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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 19, Number 48 | December 9, 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.

JewishGen Adds Ability to Save Searches
JewishGen has added the ability to save search requests. At the bottom of any search result, there is a link stating “Save this as a favorite search.” The searches can then be accessed after logging in via the “My Profile” link at the top right of the page.

JewishGen also announced some statistics as to its size.
   • Databases – Approximately 30 million records.
   • JewishGen Family Finder – Searched more than 1 million times per year, and contains more than half a million entries from more than 100,000 researchers.
   • Discussion Groups – More than 10,000 subscribers to 35 groups. More than 100,000 messages archived.
   • Family Tree of the Jewish People – More than 7 million records.
   • Yizkor Book Project – English translation of 152 Yizkor Books completed, including nearly 20 in the past year. More than 70 are available to be purchased in hard cover.
   • KehilaLinks – Nearly 1,000 towns now have web pages
  • Jewish Communities Database – Information on more than 6,000 Jewish communities around the world.

You can donate money to JewishGen’s growth at

Top 4 Costs Family Historians Face and How to Avoid Them
Family History Daily has written an essay on “Top 4 Costs Family Historians Face and How to Avoid Them.” They are:
   • Access to Genealogy Records
   • Family Tree Programs
   • Record and Photo Scanners
   • DNA Testing and Reports

While the essay identifies ways to avoid costs, it also notes that where there is a fee involved, the cost can be justified by what you receive.

The article can be found at

Research on Names of Auschwitz Inmates
The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum is now receiving direct access to the entire International Tracing Service (ITS) database. By way of their direct access to the ITS’s document holdings, the Auschwitz archive staff will be able to carry out targeted searches for references to transports from and to Auschwitz and thus gather more information about the inmates. To this end, they will evaluate deportation lists, personal inmate documents, death certificates and reports. The results will be included in the documentation of the Auschwitz inmates on the museum website. The research project is slated to last two years and will come to a preliminary close with a jointly organized conference.

The complete announcement can be found at

Latest Prices for Autosomal DNA Testing
Here are the latest prices from the major firms:
   • 23andMe. $69 Offer ends December 25.
   • Ancestry. $59. Buy 3 kits, get 1 free.
   • MyHeritage. $59.
   • Family Tree DNA. $49. Offer ends December 31. Other DNA services are also discounted. Use MERRY5 to get an additional 5% off purchase if under $100. Use MERRY10 to get an additional 10% off purchase if more than $100.

Call For Papers: 39th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy
The wheels are starting to roll for the next annual conference on Jewish genealogy: the 39th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy to be held from July 28–August 2, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. The conference planners have issued a Call For Papers to be presented at the conference.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Jews in America’s Heartland.” The following tracks will get preference for presentations:
   • Westward Ho! - Jewish settlement between the Alleghenies and the Rockies.
   • Cleveland Rocks! - Cleveland Resources for Family Research
   • DNA: What is it, and how can it help you?
   • The Shoah: Resources for Finding Your Family
   • Discovering Your Family History – Where do I begin? – A track for beginners.

Prospective speakers are asked to submit proposals for presentation by January 20, 2019. All the information needed to get started is under the Call for Papers menu choice under the Speakers tab on the conference website at

The complete announcement is at

Tomasz Wisniewski Awarded 2018 POLIN Poland Award
Tomasz Wisniewski of Bialystok has been awarded the 2018 POLIN Poland award, presented by the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. The award is granted to individuals, organizations and institutions that have contributed to the revival of the memory of the history of Polish Jews.

During 2018, Wisniewski also received the award of the Marshal of the Podlasie Voivodship and several awards for his films. He states that his website,, receives about 50,000 hits per month. His site at includes old maps, information about cemeteries in Poland and photographs from the Holocaust period.

Using the keyword “bagnowka” on YouTube, you will discover many films about the Jewish presence in Poland and interviews with Polish Christians who recall the days when they witnessed the Jews of their town being deported or rounded up and shot. One of Wisnieski’s goals is to establish a Jewish Museum in Bialystok.

A version of the announcement can be found at mazel-tov-to-tomasz-wisniewski/

Jewish Cemeteries in Poland to Be Mapped and Entered into an Online Database
The Polish government will place border markers in some 1,400 Jewish cemeteries in Poland. All cemeteries will be mapped and placed in a database that will be available to the public. About 200 out of the approximately 1,400 Jewish cemeteries in Poland are fenced, but markers should be erected as many fences have begun to crumble.

Using a bar code placed on the memorial stones, visitors will be able to learn about the history of the place and the cemetery, the mapping, the boundaries, and the persons that are buried there.

The announcement can be found at

Legacy Family Tree Webinars to Include Closed Captioning
Legacy Family Tree Webinars has announced the addition of closed captioning to its programs. It is currently available as an option for all live and members-only webinar recordings released since May 1, 2018. In addition, the most popular 50 webinars on the platform and all MyHeritage-specific webinars have been captioned.

Future plans include the hosting of webinars in non-English languages as well as the translation of English captions to select foreign languages.

Additional information can be found at

Reminder: Conference on “Genealogy and the Sciences” in Israel
Weizmann Institute in Israel will host a conference on “Genealogy and the Sciences” on December 17–18. The announcement states that during the last few years, the discipline of genealogy has undergone a mutation, and currently appears to be turning into a rich academic field. The main driving force behind this recent transformation is the vast amount of developments in the “hard sciences”: molecular biology, information technology, statistical physics, mathematics, and more.

The full program may be found at:

Discount Offered for RootsTech Conference Registration
RootsTech is offering a discount on their registration through December 23. Normally it is $299 for the four-day conference. Until December 23 it is $179 by using the promotional code 19HOLIDAY.

RootsTech will be held February 27 – March 2 at the Salt Lake City Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah. It claims to be the largest genealogy conference in the world with tens of thousands of persons attending the event.

Register at

FamilySearch Adds an Astounding 47.2 Million Records This Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, more than 47.2 million indexed records, can be found at They are from 38 of the United States and additions to the Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Civil Registration, 1829–2012. This site provides direct links to the individual collections. Researchers looking for U.S. records should examine the entire list.

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.

MyHeritage Adds More Than 51 Million Records in November
In November MyHeritage has added more than 51 million new historical records. They include:
   • Sweden Household Examination Books, 1860–1947 Update
   • New York Marriages Index, 1950–2017
   • West Virginia Birth Index, 1853–1914
   • Ohio Death Index, 1913–1944, 1954–1963
   • U.S. Naturalization Record Index, Northern Illinois, 1840–1950
   • U.S. Naturalization Record Index, New England, 1791–1906
   • Queensland, Australia Pupils Index 1866 to 2003.

In addition, numerous newspaper collections have been updated.

The complete announcement is at /new-historical-records-added-in-november-2018/.

Broken Link: Donations to the Joint Distribution Committee
The last issue of Nu? What’s New? had a broken link for persons wishing to donate to the efforts of the Joint Distribution Committee. The correct link is

Contribute to the Success of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy
Help support a dynamic institution that in its brief existence already has been the catalyst for such benefits to Jewish genealogy as the Beider-Morse Phonetic Matching System,  Sephardic DNA and Migration project, inventorying the Paul Jacobi Collection of 400 prominent Ashkenazic lineages, the Proposed Standard for Names, Dates and Places in a Genealogical Database, and a system for Integrating Genealogical Datasets.

Visit the IIJG website at and read about these developments, as well as  ongoing and proposed projects.

Make your tax-deductible contribution by credit card or PayPal at Click the Donate link. If you prefer, mail a check to Avotaynu Foundation,  794 Edgewood Ave., New Haven, CT 06515, USA. Make the check payable to “Friends of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy.” Donations are tax deductible for U.S. taxpayers.
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