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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 19, Number 34 | September 2, 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.

Not much to report this week.

New Society: Sociedade de Genealogia Judaica do Rio de Janeiro
Nolan Altman, IAJGS Membership Development Committee Chair, has announced that a new Jewish genealogical society has formed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Sociedade de Genealogia Judaica do Rio de Janeiro. The group is still in the process of arranging their meeting schedule but will probably hold their next meeting at the end of September. The society is also considering projects to index records from local Rio de Janeiro sources. For additional information, contact their president, Charles Goldenzon 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 more than 80 organizations worldwide which provides a common voice for issues of significance to its members, to advocate for and educate about their members’ genealogical avocation, and to coordinate items such as the annual International Conference on Jewish Genealogy. For more information on IAJGS visit their website at

Free Access to Ancestry’s Yearbook Collection
Ancestry is offering free access to five yearbook records through September 7. The company states they have more than 300,000 yearbooks from all 50 states. The collection is located at

Yearbooks are published by the graduating class of a high school or college and containing photographs of class members and commemorating school activities.

Ancestry Has Lodz Ghetto Register Books
Ancestry has updated their index to Lodz Ghetto Register Books (1939–1944). They do not indicate how many new entries are in the update. This database contains details extracted from register books of streets in the Lodz ghetto. Ancestry acquired the database from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. It can be searched at

USCIS Webinar on “Indexes to Alien Case Files (A-Files) at the National Archives”
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will repeat its webinar on “Indexes to Alien Case Files (A-Files) at the National Archives,” Wednesday, September 12 at 1 pm Eastern.” There were technical difficulties with the August 23 presentation, and people may not have been able to connect at that time.

USCIS has transferred more than one million A-files to National Archives custody in Kansas City (Missouri) and San Francisco. Researchers can use the National Archives catalog and well-known genealogy research sites to search for files.

Are all the indexes the same? What information is included in each index? This webinar will discuss the index data and how to search various indexes to find an A-File at the National Archives. It will also discuss the role of the index in transferring A-Files to the Archives.

Connect on September 12 at
The webinar will not be recorded.

RootsTech Expands to London in 2019
RootsTech is expanding to international borders beginning with the United Kingdom in 2019. RootsTech will host an event in London from October 24–26, 2019 at the ExCeL London Convention Centre.

Registration for the American version of RootsTech 2019 opens on September 20, 2018. The event will be held at the Salt Lake City Convention Center February 27–March 2, 2019. Early bird pricing will be available on RootsTech registration.

The announcement of the London event can be found at rootstech-london-2019-conference/.

FamilySearch Adds “Compare-a-Face” Feature
FamilySearch asks, “Do you look like your relatives? Use our facial recognition software to find out.” FamilySearch has added a Compare-a-Face feature where you can submit a photo of yourself (or any person) and have it compared against another photo. It is located at I did not check out the feature because you are required to accept their standard Content Submission Agreement shown below.

“By submitting content to FamilySearch, you grant FamilySearch an unrestricted, fully paid-up, royalty-free, worldwide, and perpetual license to use any and all information, content, and other materials (collectively, ‘Contributed Data’) that you submit or otherwise provide to this site (including, without limitation, genealogical data and discussions and data relating to deceased persons) for any and all purposes, in any and all manners, and in any and all forms of media that we, in our sole discretion, deem appropriate for the furtherance of our mission to promote family history and genealogical research. As part of this license, you give us permission to copy, publicly display, transmit, broadcast, sublicense and otherwise distribute your Contributed Data throughout the world, by any means we deem appropriate (electronic or otherwise, including the Internet). You also understand and agree that as part of this license, we have the right to create derivative works from your Contributed Data by combining all or a portion of it with that of other contributors or by otherwise modifying your Contributed Data.”

Do You Subcribe to AVOTAYNU?
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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