Logan J. Kleinwaks
Thanks to Rodney Eisfelder, there is now a very useful finding aid to
GenPol.com/GenBaza's massive collection of online scans of Danzig
civil records (both Jewish and non-Jewish), 1874-1899, at
http://www.jewishgen.org/danzig/findingaidcivil.php . This finding
aid should be your starting point for exploring the collection.
Because only a small part of the scanned records have been indexed,
you cannot simply search the records by name. The collection is not
even searchable by date or type of record. It is just a very large
collection of images to manually browse through, divided into 600
volumes. Rodney's finding aid will significantly reduce your browsing
time, as it lists for each of the volumes of images the corresponding
type of record (birth, marriage, death) and date range. The more
accurately you know the date of the record you are looking for, the
less time you will likely have to spend browsing. However, even if
you know the exact date, the process still might be quite
The finding aid also lists the range of record numbers for each volume
of images. The record numbers can sometimes be found in the partial
indices on FamilySearch.org as "Reference IDs." There is no perfect
way to restrict searches at FamilySearch.org to only these indices,
but the following seems to work well: at
https://familysearch.org/search, enter a person's name in the search
form and, under, "Search with a life event," select "Any" and type
"Danzig, Prussia" in the "Any Place" field. If you are fortunate and
find a record and record number in the partial indices, using the
record number with the finding aid will likely be the quickest way to
find the record scan. Please note that these indices cover only a
small part of the records and, even for records they include,
typically do not list all of the genealogical information in the
If you find record scans of interest, but have difficulty reading
them, the recommended way to seek volunteer translation is at
http://www.jewishgen.org/ViewMate/. Please read the instructions at
http://www.jewishgen.org/ViewMate/topost.asp . In particular, note
step 6, where you announce that your images are on the ViewMate site.
I suggest sending any announcements to this list and GerSIG, where you
are most likely to find people who can read this style of German
writing. Please note that some records might extend over two
consecutive images, especially marriage records.
If anyone would like to prepare a guide to interpreting these records,
please contact me privately.
Although using this collection of images can be laborious, the high
quality of the scans and genealogical information they contain makes
them tremendously valuable. To minimize your effort, remember to try
any other means to narrow the dates you are looking for and search the
Please share your successes and any tips for using the collection.
Thanks again to Rodney for his work preparing the finding aid, which
will benefit us all.
near Washington, D.C.