Gesher Galicia SIG #Galicia Re: Questions about information in the JRI Poland database: #galicia

Mark Halpern <willie46@...>

As Joe Fibel has already pointed out, the JRI-Poland database is
an index of documents. There is more information in the actual
documents that could possibly answer some of the questions
that Ervin asks. Ervin's questions are all good ones for folks
researching their Galician roots. However, in many cases, there
is no correct answer.

I have been coordinating the AGAD Archive project for 10 years
now and, in that capacity, have also coordinated ordering of
records >from AGAD. I have seen and analyzed thousands of
Galician records and have come to the conclusion that the
recording of information on Galician vital records is extremely
inconsistent. The manner in which events are recorded varied
from town to town and >from registrar to registrar in the same

Annually, at the IAJGS Conference, I have lectured on the
subject of Galician vital records and how to optimize your
research. This is a one hour lecture and I cannot provide all
that information in this response. I intend to submit a proposal
to give this lecture at the upcoming 2011 Conference in
Washington, DC and hope it will be

Please see my responses to Ervin's questions inserted below.
Each answer starts with ***

Mark Halpern

----- Original Message -----
Ervin Spinner

Questions about the information in the JRI Poland database:

For birth listings:
1) If only the first names of both parents are given, the family
name listed for the child is assumed to be the father's or the
*** This is usually not the case in birth records. Most records
show no surname for the child. In the cases that Erwin finds, I
do not think you can make an intelligent assumption. You
would think that if the child was recorded as legitimate (slubne
in Polish, ehelich in German), the surname would be the father's. If illegitimate (nieslubne and unehelich), the
surname would be the mother's. Not always the case.

2) If both parents are listed with the same family name, do we
assume it is the name of the father?
*** Most likely this is true especially if the record is >from before
1877, which is when Jewish vital record registration was
officially regulated. And it would be very dangerous, without
corroborating evidence, to assume otherwise.

3) If only the mother's name is listed, do we assume that it is
her original or maiden name?
*** I think this is a good assumption, but remember the
inconsistency I pointed out earlier. You will need corroboration.
Also, do we know if the maiden name is that of the mother's
father or her mother? Another potential complication that needs
more evidence.

4) If only the first name of the child is given but the parents
have different family names, whose family name does the child
*** The regulation of the Austrian crown say that the child
legally takes his/her father's name if the parents marriage was
registered in the civil registers. Many Jewish couples were
married by Rabbis that were not authorized to perform civil
marriages and therefore has no civil registration. In these cases,
the regulation requires the child to take the mother's surname.
However, in actual use outside of the Austrian legal system,
people used whatever surname they wanted to. After emigrating
from Galicia, a person who was using the mother's surname in
Galicia could easily use the father's name in his/her new
country. When you search for records, whether in Galicia or the
next country of residence, you need to check both surnames.

5) Do we assume that the vast majority of couples in Galicia
did not have a state or secular wedding?
*** The vast majority did not have civil marriages when first
married. However, many couples (don't know the percentage)
had civil marriages later in life so that they or their children
could more easily maneuver through the Austrian legal system
or emigrate easily.

6) Do we then conclude that each partner's family name is in
fact his or her mother's name?
*** Cannot assume anything for the reasons already stated.

7) If a death is listed for a woman, is her family name that of
her husband or her original maiden name, if no husband is
mentioned or only his first name is given?
*** I would say that in the majority of death records I have seen,
the surname is that of the husband. However, as I pointed out
before, this varies >from town to town and registrar to registrar.

8) In general, do assume that the family name for any listing
is the mother's name?
*** I do not think you can assume this.

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