1. The Shtetl CO-OP initiative - indexing of records on microfilm
There are more than two million vital records in the LDS microfilms of Jewish registers. Although there have been remarkable
efforts by volunteers around the world and generous contributions to support the work of professionals, the major part of the work
to create indices of all the microfilmed 19th century Jewish vital records of Poland lies ahead. Approximately 1000 films have been
indexed and hundreds more are in progress. However, there are hundreds of films yet to be indexed and for which volunteers are needed.
The indexing of microfilmed records is carried out by JRI-Poland Shtetl CO-OPs, typically made up of volunteers with a common
interest in an ancestral town or area. There are now more than 200 Shtetl CO-OPs who have shared or are sharing the cost of copying
index pages and entering indices into an Excel file.
The Shtetl CO-OP initiative, under the leadership of Associate Director and Shtetl CO-OP and Transliteration Coordinator, Hadassah
Lipsius, emphasizes the value of cooperative research and sharing. A list of current Shtetl CO-OPs with their leaders is available
on the JRI-Poland web site. Volunteers are needed for the indexing of records from microfilms of many other towns. Volunteers also
create inventories of LDS microfilms in which the number of births, marriages and deaths by year in each film is recorded in table
form. Inventories of each town's records are added to the JRI-Poland web site to guide researchers in locating their records.
2. The JRI-Poland/Polish State Archives Project - indexing records not on microfilm
Indexing is being done in Poland on an archive by archive basis. A volunteer "Archive Coordinator" takes responsibility for all
the towns in a single archive and appoints "Town Leaders" to handle fundraising for the indexing of the records of each town. In
most cases, Warsaw-based professionals do the data entry from photocopies of index pages purchased from the Polish State Archives.
Where index pages do not exist, JRI-Poland hires professionals to index records directly from the record registers.
Initial indexing (up to currently available records) has been generally completed for virtually all branches of the Polish State
Archives with the exception of those in the former Prussian and other Germanic areas. However, some data is now available from many
of the latter towns and planning is underway to accelerate the indexing of records from this part of present day Poland. Volunteers
are needed to assist current Archive Coordinators and/or head up indexing projects for other branches of the archives.
JRI-Poland has also indexed most of the 2,500 volumes of vital records from 88 towns in the East Galician area (now part of Ukraine)
in the AGAD archives. The Archiwum Glówne Akt Dawnych (The Central Archives of Historical Records in Warsaw) holds many of the records
for the areas of the former Lwów, Stanislawów, and Tarnopol wojewodztwa (now Lviv, Ivano Frankivsk, and Ternopil oblasts in Ukraine).
The registers are mainly for the period from 1877-1905, when these areas were a part of the Austro-Hungarian province of Galicia. While
the number of records in each volume varies widely, the overall total is estimated to exceed one million.
3. 1929 Polish Business Directory Project
A Town Index is now on line. Results are linked to Adobe PDF files with images of actual directory pages.
The directory is now searchable by
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. The Polish Business Directory project is in association with JewishGen.
Acquiring Records Indexed by JRI-Poland
Records Indexed by the JRI-Poland/PSA Project
Researchers can order records indexed as part of the JRI-Poland/PSA Project directly from the Regional Archive where the records are maintained.
Records Indexed from LDS Microfilms (Shtetl CO-OP projects)
For more information on obtaining records indexed from LDS Microfilms, please refer to the Order FAQ and scroll down to "Obtaining Records Indexed from LDS Microfilms."
Special Contributors to the Jewish Records Indexing - Poland Database
The JRI-Poland / Jewish Genealogical Society, Inc. (New York) (JGSNY) Project to index genealogical collections at the Jewish
Historical Institute, Warsaw (JHI), in association with the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation Genealogy Project (RLF): Utilizing significant
grant funds from the JGSNY, JRI-Poland indexed genealogical-related holdings at the JHI. Expanded indices to more than 23,000 Krakow
banns and marriage records (from 1877 to 1939) were completed in April 2001. Additional JHI collections now in the JRI-Poland database
include thousands of deaths in the Warsaw Ghetto, the Biala Podlaska 1939 Census, and the Aliyah Passport file. Researchers seeking to
access names from the list of passport holders who went from Poland to Mandate Palestine in the 1930s must search the entire JRI-Poland
database without limiting their search by geographic area in order to obtain search results.
Douglas E. Goldman Jewish Genealogy Center, Beth Hatefutsoth, Museum of the Jewish Diaspora, Tel Aviv: Goldman Center volunteers
have created thousands of extracts of vital records of Warsaw, Bialystok, Bedzin, Kraków, Sandomierz, Golub Dobrzyn and Tarnów. Shtetl
CO-OP volunteers did the data entry to make these records available on-line. Researchers may order photocopies of indexed records from
the above-mentioned towns, as well as other microfilms held by the Goldman Center and indexed in the JRI-Poland database, from the Goldman Center.
Kielce-Radom Special Interest Group: Extracts of Jewish vital records for a number of towns have been published in the Kielce-Radom
SIG Journal. The Journal ceased publication in 2005 and the full extracts published in the Journal are being integrated into the JRI-Poland database.
Warsaw, Lodz, Bedzin, Bielsko-Biala and Osweicim Cemeteries: JRI-Poland has entered into agreements to incorporate the indices to the burials
in the JRI-Poland database. There are now more than 90,000 burials from the Warsaw Cemetery in the database.
A guide to starting and leading a Shtetl CO-OP
The "step-by-step" guide for Shtetl CO-OP leaders and volunteers by Robinn Magid (Lublin Shtetl CO-OP leader) can be downloaded
from the JRI-Poland web site. It includes standard format (templates) for the creation of a computer file with the indexed records.
Completed files are reviewed by the JRI-Poland Transliteration Coordinator and the quality control team. Approved files are uploaded
to the JRI-Poland database by co-founder and Database Manager, Michael Tobias.
Supporting JRI-Poland - through the Shtetl CO-OP initiative
- Volunteer to lead a Shtetl CO-OP or volunteer to assist an established Shtetl CO-OP.
- Work on your own to index towns/years/films of interest to you.
- Photocopy and submit index pages for use by future Shtetl CO-OPs as they are formed.
- Submit the notes and/or inventories you have made during your research of a particular film.
- Make monetary contributions to enable JRI-Poland to hire professional translators to do the work for which qualified volunteers are not available.
For items 1 to 5, please contact Transliteration and Data Entry Coordinator, Hadassah Lipsius at ShtetlCOOP@jri-poland.org.
Tax deductible contributions may be made online at: www.jri-poland.org/support.htm
or may be sent to: JRI-Poland Treasurer, c/o Sheila Salo, 5607 Greenleaf Road, Cheverly, MD 20785 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Supporting JRI-Poland - through the JRI-Poland / Polish State Archives project
- Archive Coordinators lead projects to index the records for a group of towns.
- Town Leaders coordinate the fundraising for the indexing of your town's records.
- Volunteer to make inventories of microfilms that are required prior to ordering the index pages for non-filmed years from the Polish State Archives.
- Support the indexing of your town when the Town Leader contacts you.
For items 1 - 3, please contact JRI-Poland Executive Director, Stanley Diamond at ExecutiveDirector@jripoland.org. Tax deductible contributions (item 4) may be made online at: www.jri-poland.org/support.htm
or sent to: JRI-Poland Treasurer, Sheila Salo, 5607 Greenleaf Road, Cheverly, MD 20785 (email@example.com).
Supporting JRI-Poland long range initiatives
As part of a long-range strategy to ensure the strength and continuity of the indexing project in the service of researchers with an
interest in Jewish records of Poland, JRI-Poland is instituting a number of initiatives. Planned infrastructure, communications,
management controls and data processing systems improvement will enhance JRI-Poland's ability to administer the ever-growing database
and improve coordination with both the large international volunteer network and the professionals assisting in Poland.
To support these long range initiatives, contributions are welcome to the JRI-Poland General Fund. Tax deductible contributions
may be made online at: www.jri-poland.org/support.htm
or sent to: JRI-Poland Treasurer, c/o Sheila Salo, 5607 Greenleaf Road, Cheverly, MD 20785 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Other initiatives will be for special projects, particularly those relating to the important role JRI-Poland has played and will
continue to play in providing a unique resource in the related fields of family history research and medical genetics.
JRI-Poland is an independent non-profit tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. While
JRI-Poland is hosted by JewishGen, Jewish Records Indexing - Poland operations and fundraising are separate from all other organizations.
Joining the JRI-Poland family of volunteers
As JRI-Poland continues to grow, additional volunteers are needed for a range of responsibilities from indexing to administration. To
participate, contact Stanley Diamond at ExecutiveDirector@jripoland.org.
The Jewish Records Indexing - Poland 'Discussion Group
Subscribers to the moderated JRI-Poland Discussion Group share information and participate in discussions relating to records as well as
receive updates on the database contents and interrelated matters. Researchers with an interest in researching their Polish roots are
encouraged to subscribe.
To subscribe to the Jewish Records Indexing - Poland mailing list, go to the WebForm
on the JewishGen site (http://lyris.jewishgen.org/ListManager). The JRI-Poland website and database are hosted by JewishGen and this link
may be used to manage subscriptions - i.e. to subscribe/unsubscribe, choose digest or single message mode.
Jewish Records Indexing - Poland; a shared vision
The JRI-Poland project is built on a shared vision and partnering with individuals, archives, and independent organizations around the world.
Every individual with an interest in the Jewish records of Poland can play a part.