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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.