FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS - SURNAME DISTRIBUTION MAPPER

Please click on a question below to view the answer:

  1. What is the JRI-Poland "Surname Distribution Mapper?"
  2. How do I track my family SURNAMES using the Surname Mapper?
  3. When should I use the Surname Mapper?
  4. Do all computer browsers handle the JRI-Poland Surname Mapper the same way?
  5. How can I get the most accurate results for the name I enter in the Surname Mapper?
  6. How can I see the specific listings that are available for each town on the map?
  7. How can I move from town to town to examine records?
  8. How do I print or save the search results at each stage?
  1. What is the JRI-Poland "Surname Distribution Mapper?"

    The JRI-Poland Surname Mapper is a research tool enabling you to follow the movement and distribution of a surname through the historical records indexed in the JRI-Poland database.

  2. How do I track my family SURNAMES using the Surname Mapper?

    Stage 1: Enter your family name in the surname field. Click "Map" and the Surname search generates "tree" icons. The icons indicate all locations where a specific surname appears in all JRI-Poland records. The size of the tree icon indicates the approximate number of entries for that name found in that town's vital records. If you see a cluster of trees in one area, you can click on the + to zoom in on the area, so you can see all the individual towns in which that surname appeared in the JRI-Poland database.

    Stage 2: The "Time Period Option" appears on the screen. By selecting and clicking on a time period, your results will be restricted to that decade. You may want to use this to examine the movement and distribution of your family from the earliest appearance of your family's name in the JRI-Poland database. You can also choose "Play Progression" which will provide a time-lapse animation, by decade, of the surname locations and quantities to give you a sense of the migration within Poland of families with that surname.

    Note: Surname Mapper results are most helpful with unusual or less common surnames. It shows the distribution of a surname – not necessarily a family, but for less common surnames, the chances are greater that all results are for the same family.

  3. When should I use the Surname Mapper?

    The results of the Surname Mapper can show a surname's distribution of migration over a very large geographical area. However, many researchers want to focus their JRI-Poland searches in a smaller area, either by choosing a province from the drop-down menu or entering geographical coordinates and a radius of up to 100 miles. It makes sense to do your focused searches first, and then, afterward and separately, search for the surname in the Surname Mapper.

  4. Do all computer browsers handle the JRI-Poland Surname Mapper the same way?

    Not all browsers handle the JRI-Poland Surname Mapper the same way. The Surname Mapper has been tested on most browsers. If you have problems, please try another browser. AOL users have reported that the basic search works, but that the options for displaying time periods and the popular "time progression" feature do not work properly with AOL. Therefore AOL users should use an alternative browser to take advantage of the full capability of the Surname Mapper.

  5. How can I get the most accurate results for the name I enter in the Surname Mapper?

    Because it generates too many "false positives," the Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex feature (available as "sounds like" in standard searches) is not available with the Surname Mapper.

    The Surname Mapper uses the "phonetically like" search of the Beider-Morse Phonetic Matching System (BMPM) which attempts to approximate the sound of a surname as spoken. This is accepted as offering excellent results covering most spelling variations.

    However, the BMPM may still produce "false positives." False positives are results that appear to a computer to be successful matches, but which the researcher can conclude are not the same surname as requested.

    Future plans for the JRI-Poland Surname Mapper include the ability for the researcher to "eliminate" unwanted results; however, that feature is not yet available. Therefore, the researcher should not assume that all tree icons on the Surname Mapper perfectly match the requested surname and should investigate further the indices in the JRI-Poland database represented by an individual tree icon.

    To minimize unwanted "false positives," it may be necessary for the researcher first to use a traditional JRI-Poland surname search (www.jri-poland.org/jriplweb.htm) to determine the best possible spelling of the surname in a Mapper search and to deduce which town results to ignore as "false positives."

    Keep in mind that the results include Birth, Death and Marriage results, so some of the records are for the beginning, middle or end of individuals' life spans.

  6. How can I see the specific listings that are available for each town on the map?

    As noted above, you can zoom in or zoom out (enlarge or decrease the size) of the Google map by double clicking on the map or by using the "+" and "-" slider on the top left corner of the screen.

    Use the mouse to hover over each town of interest. A balloon will appear with the name of the town and a note indicating the number of matching records displayed with the text: "Display XX Matching Records."

    Click on the text "Display xx Matching Records" and the familiar JRI-Poland search page with those record index entries will appear.

  7. How can I move from town to town to examine records?

    After examining the first town, close the results balloon by clicking on the "x" in the top right corner of the balloon, and repeat Step 6 above.

  8. How do I print or save the search results at each stage?

    Use the "Time Period" feature to specify one specific time segment and then print each of these results that you require, using your browser's print function.

For additional questions, write to surnamemapper@jri-poland.org

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