Jewish Records Indexing - Poland News Release


Polish Business Directories to be indexed and accessible on JewishGen

Los Angeles, California, July 14, 1998: -- Twentieth century information about Polish Jews will be available to researchers in the new Polish Business Directories Project, Jewish Records Indexing-Poland (JRI-Poland announced at the 19th Summer Seminar on Jewish Genealogy in Los Angeles in July.

In describing the new project, Coordinator Deborah Baseman outlined the unique role the database can play as a searchable source of 20th century genealogical data on the internet. "The Business Directories of the 1920s and 1930s provide much information about the men and women in most ancestral towns, and how they earned a living. There are thousands of pages documenting residents in current and former areas of Poland, including those that are now in the Vilna area of Lithuania, the Grodno area of Belarus, and some parts of the western Ukraine." Stanley Diamond, JRI-Poland Coordinator added: "For some, it may be the only reference they can find to their family in more contemporary material.. For others, it could be the key to finally learning where scattered branches of their family lived."

Business Directories typically include the name of the business or proprietor and his or her occupation, and sometimes the address or street name. They list occupations ranging from doctor and banker to midwife and stall-operator at the weekly marketplace. The directory listings may be organized by occupation within each town, or in other formats. There may be a general description of the town as well.

In preparation for the project, many of the common occupations have been translated into English from the Polish and French that is used in the listings, and a custom template has been designed for data-entry. Entries will be consolidated into a single searchable database on the JRI-Poland website. The system is being set up to provide access in multiple languages for those researchers who do not speak Polish, French or English.

Volunteers will obtain copies of the business directory pages, enter data into the data entry template and submit the completed file to the project coordinator. The Business Directory project will be entirely volunteer-driven and based on individual initiative and effort.

For further information, contact: Deborah Baseman, JRI-Poland Business Directory Project Coordinator at []