Re: Two town names that cause confusion - Stanislawow and Minsk Mazowiecki #poland

Brian Stern <brians99@...>

As the Archive Coordinator for the Siedlce Poland Archives, I receive many
e-mails >from researchers inquiring about information for their towns.
Sometimes researchers assume their ancestors lived in a town located in
Siedlce Gubernia, when in fact their families came >from a similarly named
town in another part of Europe.
Unfortunately confusion about town names in Europe is endemic to genealogy
research. Also unfortunately, naming rules for JewishGen Family Finder and
Shtetlinks pages can add to this confusion rather than reduce it.
Requiring that towns be named with their so-called "modern contemporary"
names means that some towns are listed on JewishGen with names that exist
on no Jewish records and that some researchers have never come across. See
Q 4.2 of the JGFF FAQ for an explanation of JGFF naming rules at this link

Two towns of interest to me should serve as examples.

There are two towns in Galicia that have been known as Zolkiew. One is
about ten miles north of Lemberg. It had a large Jewish population and was
a site of Jewish publishing for many years. Today of course it is in
Ukraine and I'll refer to it as Zolkiew, Ukraine. There is another town
that was known as Zolkiew that is near Lublin, Poland, and I'll refer to it
as Zolkiew, Poland. During the Soviet era, I believe in the 1950s,
Zolkiew, Ukraine was renamed Nesterov, after a famous Soviet pilot. Since
the end of the Soviet era Zolkiew, Ukraine has been renamed to a Ukrainian
version of its name, Zhovkva, which is quite similar to the Yiddish name
that my grandparents knew it as: Zholkva. JGFF rules dictate that
researchers for Zolkiew, Ukraine register under the name of Nesterov. I
have recently realized that a number of the researchers registered under
the name of Zolkiew, Poland in JGFF are really Zolkiew, Ukraine
researchers. Obviously they never came across the name Nesterov or didn't
understand the JGFF naming rules. Since I am the JRI-Poland town leader
for Zolkiew, Ukraine this has caused some confusion in contacting Zolkiew,
Ukraine researchers.

The second town I'm interested in with this problem is Touste, Ukraine.
Touste is a very small town very close to Grzmaylov and in the same county
as Skalat. Touste was renamed by the Soviets, Tolstoye, also in the 1950s.
Another larger nearby town, Tluste, was also renamed Tolstoye by the
Soviets. In the JGFF and in the Shtetlinks pages both of these towns are
listed as Tolstoye, obviously leading to unnecessary and probably unending
confusion. Touste is now known as Tovste in Ukrainian. Touste wasn't
listed in the first edition of WOWW for some reason. I haven't checked in
the revised edition.

Obviously genealogy researchers need to be diligent in determining all the
names of their ancestral towns. Just as obviously, not all are able to do
so. Having strict naming rules that result in ancestral towns being known
by names that are irrelevant to Jewish genealogy seems odd, at best.

Brian Stern JRI-Poland Town Leader, Zolkiew, Ukraine
Lexington, KY

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