Why Isn't There Anything About My Shtetl on the DG? #belarus

David M. Fox <davefox73@...>

Dear SIG Members,

Over the years, I have received many messages with basically the same

Why isn't there anything about MY shtetl on the discussion group?

Why isn't there a ShtetLink page for MY Shtetl?

Why aren't records >from MY shtetl being translated and added to the All
Belarus Database?

Why isn't the Yizkor Book >from MY shtetl translated?

Why aren't articles about MY shtetl appearing in the Belarus SIG On Line

The answer is similar for all of these questions. It is because YOU haven't
posted a message to the Belarus SIG Discussion Group about YOUR shtetl to
share information or ask a question. It is because YOU haven't volunteered
to establish or coordinate a ShtetLink page for YOUR shtetl. It is because
YOU haven't volunteered to to head up a research project for YOUR shtetl.
It's because YOU haven't made a contribution to the Belarus SIG
<http://www.jewishgen.org/JewishGen-erosity/belarus.html> to support getting
and translating records. It is because YOU haven't volunteered to be the
translating Coordinator of YOUR shtetl's Yizkor Book or have not contributed
funds to get YOUR book translated. It is because YOU haven't written an
article or encouraged someone with special knowledge about YOUR shtetl to
write an article.

As I have said in the past on several occassions, this is YOUR SIG and
therefore, YOU must make thinks happen. Get involved now! Print out this
message and tape it near your computer a reminder that YOU need to do
something to make this SIG continue to thrive!

On a related issue, splintering into small shtetl specific discussion groups
(no longer allowed within JewishGen) using Yahoo or other systems is
counter-productive to the overall good of all Belarus researchers with Jewish

1. We learn >from each other. A research technique or find by one shtetl
research group will frequently benefit another shtetl research group or may
even encourage the establishment of a new shtetl research group or SIG
project. When messages are put on YAHOO discussion group rather then the
Belarus SIG Discussion Group we all lose something by not sharing.

2. Concentrating your research to a single shtetl is frequently a very poor
research technique. Families were not stationary and moved to other shtetls
as a result of marriage, epidemics, economic considerations, pogroms, etc.
This past week I found a database >from France based on a message posted on
the JewishGen DG. After examining the database in some detail, I found that
there were many people on this database who were originally >from shtetls
such as Grodno, Minsk, Vitebsk, etc., moved to France, and were killed in
the Holocaust. This database has surnames (including maiden names of
females), place of birth, date of birth, place of death, and date of death.
I will post a separate message on how to get this database and how to use

3. Frequently databases >from sthetls that are not your shtetls have
information about your families >from other shtetls. For example, the 1897
Grodno Gubernia Database which is searchable >from the All Belarus Database.
has the place of birth and place of family registration and
frequently, these were not in Grodno gubernia. While researchers >from Grodno
gubernia (including people >from the Bialystok Research Group) contribute
funds to get this project completed, other researchers >from other areas also
benefit >from the data.

Please get involved, even if it is only posting messages to the Belarus SIG
DG, but hopefully volunteering and donating funds. Don't start separate
discussion groups that are shtetl specific, but use the Belarus SIG DG so we
can all share and lean.

Let's work together to make this the best SIG.


MODERATOR NOTE: For information on producing a shtetlink go to
www.shtetlinks.jewishgen.org and click on "Learn How to Add Your Own Shtetlink Page"
David Fox
Mail to: davefox73@earthlink.net
Belarus SIG Coordinator
Arnold, MD USA

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