Announcements

The Award-Winning Searchable Database of Indexes to Jewish Records of Poland
JRI-Poland is an independent non-profit tax-exempt organization
under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.

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ANNOUNCEMENTS

JRI-Poland database is key resource for PBS's "Finding Your Roots” episode featuring attorney Alan Dershowitz, singer Carole King and playwright Tony Kushner

Alan Dershowitz
Alan Dershowitz
Carole King
Carole King
Tony Kushner
Tony Kushner

The November 4th episode of PBS's documentary series “Finding Your Roots,” features three notable Americans, renowned attorney Alan Dershowitz, Grammy Award winning singer / songwriter Carole King and Pulitzer Prize winning playwright and screen writer Tony Kushner. All three have deep roots in Poland.

The episode's researchers were able to tap into JRI-Poland's online database for documenting the ancestry of the featured personalities.

The episode is being repeated at different times by PBS stations around the U.S. Check your local listings.

The Dershowitz/King/Kushner story is part of the current 10-part series of Finding Your Roots with host Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. The series combines history and science in a fascinating exploration of race, family, and identity in today's America. Each hour features celebrity guests, who are bound together by an intimate, sometimes hidden link, whether it be as old friends, through long-lost relatives, or even through a common ancestral past.

Finding Your Roots director / producer, Josh Gleason commented:

"JRI-Poland was a tremendous resource as we worked to uncover the Eastern European ancestry of our Jewish guests. The site allowed us to trace Carole King's family tree all the way back to the 18th century. Typically this would require finding independent researchers to comb through local archives. By indexing and digitizing thousands of records JRI-Poland has made it possible for people in all parts of the world to readily uncover their ancestry."

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JRI-Poland wins coveted 2014 IAJGS "Award for Outstanding Contribution to Jewish Genealogy via the Internet"

2014 IAJGS Award
en Francais בעברית po Polsku en Español

On August 1, 2014, at the closing banquet of the annual International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, Jewish Records Indexing – Poland received the 2014 IAJGS (International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies) "Award for Outstanding Contribution to Jewish Genealogy via the Internet".

The certificate accompanying the award states:

JRI-Poland is recognized for providing since 1995 searchable on-line indices of Jewish records from current and former territories of Poland and for its recent ground-breaking multi-year agreement with the Polish State Archives (PSA) in a massive effort to digitize all vital records in more than 30 regional archives. This initiative will dramatically expand access to records for family historians tracing their Jewish roots to Poland and make them freely available online.

The executive committee and board of Jewish Records Indexing – Poland acknowledges the remarkable efforts of its many hundreds of volunteers and the generosity of researchers around the world. Our success is due to the boundless energy of those volunteers together with the support of contributors with a common interest. This combination of dedication and generosity characterizes the very best in the world of Jewish Genealogy.

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Agreement between the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw and JRI-Poland

A new 8-year agreement on promoting research and education between Jewish Records Indexing - Poland, Inc. and the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw has been co-signed at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Ottawa on April 10, 2014.

Stanley Diamond

Stanley Diamond signing the agreement witnessed by Ambassador Andrzej Cudak

The new agreement between JRI-Poland and the Museum of the History of the Polish Jews expands the relationship of the two organizations to promote research and to educate those interested in their family history and the rich and historic culture of Polish Jewry, which dates back almost 1000 years.

The April 10 signing by JRI-Poland Executive Director, Stanley Diamond,of Montreal follows the initial signing of the agreement by Acting Director of the Museum in Warsaw, Andrzej Cudak several weeks ago.

Under the new agreement, the Resource Center at the Museum will have special access to the JRI-Poland database and website. Museum staff will educate visitors and respond to their questions regarding the database and provide guidance to Museum visitors on the next steps they can take in their research of family roots in Poland. In 2010, the two organizations signed a cooperation agreement linking their websites. The Museum's "Virtual shtetl" portal commemorates and includes research resources for more than 1800 Polish towns. JRI-Poland has Jewish record indices from the birth, marriage, death and census records for the Jewish families that lived in many of these same towns. By using the two websites together, researchers are able to not only obtain names, dates and sources of family records from JRI-Poland, but are also be able to learn about town histories from the Museum's web pages.

The Museum of the History of Polish Jews documents Jewish experience in Poland - from the early settlements ten centuries ago, to the modern revival of the Jewish community. With the opening of the core exhibit in the fall of 2014, the museum will compare in content and importance to both Yad Vashem and to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

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Polish State Archives & JRI-Poland Sign Historic Agreement Expanding Access to Records

On Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, the Polish State Archives (PSA) and Jewish Records Indexing-Poland (JRI-Poland) entered into a new multi-year agreement that will expand access to Jewish records for thousands of family historians.

Szydlo_Diamond.jpg

Polish Consul General Andrzej
Szydło and Stanley Diamond

Stepniak_Krochmal.jpg

Director Władysław Stępniak &
Intl Dept Head Ania Krochmal

Video of the Official Signing

The agreement will enable JRI-Poland to rapidly expand its current online database of indices to five million records. With the support of researchers from the hundreds of towns with records in the JRI-Poland database, indices to more than one million additional records are expected to become available within a year.

The agreement reflects a resumption of cooperation between the PSA and JRI-Poland, whose landmark agreement from 1997-2006 resulted in the indexing of more than four million records whose listings are searchable in the JRI-Poland database.

JRI-Poland and the PSA will institute a new Order Processing System to vastly simplify the process of obtaining copies of archival records. JRI-Poland will have the administrative responsibility for processing orders for records from branches of the Polish State Archives. Researchers will be able to place orders by clicking on record index entries of interest in the JRI-Poland search results and paying by credit card via the JRI-Poland website.

In a statement reflecting the strong significance of these records and their importance to family historians around the world, the PSA announced that they are beginning a massive effort to digitize all vital records in their more than 30 Regional Archives. These will be available — free — on their National Digital Archives and Regional Archive websites.

JRI-Poland will serve the research community and PSA by linking its search results to the PSA's digital images of the Jewish records. As a result of the massive indexing undertaken by JRI-Poland since 1995, the indices to Jewish records will form the bulk of all digital image linking on the PSA website.

The Order Processing System will eventually be phased out as digitized records become available online.

PSA General Director, Professor Władysław Stępniak observed: "The signing of this agreement will open a new phase in the cooperation between JRI-Poland and State Archives in Poland. I am convinced that the results of our mutual efforts will be helpful for many people interested in centuries-old Polish-Jewish relations, shared history and family history research."

To reach this milestone took the combined and diligent efforts of the JRI-Poland executive committee, Judy Baston, Stanley Diamond, Mark Halpern and Michael Tobias, and former committee member Hadassah Lipsius, and the invaluable input of our board members. We also would like to thank those JRI-Poland Archive Coordinators and Town Leaders who continued to carry out their responsibilities and serve researchers around the world during the years leading up to this new agreement.

Additional information will be posted as we move forward.

Stanley Diamond, Executive Director
For the Board of Jewish Records Indexing - Poland

See the full text of the Jewish Records Indexing - Poland agreement News Release.

Read the announcement on the Polish State Archives website.

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JRI-Poland plays important role in Canadian Episode of "Who Do You Think You Are?"

"Who Do You Think You Are?" is a genealogy series in which well known Canadians set out to discover their family roots. Each half hour episode combines the intimacy of observational documentary and the revelation of a well told detective story.

The Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) is re-running its 13 part episodes of Who Do You Think You Are? - first aired in 2007.

Steven Page, former lead-singer, guitarist and principal songwriter for the internationally acclaimed pop band, the Barenaked Ladies (BNL), grew up in Scarborough, a suburb of Toronto, feeling that being the only Jew in the neighborhood made him an outsider. His search into his ancestry reveals family tragedy, oppression and a connection to a musical dynasty.

The key to the success of each episode is extensive genealogical research. Steven Page's voyage of discovery took him to Jewish Records Indexing Poland. JRI-Poland Executive Director Stanley Diamond was a consultant for this episode. With leads from the JRI - Poland database of records from the Polish State Archives, Page became the first in his family to take an individual journey deep into his family's past in Nowa Slupia, Lagow and Rakow (towns in the Opatow district of Poland).

Click here for a description of the episode.

The Steven Page episode, by Toronto director/writer David Langer, aired on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation network on October 1, 2012.

The episode can also be viewed online here.

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Surname Distribution Mapper

Jewish Records Indexing - Poland has introduced the "Surname Distribution Mapper" - a tool designed to help researchers graphically understand where their family names first appeared in the 19th century records and visualize how the family spread throughout Poland by decades from the early 1800s into the first part of the 20th century.

Using modern mapping technology provided by Google Maps, the Surname Distribution Mapper allows users to graphically display their search results using a tree icon to indicate the number of entries found for a surname in a town's vital and other records. By running the cursor over each tree icon, a user can view a popup window displaying the number of vital record entries found in various towns in the JRI-Poland database. Clicking on the balloon brings the user to the familiar JRI-Poland search results for detailed viewing of a town's entries.

Additionally, and especially exciting for researchers, the Surname Distribution Mapper can display results for specific decades or in a "progressive mode," where tree icons appear successively by decade to give the researcher an idea of the movement of their family around Poland and the Western Ukraine.

The Surname Distribution Mapper enables a researcher to experience visually much of what we can only do conceptually. Our goal is to quickly determine where a person should spend their research energy to obtain results beyond what the family's oral history might recollect.

The Surname Distribution Mapper search form includes a FAQ to answer your questions and suggest the most effective ways of using this valuable new research tool.

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JRI-Poland adopts Log-In system for database searches

The Executive Committee of Jewish Records Indexing - Poland has decided to institute a log-in system to access our database. This decision was taken for a number of reasons, including future system enhancements and the concerns of our data donors.

As most of you know, JRI-Poland is an independent organization and our database is hosted by JewishGen as a convenience to researchers. To simplify the login process, JRI-Poland is using the secure JewishGen log-in system.

Please use your JewishGen researcher number and password to log-in to the JRI-Poland database.

If you are a subscriber to the JRI-Poland discussion group, you already have a JewishGen researcher number and password.

If you are not already logged in to JewishGen when you start your search of the JRI-Poland database, you can do so here. Otherwise you will be prompted to do so after the first stage results are displayed.

If you do not have a JewishGen researcher number and password, you can register here.

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JRI-Poland invaluable to US Television Series "Who Do You Think You Are?"

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow's ancestral search was featured in an episode of NBC's "Who Do You Think You Are?" Her roots go back to a long line of rabbis named Paltrowicz from northeastern Poland.

The show's researchers were able to tap into JRI-Poland's online database as the starting point in documenting Paltrow's ancestry. They stated, "JRI Poland is a wonderful resource for anyone researching Jewish Polish ancestry and was invaluable during the research for the Gwyneth Paltrow episode." Click here to read the full story.

To watch this episode online, click here

WDYTYA - Gwyneth Paltrow

Listen to JRI-Poland Executive Director Stanley Diamond discuss this episode on the Canadian Broadcasting Company.

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