JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Yad Vashem search suggestions #general

Zev Griner <zgriner@...>

The Yad Vashem Pages of Testimony (PoT) database is a marvel of
automated handwriting recognition. Unfortunately, it is my guess that
it is only 80%-90% correct.

Here are some search suggestions to help you better your odds:
- The early PoTs were written in Hebrew. Get someone who can read or,
at least, pick out written Hebrew letters to help you. The handwritten
letters are, many times, written in a script-like or very stylized
fashion. This makes the computer read it wrong or give up. If you just
read the English translation/transliteration, you would never know
- Here is a list of some letter combinations that can get visually
substituted for each other. Search for these sound combinations:
zayin (z), daled (d), tzadi (ts, tz)
pey (p, f), hey (h), raish (r)
aleph (a), double-vav (v)
vav (v), yod (y, i)
kuf (k), final-nun (n)
bet (b, v), chof (ch, k)
hey (h), chet (ch)
mem( m), double-vav (v)
lamed (l), final tzadi (ts, tz), final pey (p, f)
- Use the Advanced Search page to help you do search using multiple
fields. Searching by spouse, parent or submitter is very useful.
- Never use Exact search unless you have seen the exact spelling.
- Do not search by Place, unless you use a district name or the Fuzzy
search. I have a relative with 5 different PoTs saying he lived and
died in 5 different places. Places were spelled in the PoT phonetically
making it hard for the computer to figure out what the correct name or
intended spelling is.
- Do not rely on the "Related Searches" by Submitter. While it may
give you a quick start, the submitter's name may have been misread or
associated with someone else with a similar name. I have a submitter
with 6 variations on the name - different first names, initials, and
last names - all the same person.
- Try searching for a submitter using an initial, keeping in mind that
some initials are easily misread.
- Use what I call the submission number to help you group submitted
PoTs as well as identify unknown or missing PoTs. This is the number
that may appear in the top left corner of the early PoTs. While it is
not documented, I see it on many PoTs. It has the form of NNNN/nn. The
NNNN can be 4-6 digits long and is fixed for a set of submitted PoTs.
The nn is a sequence number, usually a number >from 1-nn, but is
occasionally a Hebrew number: aleph, bet, gimel, daled. This submission
number does not guarantee a unique submitter. I have a set of PoTs
submitted together by a husband and wife under the same basic number.

Please let me know privately if you have any other suggestions and I
will collect them into a FAQ.

Zev Griner

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