Early American SIG #USA SITE CITE - Portland and Maine Jewish History database #usa


The Documenting Old Portland (Maine) Jewry project is an effort to combine various
community records, on-line federal census and Maine state vital statistics data,
genealogical records, local Jewish institutional historical information, oral
histories into one accessible database which will allow people to share old
memories and have a platform to build family or institutional histories.

The website address is: www.davidkrut.com/pj

The core sources we are so far integrated are listed on the sources page on the
project website.
Beside the obvious ones, we have been able to receive >from all the local
synagogues their cemetery records, their inter-generational Yarzheit records and
their early membership lists.

We have extracted the institutional and personal history information from
previously published books and articles on Portland Jewry.

As of March 1, 2006, the database has records on some 10,500 individuals, of which
8,000 are considered "Mainers", a definition almost as fraught with complexities
as the definition of a "Jew". Consequently we have taken a board definition of
both. There is information on 172 Jewish-related Maine organizations, of which 53
are religious institutions and 90 are community based organizations.

Of the Mainers, there is parent information on 3,500, spouse information on 2,200,
descendent information on 1,500, occupational information 600 and community
service information on 550.

Jews being migratory the records >from the Portland area also contain information
on Jews who have lived throughout the state. As Portland had one of the few
traditional cemeteries in the State for many years, probably 1/4 of the records in
the database are for people who were or are living in other Maine communities,
some 60 other communities in fact.

The full demographics of the database and a complete index are available >from the
home page.

Genners are completely welcome to request access to use the resource.
Anyone who has had relatives in Maine might well find some information on their
family members.

The database is searchable by individual name, by last names of family groups,
by Jewish institution, and by cemetery.

There are at least two qualifications to the use of the data.

First, as the initial records were derived >from burial and Yarzheit information,
the last name of people are the names used at the end of the person's life, not as
normally the situation for genealogical files, their birth names. And second, as a
result of the jigsaw puzzle approach taken to combine the data, completeness
cannot be assumed and there are errors caused by the sources and processing of
combining records. One hopes over time that these errors will be detected by
members of the community and corrected.

The Documenting Old Portland Jewry project is a project of the Jewish Community
Alliance of Maine (www.jewishmaine.org)

Harris Gleckman , Portland, Maine gleckman@mindspring.com

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