only records. They include records from Australia, Denmark, Honduras, Hungary, India(†), Liberia, Peru, Portugal(†), Sweden(†), and the U.S. states of Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Ohio, New Jersey and New York. Also, BillionGraves Index has added more than 600,000 indexed records and images.

Most notable for persons with Jewish family history are 1,825 records added to Hungary, Jewish Vital Records Index, 1800–1945; 772,084 index records added to New York, Southern District, U.S District Court Naturalization Records, 1824–1946; and the start of a new index collection: New Jersey Naturalization Records, 1796–1991.

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.

New Collections at
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
Alabama, Surname Files Expanded, 1702–1981

Updated Collections
Fife, Scotland, Electoral Registers, 1914–1966
Poland, Lodz Ghetto Transportation Lists, 1939–1944 (USHMM)
Kentucky, Death Records, 1852–1965

Warsaw Conference Has a New Logo
The Warsaw conference has a new logo, shown below. It consists of a slice of the Old Town of Warsaw which was devastated during WWII depicted in red and white, the colors of Poland's flag. The sky above includes six stars, commemorating the six million Jews who died in the Shoah (Holocaust). The conference name and basic information is displayed above the historical imagery in a rainbow shape signifying hope for the future.

The conference is hosted by the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, its 38th annual conference. It is also co-hosted by the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews and the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute of Warsaw, in association with the Polish State Archives.

Attend the 38th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy

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