JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen New development re Kremenets vital records #general

Ronald D. Doctor <rondoctor@...>

Some of you may have seen the new issue of Avotaynu which announces a new
cooperative initiative between the LDS and the Kremenets (Ukraine) Shtetl
CO-OP. Let me give you some of the background.

Since the IAJGS meeting last July, I have been in discussions with various
representatives of the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU), the genealogy
arm of the LDS Church. The negotiations centered on getting permission to
produce computerized images on cd-rom of the Mormon vital records
microfilms for Kremenets. The need for this arose when we began
translating the vital records >from xerox copies made >from the microfilms.
It quickly became apparent that the cost and time required to produce
paper copies >from microfilm would outstrip our resources. But if we could
convert the microfilm images to a computer format, and place them on
cd-rom we could greatly reduce our copying and mailing costs and time.
Computerization also would allow our translators to magnify the image,
easing the task of reading particularly difficult handwritten text.

The process involved getting approval of our proposal by the GSU/LDS Church
hierarchy, followed by their efforts to get approval >from the Ukraine
National Archives. Eventually the approvals all were granted. Now, we have
a signed agreement with the Church to produce cd-roms of the Kremenets
microfilms. The Church will do the scanning and will produce cleaner images
than copy machines can, and they will provide us with the cd-roms.
Currently, we are in the Church's "digitizing queue" and hope to have the
cd-roms in hand within the next few weeks.

Shortly after last year's IAJGS Conference, we began translating the
Kremenets vital records (and, in the process, learned quite a few tricks to
ease the translation/transliteration process and presentation of results),
but we suspended further copying/translation work when it began to look as
if we might be successful in obtaining an agreement. In the meantime we
focused on proofreading and editing the records that we already had
translated (1870 birth, 1870-1872 death), and on translating the Kremenets
Yizkor Books. We'll resume the vital records translations as soon as we
receive the cd-roms.

It turns out that the Belarus and Litvak SIGs also had been in discussions
with the Mormons since the IAJGS Conference. For a variety of reasons,
their negotiations moved forward more quickly than ours. As a result, they
already have their cd-roms, and are beginning the transliteration and
indexing process. We all have been delaying a public announcement so that
the Church could make its announcement first. The lead article in the new
issue of Avotaynu announces the Agreements with the Litvak and Belarus
SIGs and with the Kremenets Shtetl CO-OP. All of this, of course, has big
implications for future vital records translation and indexing activities.

Now we need volunteer translators. If you have any facility in Russian OR
Hebrew/Yiddish, and are willing to put some time into this "vital" project,
please contact me. My e-mail address is rondoctor@.... I'm looking
forward to hearing >from you. For more information about the Kremenets
Shtetl CO-OP and its activities, go to our ShtetLinks website

Best regards,

Ron Doctor
Co-coordinator, Kremenets Shtetl CO-OP / JRI-Poland

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