Yesterday, someone in this discussion group requested a copy of an 1865 birth record from Warsaw and was hoping that a "parking lot angel" would go to an LDS family center to acquire the copy.
There are some towns in Poland that have Jewish records that are available from your own home using a Polish genealogy website. Warsaw is one of those locations. It is helpful for the record you want to be indexed by JRI Poland, but in many cases, it is also relatively easy to browse the indexes by year to see if there are relatives listed that do not appear in the JRI indexes.
This is a Polish genealogy website that provides access to many (not all) towns. It does not require membership or login. Unfortunately, although there is an English version, it is really only in Polish and takes a little getting used to. Here are the instructions:
Be patient, website is very slow loading, each and every page.
I will provide instructions below for using this website, using an 1865 Warsaw birth record for Krajndl Klepfisz, Akta 681 that was indexed in JRI:
Get to the above mentioned website. Once there, the easiest way to get to your town is to type your town in the search bar on right (Szukaj), i.e. Warszawa (notice Polish spelling). This brings up many locations of Warsaw ( I guessed and picked "Warszawa pow. Warszawa" which I think is the central city and not a town in the surrounding area; I was correct)
The next step, you need to pick the religious denomination (Mojszesz or Mosaic is Jewish). If your town does not have this denomination listed, you are out of luck. Warsaw had two Mosaic selections; I picked the first (1826-1867) because I needed 1865. The other choice was 1858-1914. I have been lucky for my own family with both selections.
The year in question has many choices that can be selected: U=birth, M=marriage, Z=death. You need to pick one of the choices that contains U if you are looking for a birth record. Some of the choices have all (UMZ).
The record I needed was Akta (or Record) 681. This website is easy in that the different Akta's are independently (a range at least) numbered and linked to their scanned page and you don't have to hunt like in the LDS microfilms for the correct record, you can immediately get to it. 681 is a high number. The different choices listed for 1865 must be for all the different districts within Warsaw, some with a smaller number of records. Choice 1865a only went up to Akta 509. Choice 1865b only went up to Akta 641. Choice 1865c only listed births (U) but that is what I was looking for, and it went to Akta 927. That was the correct one.
I again had to choose the correct section number to look at; I was lucky that Akta 681 is such a high number and most of the choices didn't go up that high. However, if you are looking for a lower Akta, you may have to look at each and every section to find the correct section for your record. On the third attempt, I found the correct 1865 (Section 1865D births/urodzenia with the range 679-682. Akta number 681 is on that page.
Once I verified that I found the correct record by trying to read the names in the record (Akta 681 is on the top right), I downloaded the entire page using the floppy icon. I cropped the photo to only show Akta 681 and saved it. I always save my vital records with a descriptive name that includes the person's names (or two names if marriage), the year registered, location, Akta #, and which website I used to acquire that copy, i.e. Krajndl Klepfisz birth 1865 Warsaw Akta 681 Metryki.jpg. This way I can more easily know how I acquired that vital record if I, or someone else, needs to find it again.
I have used Metryki for some other towns: Tarczyn.
But if there's no Mosaic, you're out of luck.
Advanced Searching when indexed records are not available within JRI for a specific year or town:
Every section listed in the Metryki results contains a link to the unique photo for every single page in the original metrical book kept in that town. If you are lucky to have Mosaic records for your town, but JRI has not indexed a particular year, or if you know your town and JRI has not indexed that town, you can look within the metrical book's indexes for your surname of interest.
So in the above example, there was a link to the photo for 679-682 which are the visible Akta records on the photo for that particular page that was scanned. The same goes for the photos of the metrical books' Index pages. They are uniquely identified as "SKU", "SKM" and "SKZ" corresponding to indexes for births, marriages and deaths. They are usually found toward the end of the grouping within the section.
It is tedious, but you can try to go through each and every "SK" page/photo to see if there are any records that contain the surname you are looking for. These indexes are generally alphabetized. I was lucky in reviewing all the "SK" records for Warsaw as my relatives' last names started with the letter "B" which in both Polish and Cyrillic is the second letter in those alphabets. So my review of these indexed pages was relatively quick in that if I didn't see the name within the first page of "SK" images, I stopped looking at the group of indexes, and moved on to the next group of indexes to review. Within a particular year, since the birth, marriage and death records are usually displayed separately, and so were their indexes, there were still many "SK" records I needed to review, even for one year.
Try it yourself and see if you can find Mosaic records for your own towns.
Deborah Shindell (Debbie)
researching: Beserglik (all spellings), Lederhendler (all spellings), Goldberg (all in Poland) and Szmukler (Ukraine)