Rosanne D. Leeson <leeson1@...>
A number of you have been asking for some time about the various
documents that were purchased by the ROM-SIG several years ago, from
Romania. This is a report to you all on their contents and status.
This is not an easy or happy report to have to give you all. These
many documents had been solicited originally in many cases by the late
Sam Elpern z"l. Others had been purchased after Sam's death by the then
coordinator of the ROM-SIG, Rick Bercuvitz. Both Sam and Rick were
desparately hoping to be able to finally obtain some useful lists,
censuses, etc. for those researching in Romania. There are no LDS films
made, and the Archival information was virtually impossible to
About a year ago Rick finally sent to me huge boxes of these records,
many unopened. It has taken me all of this time, working alone, to
finally open and sort them all out. Many of them are very difficult to
read and understand. It has been an extremely long and hard struggle!
There were many records in Hungarian, which I have turned over to Vivian
Kahn, the Coordinator of the Hungarian SIG, and which relate to what is
now western Romania, but which was formerly part of the Austro-Hungarian
Empire. She will be sending more information about those, and we both
hope for a communal efort to work on them.
The remaining records for communities in Romania cover the decade of the
1850's in eastern Romania. Sadly, these are mainly lists of tavern
owners and lease holders, and some merchants, and give only the patronym
of the owner, with absolutely no family information at all (i.e. Haim
sin Moishe; Bercu sin Laib,etc.). These cartagrafii were simply fiscal
lists of who paid the required taxes, and how much. Putting any of this
onto a JewishGen database is impossible, as the Search engine used is
by Family Name only. Since some of the lists are quite long they cannot
be placed either on our web site, or even a ShtetLink. The costs of
using such bandwidth on JewishGen are simply prohibitive. And again,
even if you know that your ancestor was a tavern owner in the 1850's,
and that his name was Haim, there is no way to identify "your" Haim
from any others in that community. In addition, most of theseindividuals
did not actually reside in the city named, but in numerous tiny villages
around the city (District), or in the county (Judete).
We have inquired about the possibility of later census reports after
1860, when the first real census, in our terms, was taken.
Unfortunately these do not indicate religion, and it would be impossible
to sort out the Jews >from the rest of the population. The cost of
obtaining copies of these would also be prohibitive. We are still
investigating the possibilities, and looking for other useful
We do have a couple of projects underway at the present time:
1- A cemetery register for Botosani, covering the years >from 1905-date
2- A database of over 59,000 entries >from the Kishinev, Moldova Jewish
In addition, some of the Holocaust lists obtained >from Yad Vashem,
such as the Dachau listing in preparation, and the USHMM, do
contain Romanian names. See the Holocaust database at JewishGen.
We are trying to obtain more precious cemetery registers before they are
destroyed or too badly deteriorated to read. If you can help in this
endeavor please contact either Paula Zieselman <firstname.lastname@example.org> or
I am sorry that this report must give sad news of the previously
anticipated documents >from Romania, but let us hope that we can be
successful in finding some others that will be useful for us all.
Los Altos, CA USA