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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 19, Number49 | December 16, 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.

RootsTech to Live Stream Some of Its Lectures
Not planning to attend RootsTech 2019 in Salt Lake City this year? Don’t worry! Many of the sights and learnings from the conference will be streamed live on the internet. The list of 22 programs to be streamed can be found at

Actress Patricia Heaton will keynote at the conference on Thursday. Heaton is best known for her role as Deborah Barone on the hit sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond (1996–2005) and more recently as Frankie Heck on The Middle (2009–2018).

RootsTech will occur from February 27–March 2, 2019 at the Salt Palace Convention Center.

Nine Reasons Why You Should Be Researching Voter Records
In the early years of my family history research, I complained to Miriam Weiner that I could not find my maternal grandfather’s U.S. naturalization records. The man had lived his entire life in the U.S. on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City. Searching naturalization records for persons living in that area was unsuccessful. Miriam suggested I get his voter registration record. She said I should write (writing was the means of communication before the internet) to the New York City Board of Elections giving his name and address and a presidential election year in which he likely voted (I chose 1940). The response from the Board of Elections stated he applied for citizenship and was naturalized in the Bronx in 1927, despite the fact he arrived in New York City about 1904. I jokingly surmised that it took him so long to become a U.S. citizen because the bricklayer’s union, of which he was a member, dragged all unnaturalized members of the union to the local court house to make sure they became citizens so they could vote for the Democratic Party candidates.

The Ancestor Hunt has produced an essay on “9 Reasons Why You Should Be Researching Voter Records - A Hidden Gem.” Reason #4 states “Naturalization information - in some records from the 1800s, the date and place of naturalization is included, which can provide leads for obtaining their detailed naturalization records.”

The complete article can be found at

JewishGen to Hold Two Education Courses in January
The JewishGen Learning Center has announced two courses to be available in January.
   • “Basic 2 - Search Strategies Using Google” is a two-week text- and exercise-based course about using Google for family history research. Tuition for this class is $18. The fee will be waived for persons qualifying for JewishGen's Value Added Services, having made a $100 donation to JewishGen’s General Fund within the past 12 months. A description of the course is at
   • “Research Your Roots Using JewishGen,” is an interactive four-week course on the intricacies of JewishGen, where the instructor assists in researching a family branch of the student’s choice. A description of the course is at asp?course=40121) .

Survey Made of Jewish Cemeteries in Volhyn Region of Ukraine
Jewish Heritage Europe reports that the ESJF European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative has published online a detailed survey of Jewish cemeteries in the Volhyn region of Ukraine. The survey was carried out in October 2018. Among the findings were that 42 cemeteries out of 58 (72.5%) were destroyed, with no visible traces of their existence surviving. Of these 42, 16 cemeteries has been built upon and thus lost completely. In 26 places, the burials are fully or partially preserved. Tombstones were found in a total of 16 cemeteries. However, in most cases only a few tombstones or their fragments are preserved, while the cemeteries were destroyed.

The Jewish Heritage Europe report is at The EJSF report is at

FamilySearch Adds More Than 8 Million Records This Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, nearly 7 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 Ireland, England(†), Peru, Ukraine(†) and the U.S. states of Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Washington, West Virginia and the U.S. Veterans Administration.

The majority of the records consist of 4.4 million from the Ireland census of 1911 and 3 million from the U.S. Veterans Administration Master Index (1917–1940).

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
The only addition to the Ancestry collections this week was an update to the Modliborzyce (Poland) Ghetto Register Books received from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Back Issues of Detroit Jewish Newspapers Now Online
Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee, reports that the University of Michigan Bentley Historical Library has established a Detroit Jewish News Digital Collection containing more than 100 years of the “Detroit Jewish Chronicle” and the Detroit Jewish News. The Detroit Jewish News covers 1942 to the present and the Detroit Jewish Chronicle 1916–1951. Researchers can browse by date or use a full-text search.

Search the Historical Library database at

World War I Newspaper Clippings, 1914 to 1926, are Now Available Online
The U.S. Library of Congress has announced that there is now online a collection of World War I era newspaper clippings. They are from a single unique source: the 400-volume, 80,000-page set, “World War History: Daily Records and Comments as Appeared in American and Foreign Newspapers, 1914–1926.” Beginning with the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914, and extending to the November 11, 1918, armistice and years after, the clippings yield information about the political, social, cultural, and economic impact of the war as it is taking place and its aftermath.

A description of this new database may be found at The database itself can be searched at

Warsaw Ghetto Museum to Open in 2023
The Associated Press reports that the Warsaw Ghetto Museum should open in 2023 on the 80th anniversary of the uprising by Jews in the Warsaw ghetto. The Polish government announced plans in March to create a museum dedicated to the Jews who were imprisoned in the Warsaw ghetto. Haaretz reports that there is already controversy with some scholars concerning the focus on the museum—Germans were responsible for the murder of the Jews. During the period of the Holocaust there were also many Jews who were lost as a result of direct or indirect Polish involvement.

The Associated Press article is at The Haaretz article is at

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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