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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 20, Number 19 | May 12, 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.

Happy Mother’s Day

No Edition of “Nu? What’s New?” Next Week
There will be no edition of “Nu? What’s New?” next week. We are taking some time off from the day-to-day operations of Avotaynu.

Pages of Testimony Now Part of MyHeritage Records Match
I was pleasantly surprised this week when my latest email from MyHeritage’s Record Match system included a Page of Testimony. Daniel Horowitz of MyHeritage confirmed that these matches with the Yad Vashem Pages of Testimony database have been part of Record Match for the past few weeks.

When I clicked on “Review Match” it took me directly to that Page of Testimony at the Yad Vashem website. Click on image at right to view a larger version.

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. Submitted by survivors, remaining family members or friends in commemoration of Jews murdered in the Holocaust, these one-page forms, containing the names, biographical details and, when available, photographs, of each individual victim are essentially symbolic “tombstones”.

More than 3 million of these documents exist. This means that more than half of the 6 million Holocaust victims have been identified by name.

AVOTAYNU Spring Issue Is at the Printer
AVOTAYNU starts its 35th year of publication with its Spring 2019 issue which went to the printer this week. The lead article is by veteran genealogist Jean-Paul Stroweis titled “From Where Did French Holocaust Victims Come?” In 2018, Stroweis created an online database of the “Memorial to the Jews Deported from France,” a list of more than 76,000 people—almost all Jews—deported from the Drancy deportation center. The search engine is located at This article presents the rationale for this tool, the evolution of the memorial, the methodology and the results from the latest update.

This issue introduces a new column, “Brick Walls,” which attempts to solve unanswered problems faced by AVOTAYNU readers. The methodology used to solve these problems may apply to certain aspects of your research.

In addition to new articles, there are the usual columns: From Our Contributing Editors, U.S. Update, Ask the Experts, Ask Dr. Beider, Book Reviews and From Our Mailbox.

The complete Table of Contents is at If you do not subscribe to AVOTAYNU, you can do so at

Winners of AVOTAYNU Subscription Renewal Contest. Each year Avotaynu offers people who are resubscribing to our journal AVOTAYNU the opportunity to enter a contest to win a book of their choice published by Avotaynu. Winners of the drawing this year are James Jesse of Chico, California; Marlaine Lavine of Forest Hills, New York and Eleanor Platt of London, England.

MyHeritage Runs Mother’s Day Look-alike Competition
Does a member of your family look exactly like your mother? Grandmother? Great-grand mother? MyHeritage wants to see your look-alike photos with the women in your family. The lucky winner of the best look-alike photo will win a MyHeritage DNA kit. Send your family photos and details about the people in your photos, to by May 14 for a chance to win. MyHeritage will post the top photos on its blog.

MyHeritage Offers Free Access to Danish and Finnish Records Through May 12
MyHeritage recently added the 1940 Denmark census to its collection. It claims it now has the world’s most comprehensive online resource for Danish historical records—105 million records. In recognition of this milestone, MyHeritage is allowing free access to its Danish and Finnish records through May 12.

Latest DNA Testing Prices
Mother’s Day pricing for autosomal DNA testing are:

23andme. $99. There is a $30 discount on their Health & Ancestry package.
Ancestry. $59. Offer ends May 13.
Family Tree DNA. $59. Discounts on other products too.
MyHeritage. $69. Sale ends May 13.

Keynote and Banquet Speakers Announced for Annual Conference
Featured speakers for the 39th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Cleveland, Ohio, July 28 – August 2, will discuss “Jews and Rock and Roll” and “Jewish Humor.”

Keynote speaker on the opening afternoon, July 28, is Professor Daniel Goldmark, director of The Center for Popular Music Studies at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Goldmark works on American popular music, film and cartoon music, the history of the music industry, and popular music in Cleveland. That evening, conference attendees will join at a reception at Cleveland’s legendary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Cleveland native, Dr. Michael Krasny, author, host of the award-winning NPR Forum radio program, and professor at San Francisco State University, will discuss Jewish humor as the Gala Banquet dinner speaker on Thursday, Aug. 1. His newest book is “Let There Be Laughter: A Treasury of Great Jewish Humor and What It All Means.” He comments, “Yes, this is a joke book. It has in it some of the greatest Jewish jokes of all time. But it is much more. Embedded in the jokes and folklore and tales and anecdotes is the history of a people, a tribe, their value system and their rich ongoing heritage. It is a work of cultural anthropology, a wide portal to understanding Jewish identity and an immersion into the hilarity, joy and power of laughter.”

The conference will include more than 200 programs, lectures, panel discussion and workshops focusing on genealogy methodology, available archival resources and the history of all Jewish communities. Details of the conference, including registration, hotel information and the full program, are posted on the conference website

“Who Do You Think You Are?” Is Returning to NBC
Emmy-winning U.S. docuseries “Who Do You Think You Are?” is returning to NBC for a second go-round. The network has ordered 13 episodes of the docuseries. Specific dates of airing have not been disclosed.

In each episode a different celebrity goes on a search to trace their family tree with the help of historians and experts, unlocking past mysteries and real-life stories across the world and through time. “Who Do You Think You Are?” is an adaptation of the British BBC series, premiered in 2010.

The announcement can be found at

Family History Library to Add Sunday and Longer Monday Hours to Schedule
Sunday is the Mormon Sabbath and Monday night is Family Night, the evening when Mormon policy is that people should be home with family. Remarkably, the FamilySearch Family History Library in Salt Lake City will extend its hours of operation beginning Sunday, June 2. For the first time, the main floor of the library, including the FamilySearch Discovery Experiences, will be open on Sundays, from 1:00 to 5:00 pm and extended to 9:00 pm on Mondays. Regular library hours will be Monday through Saturday from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm.

Perhaps these additional times will be manned by Shabbos goys!  😊

FamilySearch Adds More Than 7 Million Records This Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, more than 7 million indexed records and images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include 1.8 million from Brazil and 4.5 million from Scotland. Other countries include Canada, England, Peru, Poland (Catholic records), South Africa, and the United States (World War I Servicemen Records from Delaware, Mississippi, and Ohio, Indexes to World War II Army Veterans of Utah, and other state records).

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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