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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 19, Number 37 | September 23, 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.

Extraterritoriality Applies to Me, But Not You
Some years ago, the U.S. courts ruled that Google could extract snippets from copyrighted material without violating copyright law. (See The courts further ruled that their decision was extraterritorial, that is, it applied to works copyrighted anywhere in the world. Needless to say, other countries, including those of the European Union were upset about the extraterritoriality of the decision.

Now the shoe is on the other foot. Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee, reports that the French Data Regulator, Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertės, previous determination that their 2015 ruling on right to be forgotten is extraterritorial—in other words not only in France but globally. Google was fined 100,000 Euros for non-compliance.

Allen notes in her column that an editorial in the newspaper, The Guardian, states, “Human Rights organization Article 19 guarantees free speech and fears that access to all sorts of media and information could be severely restricted if states such as China, Russia and Saudi Arabia adopt a similar approach. Further, the executive director of Article 19 states: “European data regulators should not be allowed to decide what internet users around the world find when they use a search engine. The [court] must limit the scope of the right to be forgotten in order to protect the right of internet users around the world to access information online.”

See the Guardian editorial at

UK National Archives Has Photo Collection Online
The UK National Archives has a collection of more than 50,000 high-resolution digitized images available to browse and buy. Searching for “Jewish” or “Jew” resulted in a large collection of Holocaust-era documents and photographs. Other examples include a map of the proposed partition of British Mandate Palestine which shows the vast majority of the area to be “Arab lands.”

Search the images at action/viewPromotedAssets.

“10 Ways To Get Children Excited About Family History”
The BillionGraves blog includes an article titled “10 Ways To Get Children Excited About Family History.” Fun way #1 is “Take photos (with them) in your family cemetery”!! Other suggestions are more plausible including telling family stories and giving family heirlooms as gifts. I wear my late father’s bar mitzvah ring. I plan to give it to my grandson, who is named after him, when my grandson reaches adulthood.

The article can be found at

Report Some People Upset About Ancestry DNA New Ethnicity Evaluations
Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter notes that an article appeared in the Detroit Free Press stating Ancestry DNA’s new ethnicity rules are generating complaints from some customers. Most of the complaints in the news article were from users with known Italian ancestry who found their Italian ethnicity to decline dramatically. One person stated, “I went from being 20% Italian to 5%. My bio-mom was 50% Italian and I have traced the family tree many generations on her maternal and paternal lines. What gives?”
You can read the article at ancestry-dna-update-ethnicity/1343953002/.

AncestryDNA Integrates Music with Heritage
AncestryDNA has partnered with Spotify to create a custom playlist based on your ethnicity. You would think that users with European Jewish heritage would hear a rendition of “Hava Nageela” or the magnificent rendition of “Avinu Malkeinu” by Barbra Streisand. Instead you hear conventional tunes by Jewish artists: Bob Dylan singing “Like a Rolling Stone,” Paul Simon singing “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.”

Listen to music from variious ethnicities at

Joods Monument (Jewish Monument) Commemorates Dutch Holocaust Victims
The Joods Monument (Jewish Monument) website commemorates the more than 104,000 persons who were persecuted as Jews in the Netherlands and did not survive the Holocaust. The website states, Within this monument, visitors, editors, family members and historians work together to combine stories and memories.” Visitors are encouraged to upload images and documents, write new stories or complete and restore familial connections. The Monument also enables you to contact family members and/or other users of this site. There is a search engine.

The English-language version of the site is located at

Registration Is Open for RootsTech 2019
Registration is now open for the RootsTech 2019 conference. The conference will be held February 27–March 2, 2019, at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 2018, the event attracted more than 27,000 attendees from all 50 U.S. states and 47 different countries. Early bird discount pricing is available until October 12 on 4-day passes at just $189 (a $110 discount on regularly priced passes).

The conference planners note, “RootsTech 2019 will offer attendees a full lineup of inspiring and well-known keynote speakers; over 300 informative sessions, including hands-on computer lab classes taught by industry professionals; interactive activities and helpful exhibitors in the expo hall; and entertaining evening events—all designed to inspire and empower personal family discoveries.”

Additional information is available at

FamilySearch Adds Nearly 3 Million Records This Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, nearly 3 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, Colombia(†), England(†), France, Italy, Peru, Sweden(†), Wales, and the United States (California, Georgia, Idaho, Minnesota, New Mexico, and border crossings from Canada to United States). More than half the additions are 1.7 million indexed immigrants and passenger lists records from Australia.

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.

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.

Subscribe now at

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