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

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 20, Number 49 | December 22, 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 Chanukah!! Merry Christmas!!

“Don’t Hold Our Records Hostage” Says American Genealogy Community to USCIS
The proposed rate hike of 492% for obtaining records from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has incurred the wrath of the genealogical community. The objection has now been formalized in a “Records Not Revenue” protest at American genealogists are requested to:
   • Review the proposed rule.
   • Write your comments for the Federal Register, addressing the issues.
   • Send your comment to the Federal Rulemaking Portal before December 30, 2019.

A substantial website to address the issue has been created at

European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative Receives €1 million for Mapping in 7 Countries
Jewish Heritage Europe has noted that the European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative (ESJF) was awarded a €1 million grant from the European Commission to continue the drone-assisted mapping and surveying of Jewish cemeteries in Europe. Under the new project, a further 1,500 cemeteries will be mapped in Croatia, Georgia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine. A previous project mapped in 1,500 Jewish cemeteries in Greece, Moldova, Slovakia, Lithuania and Ukraine.

The article also focuses on recent desecration of Jewish cemeteries in Europe. The article can be found at

Reclaim The Records Acquires Nebraska Death Index 1904–1955
Reclaim The Records has acquired the Nebraska Death Index 1904-1955 and it is online at It consists on images of more than 8,000 pages.

Although the state was initially reluctant to turn the records over, Reclaim The Records was successful in obtaining two parts of the index: 1956–1968, which is in a text database, and 1904–1955, which was only available in old books that had been printed from some long-ago state database, probably dating back to the punched-card era. But that old database does not exist anymore, so Reclaim The Records paid the state of Nebraska more than $2,000 to scan every page of those old books.

Additional information can be found at the Nebraska Death Index website.

Searching British War Records from World War II
FamilySearch has published an article on “Searching British War Records from World War II.” Subtopics include Conscription Records, Service Records and the Home Guard. The article can be found at

Site Has List of More than 10,000 Second World War Victims (Mostly Dutch)
The site states it has a list of 10,160 “Second World War Victims” that appear to be Dutch civilians; mostly Jews. Use the link “Browse the list of all 10,160 marked Second World War victims.” This appears to be the complete list. The other lists are subsets of the mail list primarily by source of information.

Last Chance to Get DNA Tests at Rock-Bottom Prices
The holiday season has brought very low prices for autosomal DNA testing. The prices are about as low as can be expected.

23andMe. Ancestry + Traits Services $79. Discount ends December 26
Ancestry. $59. Discount ends December 31.
Family Tree DNA. $49. Discounts on other services. Discounts end December 26.
MyHeritage. $49. Discount ends December 24.

Have You Made Your Annual Donation to Non-Profit Genealogy Organizations?
The clock is counting down to end of year. Have you made your annual donation to non-profit genealogy organizations?

Last week I suggested the JewishGen General Fund and the individual Special Interest Group (SIGs). I mentioned two SIGs outside the JewishGen realm, JRI-Poland and Gesher Galicia. In fact there is a third, very active group: Litvak SIG.

Also Joint Distribution Committee, Reclaim The Records; Yad Vashem.

Contribute today!!

JewishGen Presenting Course on “Research Your Roots Using JewishGen”
JewishGen is providing a course on researching your roots using JewishGen from January 3–24. It is designed for researchers who want to become more efficient in using the JewishGen website.

It is a mentored course designed to match JewishGen resources to your family research projects. Students work with the instructor on the JewishGen private Forum. You start by posting an introduction to your family story and objectives you would like to work on. The instructor will personally respond to your posts, questions, and project goals with suggestions and assistance. The forum is open 24/7. Post at your convenience and the instructor checks into the forum frequently to respond.

Tuition for the course is $150. There is a maximum of 15 students. Additional details and enrollment can be found at

Family Tree Live 2020 Announced
A conference named Family Tree Live will be held at the Alexandra Palace in London from April 17–18, 2020. It is organized by UK family history magazine Family Tree, in partnership with the Family History Federation and is sponsored by FamilySearch and FamilyTreeDNA.

Day tickets include lectures and workshops and expert one-to-one sessions and start from £13. Visit to find out more and to buy tickets. Additional information can be found at the conference site

MyHeritage Adds Hesse (Germany) Birth and Marriage Indexes
MyHeritage has just published two historical record collections from Germany: Hesse Birth Index (1874–1911) and Hesse Marriage Index (1849–1931). These collections, totaling 8.5 million historical records, are now indexed and searchable on MyHeritage.

The announcement can be found at

FamilySearch Adds 5.5M Records This Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, 5.5M index records, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from American Samoa, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, England, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Peru, Puerto Rico, and the United States, including Alabama, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Large additions include 2.5M from FindAGrave and 1M from Peru, Junín, Civil Registration, 1881-2005.

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
Ancestry has added/updated the following record groups at their site. The list with links to individual collections can be found at Announced collections may not be complete for the dates specified and will be added at some later date. There is also no indication of how many records were added to the updated collections.

New Collections
Scotland, Ireland and Wales, Militia Attestation Papers, 1800–1915

Updated Collections
U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900–1999
Ontario, Canada Births, 1858–1913
UK and Ireland, Find A Grave Index, 1300s–Current
England & Scotland, Select Cemetery Registers, 1800–2016

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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