The Boston Conference: 15th Summer Seminar

by Dorothy Kohanski

Six Hundred and Eighty eager genealogists attended the conference in Boston, July 14th to 19th. Among them were many from Southern California, including your two past presidents - Nancy Holden and Dorothy Kohanski. Winter LW resident, Carol Skydell, was also in attendance, and now serves on the board of JewishGen as a computer problem solver.

The conference was very well organized, giving participants a great variety of useful lectures, as well as the opportunity to use the research facilities in the Boston area. (I went especially to look at the records held by the American Jewish Historical Society and came away with some helpful information to further my own research.)

There was so much doing on at the conference that it is hard to pick and choose for an article. But I will select one exciting development: REIPP. This is the Russian Era Indexing of Poland Project. The REIPP is a computer data base containing indexes of the 19th century Jewish Vital Records of Poland - and anyone with a computer and modem is able to access them from home. The REIPP features post-1867 indexes transliterated from Russian into Latin characters and pre-1868 index of Polish language records. Almost 100,000 records from over 35 towns have been indexed to date, and the goal is to index all two million Jewish records on 2000 LDS microfilms. As of July, 1996, the following towns have been partially indexed for various years: Bakalarzewo, Bialystok. Checiny, Czyzewo, Filipow, Grajewo, Izbica, Jablonka, Koden, Lomza, Losice, Nowogrod, Nur, Olkusz, Opatow, Ostrow Maz, Ozarow, Piotrkow Tryb., Plock, Przedborz, Przerosl, Punsk, Radom, Radomsko, Radzilow, Rutki, Sejny, Sniadowo, Suwalki, Szczebrzeszyn, Szczuczyn, Tomaszow Maz, Tykocin, Wasosz, Wawolnica, Wizajny, Wizna, Wloszczowa, Wysockie Maz, Wyszogrod, Zambrow, and Zychin. Further information:

One amazing coincidence should be mentioned. Steven Zedeck is the coordinator of the REIPP project, operating out of Nashua, NH, and Michael Tobias is the Data Manager, working from his home in Glasgow, Scotland. Although in constant computer correspondence the two had never met face to face before the conference. When they did, each stared at the other as though looking in a mirror. They resembled each other right down to the handlebar mustaches, and the way they parted their same-color hair. They were almost twins!

Many of our members have ancestry from Poland and might want to consider making a tax deductible contribution to this effort. If so, a check can be made to the JGS of Greater Boston and sent to Steven A. Zedeck, REIPP Coordinator, 25 Cathedral Circle, Nashua, NH 03063-2716.

The Boston conference coordinator, Warren Blatt, sent to all participants a hard cover, extremely useful "Resources for Jewish Genealogy in the Boston Area". It is available for members in our library. (I was startled to find that I had an item in the personal papers collections at the American Jewish Historical Society's Manuscript Collection, listed in this book! Apparently they file everything, no matter how inconsequential, that comes into their possession! So it is worth taking a look to see if anyone in your family wrote them or were written about.)

Next year's conference will be in Paris! Start saving now.

"Shorashim", (Volume 5, Issue 3, Fall 1996), The Newsletter of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Orange County and reprinted with permission.