JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: Meaning of "occupations" vital records (Polish) #general

Ira Leviton

Dear Cousins,

David Nesher asked about the accuracy of occupations in Polish vital
records because they seemed to change too frequently.

I answer, perhaps the problem is in the translations. For instance,
David translated "belfer" as "teacher" and "szpektor" as "supervisor(?)
I struggled finding the right translation for szpektor several years
ago - I even showed my ancestor's document with that word to somebody
who was very fluent in Polish, a native speaker by virtue of having
grown up in Poland. He looked at the word, furrowed his brow, and said
aloud, "How is it that I read Nowy Dziennik [the Polish Daily News]
every day and I never saw this word before?"

Szpektor might be Kaszubian, which is called a dialect of Polish by some
but I believe considered a separate language by most experts. According
to the very useful file at,
szpektor means "teacher's assistant," which is an sensible alternative
to belfer.


Ira Leviton
New York, N.Y.

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