family trees from existing databases #general


Erika Herzog
 

I wanted to clarify something about the family project I am working on where many
of the records are concentrated in the same town (in this family project it is
Golub-Dobrzy, but for another it's Radzanow, and so on and so on...).

While I may be lucky enough have quite a few records or translations I will be
handling that information very carefully. The information is going into a personal
family tree as part of my personal family project. Once that is done I will export
the gedcom file into a website template that lives in a password-protected section
of my website, so only people I know and have vetted will be allowed access.
These records are so important -- I am aware of how meaningful they are, especially
to my extended family. I would not like to jeopardize any sort of access to the
records for anyone else or for the future just because I have made a collection of
them for my family project.

That said, if someone else is trying to find records >from Golub-Dobrzy, Radzanow,
etc., I hope that I have made enough references to the towns and have been clear
enough in the JewishGen FTJP/JGFF databases that as a natural course people would
contact me or my fellow mishpucha (family). Please do!!! Because if the work is
already done, why not save a fellow family member the stress and effort/reinventing
the wheel?

Not to stand on a soapbox or be too repetitive, but I feel very strongly -- and I
think many other people in the Jewish genealogy community I've talked with feel
this too -- that it is important to get the younger generations as involved in
genealogy as possible. I think that as a relatively youngish genealogist myself,
it's important to have these types of discussions about records and what to do with
them, about the responsibility of having the records and managing them, to allow
this discussion to be in a public forum. So that newish genealogist can understand
what might not be clear about the privacy and care of these records.

I wanted to add that I find the discussions very helpful, both on and off list, at
the conferences and just in the one-to-one conversations I have had with people.
I thank everyone for their patience and good humor in discussing some of this
information. While quite a bit seems very clear, other aspects of this research is
not. I am glad to continually learn more every day.

Erika Herzog, New York, NY * ID 100768 * erika_herzog@...


Sally Bruckheimer <sallybruc@...>
 

The difficulty with making family trees >from JRI-PL records is that there is no
sure way of knowing whether the people are actually related in the way that you
think. Is the birth record 20 years later the child of the people in the marriage
record, or was there cousin of the same name born somewhat later with no marriage
record in that town who actually had the baby? Since our ancestors moved around a
lot more than we think, it is certainly possible that the person we think is the
parent really isn't. Maybe, maybe not.

It is hard enough to track one family's records - and I have usually had odd
surnames and some rather uncommon given names to work with. I have found 6 birth
records in one very small town to three different wives (apparently) of one man -
and luckily the last marriage was recorded. The probable descendents of this man
do not know enough to connect to him, so I can't tell if the Isaac that was born is
the grandfather of the oldest known ancestor of the cousins. Since names are
reused in families, I can say 'most likely' but not necessarily. I recently found
another brother of this man, which leads to another source of possible ancestors.

There are sites, like Geni.com, which allow you to merge your tree with a cousin's
tree. But that is assuming that you know your trees meet at some person. Doing
this without any knowledge of the families would be very dangerous - and some
people would assume that the tree that you make is truth, when it isn't.

Sally Bruckheimer
Princeton, NJ


Erika Herzog
 

I agree with Sally Bruckheimer that there is difficulty and danger in linking
family records with inadequate understanding and proof of relationships. The
JRI-Poland indexes are both extremely helpful and then somewhat problematic in that
sense. JRI-Poland is very clear about this, that the indexes are a starting point.

The original records, once fully translated (and not just indexed), can sometimes
provide a clearer proof of relationships, like Sally says. That is why I see the
JRI-Poland indexes as this extremely valuable and powerful tool. A tool that is a
beginning of the journey in fitting the jigsaw puzzle pieces together.

The family project I am working on for Golub-Dobrzy is just such a project. Start
with the incredible resources of JRI-Poland indexes and microfilms and PSA records
and translate and organize as much as possible into data in an online family tree
that can hopefully be used by descendants to find their family relations.

Connecting trees on commercial websites is something I am also wary of doing for
this same reason. I know I am vetting my own data as carefully and fully as
possible -- which sometimes let's face it is not very much because the information
isn't always there. How to have that same confidence with the information of
others? And to willy nilly connect data would be nightmarish to extricate.

This creates, for me, another issue of concern: I don't want to be the only one
with records, because what happens if something happens to me and then the records
would become unavailable? That is not a good option. I personally want the
records to be as available in electronic form as possible, so ownership is
communal.

Sally Bruckheimer<sallybruc@...> wrote:
The difficulty with making family trees >from JRI-PL records is that there is no
sure way of knowing whether the people are actually related in the way that you
think. Doing this without any knowledge of the families would be very dangerous -
and some people would assume that the tree that you make is truth, when it isn't.
Erika Herzog, New York, NY * ID 100768 * erika_herzog@...


Jrbaston
 

Ron Kaminker suggests:
"Could there be a way to 'link up' the records in JRI-Poland so that as opposed to
receiving just a list of records, you would be able to see family trees like in
FTJP?"

And Avigor Ben Dov replies:
"I believe I may have posed a similar question much earlier in this forum, but it
boiled down to "who will do it?" or perhaps, is there some PC program that can
"digest" the data and convert it into relationships without too much human
intervention?"

Above are two selections >from a developing thread on the possibility of creating
a family tree >from the listings in the Jewish Records Indexing-Poland database.

As someone who has been involved with JRI-Poland for many years, let me add some
caveats about using the database alone as a "shortcut" to create family trees.

As JRI-Poland points out every chance we get, the listings in our database are a
first step to Polish Jewish research. In almost all cases, the listings in the
database are index listings, which enable researchers to obtain copies of the
actual records cited in the index. In some cases, the listings are extended
indices, which contain the first names and surnames of mothers and fathers, but in
other cases, the index listings contain only the information in the internal index
created by the clerk in Poland more than 100 years ago.

Most importantly for this discussion, the year listed in the JRI-Poland database
is the year the event (birth, marriage, death) was recorded. This can often be just
a few days after a birth, for example, took place. But it can also be years
afterward. If you see four or even five births with the same surname and same
father's name registered with consecutive numbers in the same year, the odds are
great that you have not discovered quadruplets or quintuplets -- only a case
of multiple delayed registrations.

There is no substitute for trying to obtain the actual records referenced in the
JRI-Poland database -- not only for your direct line but also for the sisters and
brothers of your grandparents, great-grandparents and great-greats. You will find
information about occupations and other facts that can put some substance on your
family chart. And you can discover family connections far greater than those you
might make simply using the index listings in the database.

Judy Baston,
San Francisco, CA, USA
Member of the Board of Jewish Records Indexing-Poland


stephen cohen
 

Ron Kaminker suggests:
"Could there be a way to 'link up' the records in JRI-Poland so that as opposed
to receiving just a list of records, you would be able to see family trees like
in FTJP?"
Linking all the records would be great, but may be difficult to do. It might be
easier to have a way to leave a conotation next to a particular record. This way
you can you can leave a translation of the document if you already ordered it, or
leave an email address denoting that you are looking for others that might be
interested in that record also.

stephen cohen