JRI-Poland Opatow Town Leader Judy Golan receives Tagger award. #general

Stanley Diamond

For her paper "Reading Between the Lines" - based on a study of the
Jewish records of Opatow, JRI-Poland Town Leader Judy Golan has been
awarded the International Institute of Jewish Genealogy (Jerusalem)
Mathilde Tagger 2nd Prize for original, unpublished research in Jewish

The IIJG commendation noted that the paper's "findings can help make sense
of otherwise inexplicable genealogical findings and explain why
ancestors chose the mates they did. In short - this is a contribution
both to history and genealogical explication."

In describing the inspiration for her study, Golan stated, "Having
access to a complete database of an area's extracted surviving Jewish
records is a windfall for the serious researcher investigating family
roots in an ancestral home Fascinating surname changes, clerk errors
and handwriting mis-deciphers all help us over that 'brick wall'. For
the genealogical academic, a complete database of a town's records
provides creative opportunities for analyzing a bigger picture: Jewish
life in 19th century."

With access to digital images of the records in the Sandomierz and
Kielce Archives, Golan fully extracted records >from several towns, and
then spent a year analyzing and comparing specific data >from the two
towns. The findings were presented at the IAJGS 2015 Conference in
Jerusalem and in a paper entitled "Reading Between the Lines: Mining
Jewish History through Extraction of Archive Data."

The specific data compared was the high frequency of "other" towns
listed in birth, marriage and death registrations. While the majority
of records >from a town typically list that town as the place where the
birth, marriage or death took place, the Opatow records refer to a
disproportionate number of "other towns." Analysis of Opatow statistics
benchmarked against those >from the Dzialoszyce records confirmed this.
Further investigation of the towns listed in Opatow marriage records
showed that the diversity and extent of town representation was
actually a mirror of historical reality and forces. At the same time it
dictated the answer to the question, "where do you go to find a spouse
in 19th century Poland if you don't marry your cousin or neighbor?"

At the February 2013 signing ceremony of the new agreement between
JRI-Poland and the Polish State Archives, General Director Wladyslaw
Stepniak observed that the size and scope of the JRI-Poland database is
an immense resource for academic research. Judy Golan's award-winning
paper is an important example of Director Stepniak's observation.

The announcement of the award and the paper were posted online today.
Read the announcement at: http://iijg.org/research/research_prize/
The direct link for the paper is:

Stanley Diamond
Executive Director
For the Board of Jewish Records Indexing - Poland

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