Logan J. Kleinwaks
Rodney Eisfelder asked, "Where can one find birth, death and
marriage records >from Danzig for the period >from 1814 to about
A tremendous amount of documentation >from this period and earlier
survives at the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People
(CAHJP) in Jerusalem. CAHJP has prepared an online inventory of the
material, which you can find a link to in the Resources section of our
SIG website http://www.jewishgen.org/danzig.
This inventory suggests many items likely have a significant genealogical
content, but, as far as I know, nobody has comprehensively examined them
from a genealogical perspective. There are not only birth, marriage, anddeath records, but also financial and property (synagogue seat) records,
administrative records, and much more. Some of these provide personal
details about individuals beyond names and dates.
Making the genealogical content of these documents more easily accessible
would probably cause a major advance in Danzig genealogical research. We
are working with JewishGen (of which the SIG is a part) on a way for this
to happen. We are already ready to proceed with a preliminary step: we
need volunteers to visit the CAHJP and report on certain characteristics
of the documents. If you are interested or know someone who might be,
please contact me directly (off-list).
A note about the period 1814-1840, which Rodney asked about: At that time,
there was no single, united Danzig Jewish community. Therefore, in the
CAHJP inventory, you will find separate records for that period for each
of the communities Altschottland, Langfuhr, Mattenbuden, and Breitgasse.
These communities, together with Weinberg (CAHP documents begin 1843,
though), united in 1883, and, thereafter, their records are combined in
the CAHJP collection. In the Resources section of our website, you can
find links to several brief online histories of Danzig, explaining this
in greater detail, and there are currently translation projects underway
to produce even more detailed histories in English. The most extensive
history is probably that of Samuel Echt, "Die Geschichte der Juden in
Danzig" (Leer/Ostfriesland: Rautenberg, 1972. ISBN: 3792100959), currently
only available in German (and not yet being translated).
In his message, Rodney also described his experience working with several
Family History Library (Mormon) microfilms. I encourage anyone else who
has physically used a Danzig resource to likewise write to this mailing
list about its content and condition. This information could be especially
helpful for the microfilms, since the Family History Library's online
descriptions are not always accurate, and there are soemtimes significant
problems with illegibility. If you are interested in examining these
microfilms, I suggest waiting a little until our SIG might organize a
project to extract information >from them. You would then be able to
combine our efforts with those of other researchers for greater effect.
Please stay tuned (and remember that we are only about a month old).
Coordinator, JewishGen Danzig/Gdansk SIG
near Washington, D.C.