Topics

How to correct information in Jewishgen Databases #records


Selma Sheridan
 

On 13 July 2020, I sent a request to support@... asking what steps I should take to go about correcting the spelling of the names of my grandparents in the Vienna Marriages database.  I haven’t received a reply.  Since then, I discovered in Vienna Deaths that the birth date of one great-grandfather is missing, and the death date indicates only the year; I can provide all the missing information, but don’t know the procedure.  Where should I send the request to correct these details?  Many thanks!

Selma Sheridan

Oswego NY


Daniella Alyagon
 

 
There is something to consider when asking for corrections in Indexed record
 
1. If the index does not reflect the actual historic record, usually due to issues figuering out the hand written record or typing issues a correction is warented
 
2. If the original record contains an error it should not be corrected as in the i dex as that will mis represent the indexed record. 
 
3. Information not provided in the original record should not be added to the index for the same reason provided above.
 
If I understand correctly you are asking to add information not present in the actual record and in that case I sincerly hope JewishGen will not do so as it will be misleading for other researchers.
 
In order to explain my last comment about 20 years ago I published a family tree online. This tree contained information I believed to be correct and was picked up by other. Since then I have discovered errors in my original tree and current information is in cotrast with other published family trees. This posses a question as to the correct information. 
 

Daniella Alyagon

Israel

alyagon.genealogy@...

 

Researching: ALYAGON (Israel), SHOCHETMAN (Kishinev / Letychev / Derazhnya), AGINSKY (Kishinev / Minsk), FAJNZYLBER (Siennica, Poland / Warsaw, Poland), YELIN (Poland), KIEJZMAN (Garwolin, Poland),  SLIWKA (Garwolin, Poland), MANDELBAUM (Janowiec, Poland / Zwolen, Poland / Kozienice, Poland), CUKIER (Janowiec, Poland), RECHTANT (Kozienice, Poland), FALENBOGEN (Lublin, Poland), ROTENSTREICH (Galicia), SELINGER (Galicia), BITTER (Galicia / Bukowina), HISLER (Galicia / Bukowina ), EIFERMAN (Galicia / Bukowina), FROSTIG (Zolkiew, Galicia / Lviv, Galicia), GRANZBAUER (Zolkiew, Galicia), HERMAN (Zolkiew, Galicia), MESSER (Lviv, Galicia / Vienna, Austria), PROJEKT (Lviv, Galicia), STIERER (Lviv, Galicia), ALTMAN (Lviv, Galicia), FRIEDELS (Lviv, Galicia)

 


Sally Bruckheimer
 

" I sent a request to support@... asking what steps I should take to go about correcting the spelling of the names of my grandparents in the Vienna Marriages database."

Your first problem is that spelling wasn't 'correct' or 'wrong'. Clerks wrote what they heard. Sometimes they wrote the same thing differently if a name occurred in a record twice.

The second problem is that records say what they say. This is not Geni or a Wiki where everybody fixes things; the records are the records. If they are wrong, they are wrong.

You might want to quote the record in your family tree and point out other records which conflict with the information.

Sally Bruckheimer
Princeton, NJ


Selma Sheridan
 

Dear JewishGen researchers,
Re my question of 25 August: I would never request database corrections without having copies of original documents.  Whom could I contact about this?  
With many thanks,
Selma Sheridan
Oswego NY


Shelley Mitchell
 

This problem of information is very interesting. I just designed a matzevah for my mother’s sister. For my grandmother’s name I started using the name on all of her paperwork which showed Beyla Pesia. My cousin reminded me that our grandmother always said her name was Pesia Beyla. That name would be consistent with Jewish tradition because the first baby’s name was Beyla. Tradition would have the second name in the front as a first name. In this case, the headstone will now say Pesia Beyla. No need to change paperwork. 

Shelley Mitchell 


Peter Cherna
 

The digital records for the Vienna Marriages database are deemed correct when they match the specific source documents from which that database was derived.

If you have different, also valid documents that are more accurate, you can use those corrected spellings wherever you see fit, but they are not a valid source for correcting the JewishGen databases. You message, and your reply, leave some uncertainty between two very different cases:
  • The digital representation of the records in the database do not match the documents from which they were directly transcribed (where a correction is warranted)
  • The digital representation of the records in the database do no match other genealogical information you may have obtained elsewhere (where a correction would be wrong)

The job of the JewishGen databases is not to show the "best" information (whatever that means!), but to be as precise a digital representation of their one specific source.

Peter


Dalya Dektor
 

I have asked on FB and send a message to support on how to infom them of a deceased researcher in JGFF.  Any idea where to send this, to whom?

Dalya Dektor


Helen Gardner
 

The philosophy “If it’s wrong, it’s wrong” can mean that some researcher never discovers the missing link to their blank wall.

 

To use an actual example from my family, my ggrandmother’s record gives her maiden name as Prefseizen but every other record indicates it is Presseizen (and that’s easy enough to understand given old German script). There’s one Prefseizen record, but a large family of Presseizens.  I would never have been able to follow the family through if someone hadn’t pointed it out to me. And someone searching for Presseizen may never find me via my ggrandmother. It’s not good enough if one person knows a record is wrong but the knowledge is not shared.

 

The issue of whether or not to correct records leads me to wonder whether in NextGen any thought has been given to a “comments” field, where one could say, eg, This record says Bloggowitz but every other record I have found for this person and their family indicates that it is Blinkowitz . 

Or

The record gives the date of birth as 1851 with no further details, but I have found the original birth record, which gives the dob as 15 Jun 1851 (or 1852 or 1854 …) which may help someone to slot some person into their tree or otherwise solve some mystery without having to actually change the record.

 

Regards

Helen Gardner

 


--
Helen Gardner

ancestral names, all from Poland, mostly Warsaw

AJGENGOLD/EIGENGOLD, BERCHOJER, BLANK, BIALOGORA, BLUMBERG, CHMIELNICKI, FELD, FERNEBOK/FERNSBUN, EDELMAN, FRYDMAN, GELDTRUNK, GURIN, ISSAKOWICH, LAKS, LERMAN, MALIS, MENDER/MONDER, MLYNARZ/MILLER, PODGORER/PODGORSKI, POPOWER, RAUTARBER/ROTGERBERG, RASTENBERG, POSSIBLY PRESSEIZEN


Helen Gardner
 

In addition to my reply to Sally (and Daniella) just sent, I would add to Peter Cherna that the JewishGen records do not exist in and of themselves, for no reason except documentation. JewishGen records exist to aid people searching for ancestral family, and as such, should, as far as possible, provide help to share knowledge which will allow other people finding records to make connections they might not otherwise have been able to make.

 

Helen Gardner


--
Helen Gardner

ancestral names, all from Poland, mostly Warsaw

AJGENGOLD/EIGENGOLD, BERCHOJER, BLANK, BIALOGORA, BLUMBERG, CHMIELNICKI, FELD, FERNEBOK/FERNSBUN, EDELMAN, FRYDMAN, GELDTRUNK, GURIN, ISSAKOWICH, LAKS, LERMAN, MALIS, MENDER/MONDER, MLYNARZ/MILLER, PODGORER/PODGORSKI, POPOWER, RAUTARBER/ROTGERBERG, RASTENBERG, POSSIBLY PRESSEIZEN


Sally Bruckheimer
 

"JewishGen records do not exist in and of themselves, for no reason except documentation. JewishGen records exist to aid people searching for ancestral family, and as such, should, as far as possible, provide help to share knowledge which will allow other people finding records to make connections they might not otherwise have been able to make."

The records are what they are. We can not expect to 'fix' records more than 100 years ago.  I just found a record for Shayna Leah Ruslander Stolowski's death, as Shayna Leah Vertcikovski Stolowski. Rather than wanting to 'fix' this to what you expect, I find it a link to the origin of the Ruslanders, before they went to the Kingdom of Poland and were known as 'Russian'. Shayna Leah was born in 1835, about the time the family went to Polish Russia. What if somebody changed it, so I wouldn't have that information.

That reminds me of a woman in the LDS library where I worked, who had ordered Swedish birth records. She was surprised that they weren't in English!

If you want to share your knowledge with others, perhaps you should put your tree on FTJP, with the 'correct' information. Otherwise, everything will turn into Geni, where people can 'correct' other peoples trees with incorrect information.

Sally Bruckheimer
Princeton, NJ


Chana Bonn
 

In the case of Prefseizen versus Presseizen, the transcriber may not have realized that a double "s" can be written so that the first "s" looks like an "f".  Take a look at something like a reproduction of an older English document, for example, and the "s" is often written in a way that it looks like a modern letter "f".  Perhaps that is where the problem lies, and the name has always been Presseizen.

Chana Bonn


Miriam Bulwar David-Hay
 

As someone who has done indexing of Polish Jewish records for JRI-Poland, as well as translations of yizkor book entries for JewishGen, I’d like to clarify a few things here. There are really two places where errors can occur: either in the records themselves, or in the transcribing of records by an indexer.

With regard to the first category, the records are primary historical documents that say whatever they say, and indexers are SUPPOSED to transcribe them exactly as they are written. If there is an obvious error or discrepancy in a record — for example, one I have seen personally is in a World War II document where a person’s birth year was written as 1824 instead of 1924 — many indexers will add a note about it, but that is up to the individual indexer. It is not the job of JewishGen or of any indexer to fix the error or perceived error, and definitely not to embark on research to see if that record matches other information. I should also point out that most indexers are volunteers, and we put in a great deal of our own effort and time to index often hundreds or thousands of records in a set. Expecting volunteers not only to index records but also to fact-check the data they are indexing is neither realistic nor reasonable.

With regard to the second category, mistakes made in transcription by an indexer, yes, of course that happens. As I wrote above, indexers go through at hundreds or thousands of old records, which were written by myriad hands in old-fashioned and sometimes not-so-clear cursive script, and however conscientious and careful we may be, we can make errors. From personal experience I can say that in handwritten Polish documents, names like Chana, Chawa and Chaja, Moszka and Mordka, Icek and Josek, Srul and Szmul, and many others, can easily be confused for one another. One of my ancestral surnames is Kaluszyner; in Polish there is a stroke through the l, and I have sometimes seen this name indexed (wrongly) as “Katuszyner.” If someone does notice a mistake in transcription, I suppose they could write to JewishGen or JRI-Poland or whoever’s database it is, but I don’t know whether they have the ability, the staff or the resources to fix such errors. But really, does it matter so much? Thorough researchers will try to find all possible variations of the names of their ancestors, including unlikely ones, and will always aim to look at the original document and not just the index.

Finally, I’d just like to say that for me, and I’d imagine for many others, voluntary work is our way of giving back for all we have learned and gained from these websites over the years. In turn, the efforts of volunteers are what enable websites like JewishGen and JRI-Poland to offer the wonderful resources they offer. 

Wishing everyone all the best,
Miriam BULWAR DAVID-HAY,
Raanana, Israel. 


Selma Sheridan
 

The JewishGen database indexes do not match / reflect two of my original family documents.  How can I contact the database department about this?  
Selma Sheridan
Oswego NY


Peter Cherna
 

Dear Selma,

I appreciate your conundrum, and understand your desire here. That said, if the JewishGen database entries match the source documents from which they are based (e.g. birth registers), but your original family documents do not match that, then whether you personally agree or not, no correction would be possible, nor would it be appropriate. There are extremely solid reasons for this that are widely held by professional archivists and others whose job it is to make historical records available.

I'm sorry you don't seem to agree, but such opinions do not really come into play for JewishGen or any other repository of historical records, whose primary job is to make accessible accurate copies of those records. (It might be interesting for JewishGen to allow tagging and commentary alongside individual entries, but that is a significant challenge to implement, and would be absolutely daunting to administer.)

The challenge and puzzle and delight of genealogy is to stitch some kind of "whole" from primary and other sources that don't always perfectly accord. If your goal is to have a public dataset that reflects your own reconciliation of those sources, then there are lots of places, including publishing your own tree on MyHeritage, or even on the JewishGen-hosted FamilyTree of the Jewish People. https://www.jewishgen.org/gedcom/ If your goal is to deem your reconciliation the one true representation of those families, then perhaps WikiTree or Geni is for you.
 
If your goal is to get the JewishGen databases to match your own valid documents while causing them to no longer match the documents upon with those databases are based, I can only encourage you to re-read all the responses to your original query, and work your way toward understanding why such a correction would, and should, be rejected.

Peter Cherna


Diane Jacobs
 

Well said.
In 22 years of research, I have come across facts in vital records, censuses, etc.
that I know to be incorrect. You don't know if the person giving the information made the error or the person writing it on the record did so.

Diane Jacobs



Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

-------- Original message --------
From: Peter Cherna <peter@...>
Date: 8/28/20 10:10 PM (GMT-05:00)
To: main@...
Subject: Re: [JewishGen.org] How to correct information in Jewishgen Databases #records

Dear Selma,

I appreciate your conundrum, and understand your desire here. That said, if the JewishGen database entries match the source documents from which they are based (e.g. birth registers), but your original family documents do not match that, then whether you personally agree or not, no correction would be possible, nor would it be appropriate. There are extremely solid reasons for this that are widely held by professional archivists and others whose job it is to make historical records available.

I'm sorry you don't seem to agree, but such opinions do not really come into play for JewishGen or any other repository of historical records, whose primary job is to make accessible accurate copies of those records. (It might be interesting for JewishGen to allow tagging and commentary alongside individual entries, but that is a significant challenge to implement, and would be absolutely daunting to administer.)

The challenge and puzzle and delight of genealogy is to stitch some kind of "whole" from primary and other sources that don't always perfectly accord. If your goal is to have a public dataset that reflects your own reconciliation of those sources, then there are lots of places, including publishing your own tree on MyHeritage, or even on the JewishGen-hosted FamilyTree of the Jewish People. https://www.jewishgen.org/gedcom/ If your goal is to deem your reconciliation the one true representation of those families, then perhaps WikiTree or Geni is for you.
 
If your goal is to get the JewishGen databases to match your own valid documents while causing them to no longer match the documents upon with those databases are based, I can only encourage you to re-read all the responses to your original query, and work your way toward understanding why such a correction would, and should, be rejected.

Peter Cherna
--
Diane Jacobs, Somerset, New Jersey


Sally Bruckheimer
 

Records from Russia or anywhere else are what they are. You can't change them. I have seen impossible dates, registered births a year before the birth, anything.

You have to work with the records that exist and be happy that you have them. My Polish ancestors come from Augustow, where there was a fire in City Hall at the turn of the 20th century. There are almost no records remaining, and I have to live with it. I would love to have records that are occasionally wrong.

Sally Bruckheimer
Princeton, NJ


Dahn Cukier
 

I am responding to the original post, but as many have said, the
original document cannot be corrected by Jewishgen, but by the
document originator, in this case the owner of the Vienna data.

There are countless mistakes when in original documents or
comparable documents. I have a census where my father is
grandson of a person unknown to the family, his aunt is
born in NYC and her daughter in Poland. All these are on
the original document and I would not assume I can correct them.
Each of my father's uncles on his mother's side have multiple
dates of birth on official documents.

On the other hand, my grandparent's name is wrongly indexed to
Ancestry and that can be changed. The "u" looks like it could be an "a".

I have been active on Find-a-grave, I found "discrepancies" between
stones and data bases of both Tel Aviv chevra kadisha and Ministry of
Defense, IZKOR. Tel Aviv responds in days, MoD not so much. While I did
not figure statistics of Tel Aviv, I did with IZKOR and I find about 30%
discrepancy between the data base and stones. I do not know which is
correct, the stone or database. NOTE. Not all discrepancies are the names
of the fallen, but of all the information included on the stone.

I also found about 10 mistakes in British war cemetery of Beer Sheva.
All but two were location mistakes, one was a mistake on the stone that
was corrected poorly, they said a new stone would be shipped. The
last was a person whom signed up with an alias, The name on the
stone is in the notes, but I did not look. The response here was a few days,
I understand they video taped the cemetery, making claims easy to
confirm.

Dani

When you start to read readin,
how do you know the fellow that
wrote the readin,
wrote the readin right?

Festus Hagen
Long Branch Saloon
Dodge City, Kansas
(Gunsmoke)


On Wednesday, August 26, 2020, 03:50:01 AM GMT+3, Selma Sheridan <ssherida@...> wrote:


On 13 July 2020, I sent a request to support@... asking what steps I should take to go about correcting the spelling of the names of my grandparents in the Vienna Marriages database.  I haven’t received a reply.  Since then, I discovered in Vienna Deaths that the birth date of one great-grandfather is missing, and the death date indicates only the year; I can provide all the missing information, but don’t know the procedure.  Where should I send the request to correct these details?  Many thanks!

Selma Sheridan

Oswego NY


Eric M. Bloch
 

To elaborate further on this issue, I have occasionally found transcription errors in the JewishGen databases.  When reviewing an image of the actual record on Family Search, it's clear that the transcriber erred by misinterpreting the original (usually a name spelling or a date).  So, in those cases, the question remains, "How to correct information in JewishGen databases"?

Eric M. Bloch
Milwaukee, WI


Peter Cherna
 

Eric, it depends on which database. If you click through to the info link on a given database, the page that tells you about the origin and contents of the database often has contact info for the project. Some projects are more active than others, and in some cases updating the data is very cumbersome so it may take a while for a volunteer to be able to address that. If there's a clear transcription error it should get queued for correction, though that may take months. There are likely some databases with no active or reachable maintainer, in which case I'd suggest reaching out to one of the leaders of the appropriate SIG or research group.

Peter Cherna


karen.silver@juno.com
 

I agree with Dani and will provide a true example.  My paternal grandmother's headstone says that she was born on May 30, 1895.  When we unveiled the headstone in 1983, my grandfather asked if my father approved of the birth date he chose.  My grandfather explained that they had lied so much about the date that he didn't remember the truth so he decided to make her younger for eternity.  
 
Many immigrants like my paternal grandmother had no documentation of their birth.  She knew she was born in the spring so she chose May 30th, Decoration Day later called Memorial Day, because she wanted her birthday to always fall on a holiday.  No one has any idea what the exact date was.
 
Karen Silver