Early 19th Century Polish Records #general

Randy Stehle

I have a few comments to add to the discussion regarding the subject of
early 19th century Jewish records in Poland:

1) Civil registration in most parts of Poland began in 1808. Until 1825,
ALL records (including Jewish) were kept in Catholic parish registers
Parishes often covered large areas & could include a dozen or more towns.
These registers are relatively easy to use as they had four columns on
each page: royalty, peasants, merchants and Jews (Zydzi).If it was a
Jewish vital record, then the Zydzi column would be marked with a
sequential number and the name of the town.

2) While most of these records contain an annual index, most Jews had no
permanent last names before 1826. The parish priests who compiled the
indexes would create a last name for the Jews based upon their father's
first name. For instance, Meyer, son of Abram, would be recorded as Meyer
Abramowicz. To use the indexes, one would need to know the first name of
the person's father.

3) The reason JRI-Poland has records mostly >from 1850 onwards, is that
the intent of the original group (called REIPP -- Russian-Era Indexing of
Poland Project) was to index the records written in Cyrillic. The Polish
records were kept in Polish through 1867. In 1868 they were required to
be kept in Russian.

4) Most of the separately kept Jewish records >from Poland >from the Polish
language period (1826-1867) have indexes. Not all the years have survived

from all the towns I have spent many hours searching through these records
with a modest degree of success=

Randy Stehle
San Mateo, California

mail2web - Check your email >from the web at
http://mail2web=2Ecom/ =2E

Hadassah Lipsius <kesher@...>

I was surprised by some statements recently posted stating that
JRI-Poland does not have much data for the period prior to 1850.
I do not believe that it is the case and perhaps people are not
familiar with JRI-Poland Shtetl CO-OP Project and our Patronymic files.

Though 10 years ago, JRI-Poland's goal was to index the Russian language
records, we have moved leaps and bounds further in our 10 years history.
JRI-Poland's goal is to index all the available Jewish Records of Poland
and for any period of time for which those records are made available to us.

JRI-Poland launched the Shtetl CO-OP Project in 1997. A Shtetl CO-OP
consists of groups of volunteers with a common interest in an ancestral
town. Under the leadership of a project coordinator, each JRI- Poland
Shtetl CO-OP team's is to index all of the available Jewish Records >from
the LDS microfilms for that Town. Although it varies >from town to town,
this generally covers the years 1826-mid 1880's. Today there are more
than 195 Shtetl CO-OPs and over 114 towns have been completely indexed.

Over 800 LDS microfilms have been totally completed and live on the
JRI-Poland database and much more is in progress or awaiting to be
loaded on to the database.

In March 2005 we announced the completion the indexing of the LDS
microfilms for all of the 14 towns in the Suwalki Gubernia which meant
the completion of approximately 60 microfilms. These covered the years
1826 to the mid 1880's. If you are interested in these files, please
send an e-mail to suwalki@jri-poland.org

JRI-Poland also has on our website Patronymic files which can be
downloaded and viewed. These files cover the years 1808-1825 when many
Jews did not have surnames and when the Jewish records were recorded
together with their Christian neighbors. JRI-Poland volunteers have
worked hard on extracting data >from these LDS film in order. Look on
the homepage for the link to the patronymic files.

If there are available records for your town prior to 1850 and it is not
on the JRI-Poland database then perhaps they are waiting for you to volunteer.

Hadassah Lipsius
Associate Director