BOSTON, MA - The Russian Era Indexing of Poland Project, announced at the 15th Summer Seminar on Jewish Genealogy, is bringing genealogy into cyberspace. Under the direction of Steven Zedeck and Michael Tobias, the Russian Era Indexing of Poland Project (REIPP) is helping move Jcwish genealogical research into the modern age of searchable databases via the Internet. REIPP provides a searchable index for over 95,000 Jewish vital records. This index, together with related microfilms, brings genealogy into the computing age, making it dramatically easier and significandy less time-consuming for family historians worldwide to search for their Polish roots.

Zedeck and Tobias, REIPP co-founders, first discussed the idea of an Internet accessible vital record index, while each was spending countless hours poring over LDS (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) microfilms at Family History Centers near their home towns in Nashua, New Hampshire and Glasgow, Scotland, respectively. Frustrated by the obstacles in their own research, and aware of the easy access to information afforded by the World Wide Web and the Internet - where they met - Zedeck and Tobias recognized the value of a searchable dalabase. Tobias built the database and a search engine, while Zedeck, who coordinates all transliteration activities worldwide, enlisted the support of Susan King and Bernard Kouchel, managers of JewishGen site and server on the Internet.

"The realization that vital records survived Europe's wars, its destroyed communities and years of neglect is quite a surprise for Jews who have never done family history research. For Jews with roots in Poland, REIPP transforms that realization into research possibilities that just a few years ago were wishful thinking," said Lawrence Tapper of the National Archives of Canada. "As REIPP's indexing project picks up steam and more records are added to the rapidly growing database, a large segment of the world's Jewish population will be able to do meaningful family history research from the comfort of their homes."

Today, only 4 months after the REIPP database, became accessible via Internet electronic mail, it already has over 95,000 Jewish vital records from more than 35 towns in Poland. In addition to email access, the REIPP database will soon be available on the World Wide Web. The entries and towns are growing week by week with the ultimate goal of including over two million records from the almost 2000 rolls of LDS microfilms of 19th century Jewish vital records. Plans are in place to add indices from other sources as they become available.

REIPP is a not-for-profit organization supported by volunteers and contributions. For more information on REIPP, contact Steven Zedeck at 25 Cathedral Circle, Nashua, NH USA, by email at Webmaster@JRI-Poland.org, or visit the REIPP World Wide Web Site (now called JRI-Poland)


Printed from "The Family Tree", August/Sept. 1996