ZichronNote -- Journal of the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society
by Dana L. Kurtz (with thanks to Steven A. Zedeck)
A newly available Internet-based database is potentially a valuable resource for those researching family from Russian Poland (The Kingdom of Poland). The REIPP (Russian Era Indexing of Poland Project) was begun in 1995 by Steven Zedeck of New Hampshire and Michael Tobias of Scotland. Prior to 1868, vital records for this region were written in Polish. After the Polish insurrection in the early 1860's, the Russian tsar decreed that all records for the region be kept in Cyrillic. Frustrated by this obstacle to their research, Zedeck and Tobias created a searchable database of index transliterations. Zedeck coordinates the worldwide transliteration activities and Tobias developed and maintains the computer database. The project features post- 1867 indices to Jewish birth, marriage and death records from Russian Poland, and some pre-1868 indices of Polish language records both found in LDS (Mormon) microfilms. Recently added is an index to 1912 Bialystok voter records. As of July 27, 1996 the database contains an index to more than 95,000 Jewish vital records from 45 towns. Data are available for: Bakalarzewo, Bialystok, Checiny, Czyzewo, Filipow, Grajewo, Izbica, Jablonka, Koden, Krasnystaw, Lomza, Losice, Nowogrod, Nur, Olkusz, Opatow, Ostrow Maz., Ozarow, Piotrkow Trybunalski, Plock, Prezdborz, Przerosl, Punsk, Radom, Radomsko, Radzilow, Rutki, Sejny, Snaidowo, Suwalki, Szczebrzesyn, Szczuczyn, Tomaszow Mazowiecki, Tykocin, Wasosz, Wawolina, Wizajny, Wlzna, Wloszczowa, Wysockie Mazowiecki, Wyszogrod, Zambrow and Zychlin. Searches are made by stimame, and one of the following: (1) By the Gtibemiya of Russian Poland 1867-1917 (including "extras" for the Pale of Settlement (Vilna, Grodno, Volynhia), Galicia and Prussian Poland). Use the following abbreviations in your query: Ep-East Prussia; Ga-Galicia; Gr-Grodno; Ki-Kalisz; Ki-Kielce; Lo-Lomza; Lu-Lublin; Pi-Piotrkow; Pl-Plock; Ra-Radom; Si-Siedice; Su-Suwalki; Vi-Vitna; Vo-Volynhia; Wa-Warszawa. (2) By the Province 1945-1975 (as per the LDS). Bi-Bialystok; By-Bydgoszcz; Gd-Gdansk; Ka-Katowice; Ki-Kielce; Ko-Koszalin; Kr-Krakow; Lo-Lodz; Lu-Lublin; Lw-Lwow; Ol-Olsztyn; Op-Opole; Po-Poznan; Rz-Rzeszow; Sz-Szczecin; Wa-Warszawa; Wr-Wroclaw; Zi-Zielona Gora. (3) By any town specified by the researcher (global). Queries are sent via email, and are limited to three searches per request, or one search per global surname request. To submit a query send an email message to: "firstname.lastname@example.org", leaving the subject line blank. In the body of the message use the following syntax ("________" represents your input): SURNAME: PROV: SURNAME: GUB: SURNAME: TOWN: SURNAME: For example, at 4 p.m. on July 26 I submitted: "Sumame: Kurtz Prov: Wa" Nine minutes later I received a response which included: RESULTS OF DATA SEARCHES Run on Friday 26 July 1996 11 Matching records found as follows: Searching for SURNAME: KURTZ PROV: WA (594000) Database OSTRGOLD.DBF Ostrow Mazowiecki SURNAME GIVEN FATHER'S TOWN YEAR AKT TYPE NAME NAME RECORD GEIRCZ Dawid Moszk Ostrow 1828 17 B KROSZA Wolf Abram Ostrow 1831 33 B GRYCZ Boruch Jankel Ostrow 1842 24 B GRYCZ Ick Ostrow 1849 98 B GRYCZ Szmul Ostrow 1849 119 B GRYTZ Chaja Basi Ostrow 1852 82 D The database contains an index to the LDS microfilms for Ostrow Mazowiecki. "Kurtz" has been soundexed (594000) for the above results. Individual records are displayed, each with the year and record identifier (Akt). At this time, these are the only matches for that soundex in the province of Warszawa. Zedeck advises to keep a few things in mind when using this database: (1) Be very broad minded when it comes to the spelling of names. If other pieces of the puzzle fit, don't discard the record if the name is not spelled exactly as you expect. To allow for this, the search uses the Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex. (2) This database consists of registrations of events, not the events themselves. Many events were registered long after they actually occurred. Zedeck has seen registration delays of ten years or more. Also note that some records reference events in nearby towns. The database is growing almost daily, adding new towns and years. If your search today brings limited success, try again frequently. You can stay up to date on the prooress of the project by subscribing to the REIPP listserv. Send an email message to: "email@example.com". The body of the message should read "sub reipp" or "sub reipp_d" to receive digests. To unsubscribe, the body should read: "unsub reipp" or "unsub reipp_d". Currently, subscribers come from more than 12 Countries. The ultimate goal is to include the over two million records from nearly 2,000 rolls of LDS microfilm of 19th century Jewish vital records. Future plans for the RFIPP include the addition of unindexed vital records, non-vital records and records unindexed by the LDS. Information on the REIPP can be found at http://www.jewishgen.org/jri-pl. REIPP is seeking volunteers to make photocopies of specific vital record indices, who are knowledgeable in Cyrillic to help with transliteration or who can contribute indexes they have produced themselves. Financial contributions are also welcome, and used to hire more Russian transliterators. Contact Steve Zedeck, 25 Cathedral Circle, Nashua, NH 03063 USA Webmaster@JRI-Poland.org.
"ZichronNote" -- Journal of the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society, August 1996, Volume XVI, Number 3, and reprinted with permission.