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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 20, Number 8 | February 24, 2019
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.

GEDCOM Importing Returns to Geni
A posting to the Geni blog notes that the GEDCOM import feature has returned to Geni. The company stated that this has been one of the most requested features on Geni. The capability was abandoned in 2011 to avoid duplication of profiles in the Geni World Family Tree. The company states that a new and improved importer has been rewritten to import a few generations at a time, continuing only on branches where there are no matches to existing profiles on Geni.

The complete announcement can be found at imports-on-geni-3103096.html.

Two More New York Area Cemeteries Online
Neighboring Beth Moses and Wellwood cemeteries in Farmingdale, New York, now have their burials online. Information provided is name of deceased, date of death, site within cemetery and, if applicable, society that owns burial area. The two sites are and They have similar web designs.

Other New York area cemeteries online identified by JewishGen include:
   • Montefiore Cemetery, Springfield Gardens, Queens County, N.Y.
   • Mount Ararat Montefiore Cemetery, North Lindenhurst, N.Y.
   • Mount Carmel, Glendale, Queens County, N.Y.
   • Mount Hebron, Flushing, Queens County, N.Y.
   • Mount Judah, Ridgewood, Queens County, N.Y.
   • Mount Lebanon, Glendale, Suffolk County, N.Y.
   • Mount Moriah, Fairview, N.J.
   • Mount Zion, Maspeth, Queens County, N.Y.
   • New Montefiore Cemetery, Pinelawn, Suffolk County, N.Y.
Links to the websites of these cemeteries can be found at

Winter Issue of Avotaynu In the Mail
The Winter issue of AVOTAYNU is in the mail. Persons whose subscriptions expired in 2018 will find a yellow renewal form included with the issue.

For non-subscribers, today is the last day to take advantage of a special offer to receive six issues of the journal for the price of four. You will receive the Fall issue immediately, the Winter issue when we receive copies from the printer, and all four issues of 2019 as they are published.

The cost of a six-issue subscription is only $38.00—the cost of a four-issue subscription—instead of $53.00, a $15 saving. Non-U.S./Canada subscribers can subscribe for only $46 instead of $65, a $19 saving. Go to Order now!!

DNA Has Become a Popular Topic
DNA and its implications are now a regular topic in the news headlines.
   • The Washington Post has a feature article on a number of crimes solved by using genealogy DNA databases
   • The television show Finding Your Roots included the family history of former Speaker of the House of Representatives. Paul Ryan. It included a DNA test that showed he had significant Ashkenazic Jewish roots.
   • The FamilySearch blog recently has included four articles on DNA. They can be found at They are:
      – What Is DNA?—A Molecule That Links Generations
      – DNA Cousin Matches Can Lead to Family History Discoveries
      – Connecting with Your Biological Family through DNA Testing
      – Overcoming Brick Walls in Your Family Tree with a Genealogy DNA Test

DNA As a Tool For Genealogists Diluted by Public Involvement
In the early days of DNA testing, most of the participants were family historians looking for collateral relatives who might have information about their ancestors. This has changed with the public infatuation with DNA testing. My personal experience today in chasing down DNA matches is that invariably the match is with a curiosity seeker who knows little about their ancestry. They have not researched their family history and their knowledge is from personal memory.

A Small Lesson in Autosomal DNA Testing
FamilyTreeDNA has identified in their Family Finder (autosomal) DNA test database, 20,153 contributors that might be close kin to me. Interestingly, it does not include a member of the Mokotow family who is a remote relative: fourth cousin twice removed. We share Y-DNA within two markers.

I queried Adam Brown, a DNA maven, about this situation and his response was “Yes, very reasonable. You and your fourth cousin twice removed have had your autosomal sliced and diced repeatedly since your common 4G grandparent who probably lived 200 years ago. Y-DNA does not go through that process and varies not because of recombination, but chance variation.”

JewishGen Guide to Canadian Jewish Genealogical Research Updated
One of the many valuable resource on JewishGen are Infofiles located at These were written by experts on more than 100 topics and 34 countries. The “Guide to Canadian Jewish Genealogical Research” has just been updated. There are 22 topics at the site, to name five: census records, passenger manifests, border crossing records, naturalization and vital records. The Guide can be accessed at

Vernon Directories for Ontario to Be Digitized
The Ontario Genealogical Society and Library and Archives Canada are working with FamilySearch to digitize the historical Vernon directories for the province of Ontario. Vernon directories were published yearly, by city, from the 1890s to 2014, missing only 2010, when the company’s ownership changed. They cover most of Ontario, including the province’s capital city of Toronto.

The directories are a resource for researchers, because they list the names of local residents, their spouses, addresses, and sometimes even an individual’s title or position held at work. The name “Vernon directories” is derived from the name of the publisher. The initiative will take two years and encompass an estimated 1,300 directories.

The complete announcement can be found at

12 Genealogy Sites You Must Search If You Have UK Ancestors
Do you have people on your family tree who live(d) in the UK but are unfamiliar with the resources to get records of these individuals? Family History Daily has published an essay on “12 Genealogy Sites You Must Search If You Have UK Ancestors.” It can be found at resources/uk-ancestry-records/.

Do You Have a UK Criminal Ancestor on Your Family Tree?
Do you have a British criminal ancestor on your family tree? The UK National Archives has 16(!) research guides on the internet to help find out information about this notorious relative. Learn how to find court records and all sorts of related documents containing details of everything from wills and divorces to criminals and crime. Discover, for example, how to find army court martial records, prison registers or trace convicts sent to Australia. The site is located at

The World’s Largest Shared Family Tree Is…
FamilySearch is boasting that they are home to the world’s largest online shared family tree. Known as the FamilySearch Family Tree, this shared family tree is home to information about more than 1.2 billion people. FamilySearch’s unified family tree differs from the tree-building experience at most other websites. Instead of concentrating efforts on privately constructing their own individual trees, FamilySearch tree builders cooperate to build a single, shared tree that helps you and others discover more about ancestors and other family members., with 129 million records, has a similar goal.

The news announcement can be found at

FamilySearch Adds More Than 5.7 Million Indexed Records This Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, more than 5.7 million indexed records, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Colombia, Italy, Switzerland, and the United States: California, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa (almost 5 million new military records), New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Rosters of Revolutionary War Soldiers and Sailors.

Most notable for persons with Jewish family history are additions to the index of New York, County Naturalization Records, 1791–1980.

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. Adds British WWII Alien Internees to Its Site
Ancestry has added a database of foreign nationals interned by the British government during World War II. The company states that a large number of internees were made up of German and Austrian Jews. I found a Polish Mokotow within the collection. Included for Samuel Mokotow was his name, date/place of birth, occupation, place of residence and other matters pertaining to his internment. The collection can be found at dbid=61665.

Ancestry also updated their collection: England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858–1995

New Genealogy Search Engine: KinCrawler
Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter notes there is a new genealogy- only search engine called KinCrawler, located at I searched for “Gary Mokotoff” using the new engine and got only eight results. The problem is the newness of the site and its approach to defining what is a genealogy site. For example, it has yet to include JewishGen among the sites “solely devoted to genealogy.”

The Eastman announcement can be found at search-engine-at-kincrawler-com/. A more mature site is located at

Make sure the members of your family who were murdered in the Holocaust are not  forgotten. Submit a Page of Testimony in thier memory to The Shoah Victims' Name Recovefr Project. Go to Click the words "Submit Pages of Testimony Online" or “Download Page of Testimony Forms.”

Pages of Testimony are special forms created by Yad Vashem to restore the personal identities and to record the brief life stories of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis and their accomplices. These one-page forms, containing the names, biographical details and, when available, photographs, of each individual victim are essentially symbolic "tombstones". Since its inception Yad Vashem has worked tirelessly to fulfill our moral imperative to remember every single victim as a human being, and not merely a number.  To date there are some two million seven hundred thousand names recorded on Pages of Testimony, written in more than twenty languages, stored for perpetuity in the circular repository around the outer edge of the Hall of Names. Many shelves remain empty bearing witness to the millions of individuals who have yet to be memorialized.
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