This guide is meant to help those just starting their family research and/or possibly visiting the JRI-Poland web site for the first time. JRI-Poland and its board members are unable to respond to personal research questions. Please read all the information we've provided on our web site to help you in your research. This guide should provide a starting point in your research. We hope you will find it useful.
If after reading this guide, you still have a question about the records of a specific town, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Familiarize yourself with all aspects of JewishGen
For general Jewish genealogical information, the place to start is with JewishGen, the home of Jewish genealogy on the world wide web. Next, view the Jewishgen FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions). Also see the InfoFile, Polish-Jewish Genealogy - Questions and Answers and Vital Records in Poland.
Check out what's available in the JewishGen Family Finder
It is important to understand the value of connecting to and working with others interested in the same SURNAME or town. Don't duplicate work! Check to see if there are researchers with a common interest to yours who may have already done some of the research you are aiming to do. It can make your own work much easier.
So, one of the first steps is to check the JewishGen Family Finder.
The "family finder" features on-line search and/or entry. It grows day-by-day, so frequent visits to the site should be an ongoing strategy.
Understand the JRI - Poland project... what it can do!
Jewish Records Indexing - Poland can help you locate shtetls where your ancestral names were found in birth, marriage or death registrations... including variant spellings that are the same phonetic name. This is the real strength (some call it magic) of JRI-Poland ... to identify the places where surnames appeared and your families lived -- including towns you may have never known before.
Look at the vital records you have uncovered
If a JRI-Poland database search uncovers towns with your family surnames, order the LDS microfilms or copies of the records, and view them yourself.
For frequently asked questions about JRI-Poland, read the JRI-Poland FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).
If you have an uncommon surname, these records may connect you to other branches of your family in nearby towns. Seeing the actual records may be the only way to verify that the index entries in the JRI-Poland database are or could be for the family you are seeking. They can help direct your future research.
Read the JRI-Poland Introduction first; direct your questions to the right place
It is imperative to read the JRI-Poland Introduction. It explains exactly what JRI-Poland is and how our resources and database can help you in your research. Personal research questions not directly related to the project, such as: "I am searching for [SURNAME] posts, should be made to the JewishGen list.
For general research information, read the JewishGen InfoFiles.
Know the limitations: JRI-Poland cannot do everything!
This indexing project is a huge ongoing one and is totally volunteer driven. Realize that the JRI-Poland database does not have all of the Jewish vital records of Poland! And, your ancestors may be from an area whose records are not yet part of our database. Or, the years that your family lived in a certain town have not yet been indexed. Read on, there is something you can do about this.
After the search
When you get your JRI-Poland search output, read the explanatory notes at the bottom; they will tell you how the data is helpful, what its limitations are, and then you'll be on your way.
Also, remember, the JRI-Poland database was created by human beings; there could be errors. We explain how errors may occur, and how you can report them, on the home page of Jewish Records Indexing - Poland.
Be a volunteer - form your own or join a Shtetl CO-OP
If you don't find your family in your initial searches, read about the JRI-Poland Shtetl CO-OP initiative.
Make sure one of the next shtetls to be indexed is the one with YOUR family records. Every individual can make a difference in the project.
Landmark agreement with the Polish State Archives
JRI-Poland and the Polish State Archives (PSA) have agreed to work together to index Jewish vital records that have not been microfilmed by the LDS (Mormon) Church. Read about the PSA milestone agreement.
Historical and General Information on Research of Polish Civil records:
For information on translating Jewish records of Poland, we suggest reading A Translation Guide to 19th-Century Polish-Language Civil-Registration Documents.
For in-depth information about Poland, its history of record keeping and to learn how to use, and analyze Polish records of genealogical value, we suggest a review of the LDS "Family Search" Poland pages. The content is variously targeted to beginners, intermediate, and expert researchers.
To go directly to the "Family Search" page on Civil Registrations in Poland, click here.
One last hint
Experienced researchers will tell you of the benefits of having a mentor in or networking with someone close to home, perhaps in your city or town. Join the nearest Jewish Genealogical Society. The list is on the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies page.
If there's no society nearby, ask around your town, at synagogues, the Jewish Community Center, put up a notice, post a message on JewishGen.... Try everything! Form your own little study group! You will be glad you did."
The Board of Jewish Records Indexing - Poland