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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 19, Number 47 | December 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.

Happy Chanukah!!

Last Chance to Buy Selected Books Published by Avotaynu for 40–74% Discount
Avotaynu’s Black Friday sale of selected books we published ends Monday December 3. Order now. We are in short supply of some books, and when a book goes out of print, it will not be reprinted. Go to and purchase books from that page only. Important note: If you order from any other page, you will pay full price. The page includes a link to more detailed information about a specific book.

Subscribe to AVOTAYNU Also
If you do not subscribe to our journal AVOTAYNU, subscribe now and receive the Fall and Winter 2018 issues and all four 2019 issues for the price of a one-year subscription. Six issues for the price of four. Subscribe now at

Books on Black Friday sale:
Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy. Written by more than 60 authors, each an expert in his/her own field. It has more than 100 chapters on virtually every aspect of Jewish family history research. A must for any serious genealogist. $85.00 Now only $49.00, a 43% discount.

A Practical Guide to Jewish Cemeteries. Sold out!!

Every Family Has a Story. Human interest stories published in AVOTAYNU in the past 20 years—72 in all—about how genealogy affected people's lives. $37.00 Now only $22.00, a 40% discount.

Dictionary of Ashkenazic Given Names. This magnum opus describes origin and evolution of 15,000 given names. The 100-page introduction was Dr. Alexander Beider’s doctoral thesis at the Sorbonne. $85.00 Now only $49.00, a 43% discount.

Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Galicia. Identifies 35,000 surnames from Galicia. The introductory section describes how Jews from the region acquired hereditary surnames and dispels many myths including derogatory surnames. $85.00 Now only $49.00, a 43% discount.

A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Russian Empire: Revised Edition. Comprehensive collection of Jewish surnames from Czarist Russia—74,000 in total. Its 200-page introductory discusses the origin and evolution of Jewish surnames in Eastern Europe. Two vols. $118.00 Now only $59.00, a 50% discount.

Jewish Personal Names. Roots of more than 1,200 Jewish given names showing Yiddish/Hebrew variants with English transliteration. $15.00 Now only $9.00, a 40% discount.

A Dictionary of German-Jewish Surnames. More than 13,000 surnames from pre-World War I Germany. $89.00 Now only $49.00, a 45% discount.

Russian-Jewish Given Names: Their Origins and Variants. Collection of Jewish given names from czarist Russia. $35.00 Now only 19.00, a 46% discount.

Where Once We Walked: Revised Edition. Award-winning gazetteer of Central and Eastern Europe. Mostly replaced by JewishGen’s Communities Database, but still has value in providing Jewish population before the Holocaust and cites as many as 50 books that reference the town. Also advantages of a book vs. computer screen. $85.00 Now only $35.00, a 59% discount.

Biographical Dictionary of Canadian Jewry: 1909–1914. Births, bar mitzvahs, marriages, deaths and other records of Canadian Jewry. $35.00 $15.00, a $58% discount.

Library Resources for German-Jewish Genealogy. Concise directory of library sources in Germany and the Internet. $20.00 Now only $9.00, a 55% discount.

Jewish Vital Records, Revision Lists in the Lithuanian Archives. Inventory of Jewish records in the Lithuanian State Archives. $35.00 Now only 9.00, a 74% discount.

Eliyahu's Branches. More than 20,000 descendants of the Vilna Gaon with analysis of the early descendants of this great scholar. $69.50 Now only $35.00, a 49% discount.

Year-End Is Approaching: Help Support Your Genealogy Non-Profits
Have you made your annual contribution to the genealogy non-profit organizations that assist you in your family history research? I contributed to 22 non-profit organizations in 2017 of which eight were—at least in part—valuable to my family history research. They were:
   • International Institute for Jewish Genealogy
   • JewishGen
   • Jewish Genealogical Society (New York)
   • American Joint Distribution Committee
   • JRI-Poland
   • Reclaim The Records
   • United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
   • Yad Vashem

At the JewishGen site, you can designate the donation to the General Fund and/or a Special Interest Group or project. Litvak SIG and Gesher Galicia have their own donation pages.

Click on the organization’s name above and it will link you to their donation page.

IIJG Launches Its Annual Appeal for Support
The International Institute for Jewish Genealogy (IIJG) has launched its 2018–19 annual appeal for your support. The institution continues to have a major effect on Jewish genealogy through its programs and activities, aimed at expanding the horizons of Jewish genealogy. It is currently gearing up for an international conference on “Genealogy and the Sciences”, which it is sponsoring at the renowned Weizmann Institute of Science on December 17–18. Early next year it is publishing, under the AVOTAYNU imprint, a massive 4-volume series, entitled The Jacobi Papers, containing more than 100 of the invaluable genealogical studies that the late Paul Jacobi made into leading Ashkenazi families. IIJG is a one-of-its-kind institution in the Jewish genealogical world and truly worthy of your support.

Make your tax-deductible contribution by credit card or PayPal at Optionally, Americans can mail a check to Avotaynu Foundation, 794 Edgewood Ave., New Haven, CT 06515. Make the check payable to “Friends of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy.” Contributions are tax deductible for U.S. taxpayers.

Reclaim The Records Wants More New York State Marriage Indexes
Reclaim The Records (RTR) is suing the New York State Department of Health for a copy of the State Marriage Index 1966–2017. A previous successful law suit entitled them to a copy of the marriage index from 1881–1965. RTR has already placed online the years 1881–1952 at

Other pending RTR law suits to gain access to public records are:
   • New York State Department of Health regarding possible preferential treatment in records access to
   • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, for the Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem (BIRLS) death file. This is a Veterans Benefits Administration database that provides information on deceased individuals including name, birth and death dates, branch of service, and enlistment and release dates.
   • Missouri Sunshine Law case against the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services for the state birth index 1910–2016 and the state death index 1965–2016
   • New York City Municipal Archive for the Brooklyn “Old Town” records. These are records before Brooklyn formally became part of New York City.

Donations to Reclaim The Records can be made at

Latest Prices for Autosomal DNA Testing
“Our Holiday Sale Has Begun!” shouts Family Tree DNA. With Veterans (Armistice) Day and Thanksgiving behind us, we have Chanukah, Christmas and New Year’s Day to look forward to for discounts on DNA testing services. Here are the latest prices from the major firms:

23andMe. $69. Offer ends December 25.
Ancestry. $59.
Family Tree DNA. $49. Offer ends December 31. Other DNA services are also discounted.
MyHeritage. $49.

MyHeritage LIVE 2018 Lectures Now Online!
From November 2–4, MyHeritage held a conference in Oslo, Norway, whose purpose was to give attendees a better understanding of the company’s products. Now these lectures are online and can be viewed at no charge. The complete announcement, including links to the various lectures, can be found at

MyHeritage Extends Free DNA Uploads to December 16
Ever since MyHeritage began offering DNA services, they have provided their users the ability to upload their DNA data for free. These users then received DNA Matches and ethnicity estimates on MyHeritage at no charge, a benefit not offered by any of the other major companies. This was to end December 1. The company has just extended the deadline for free DNA uploads to December 16. After that date, DNA Matching will remain free for uploaded DNA data, but unlocking additional DNA features will require an extra payment for DNA results uploaded after that date.

Additional information can be found at

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
Eberswalde, Germany, Marriages, 1874–1936
Nuremberg, Germany, Marriages, 1876–1925
Nuremberg, Germany, Births, 1876–1905
Nuremberg, Germany, Deaths, 1876–1983
Poland, Lodz Ghetto Register Books, 1939–1944 (USHMM)
Ukraine, Jewish Community of Kolomyia, 1939–1945 (USHMM)

Updated Collections
New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907–2018
Ontario, Canada, Marriages, 1826–1936
Ontario, Canada, Deaths and Deaths Overseas, 1869–1946
Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906–1966
Quebec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621–1968
South Dakota, Marriages, 1905–2017
UK, WWI Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914–1923
U.S., Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Church Records, 1781–1969

USHMM Adds Sachsenhausen Documents to Collection
Peter Lande reports that the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has added digitized documents for 23,302 name records in the collection “Sachsenhausen Strength Reports” to the Holocaust Survivors and Victims (HSV) database. You can search/request at, and immediately receive digital copies of the original documents in your email.

New Documentary About History of Russian Jews Online at YouTube
A new documentary series called Russian Jews, chronicling the history of Russian Jewish life, is now available on YouTube. It is in three segments each 1½–2 hours in length. The three segments are:
   • Before the Revolution.
   • 1918–1948.
   • After 1948.

I watched a portion of the Before the Revolution and found it valuable background information for genealogists who know little about the environment in which Jews lived in Russia before immigrating to other countries.

FamilySearch Has Virginia Jewish Cemetery Records Index, ca. 1800–1986
An index to FamilySearch’s Virginia Jewish Cemetery Records Index, ca. 1800–1986 can be found at

New Book: The Canadian Jewish Experience (CJE): A Tribute to Canada
On December 16, Library and Archives Canada will launch the publication of a book, The Canadian Jewish Experience (CJE): A Tribute to Canada. During 2017, Canada's 150th anniversary year, a team of Jewish Canadians set out to celebrate the country and the many contributions of its Jewish citizens. They created a panel exhibition entitled The Canadian Jewish Experience (CJE): A Tribute to Canada that travelled from coast to coast. This book is a record of the exhibition and of the activities associated with its journey.
Additional information is at

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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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