Tuesday, July 29, 2014

IAJGS2014 Conference - Day 3, Part 1/2

This is a summary of the first part of day 3 of the International Conference on Jewish Genealogy.  My entire summary, day by day, here.
First up (after a drizzly walk to Starbucks) was the Hungarian SIG meeting. Vivian Kahn covered the current projects' status.
1) Vital Eecords
2) Maramaros Project
3) Holocaust Memorials
4) 1848 Census
5) 1869 Census
6) Other Census
7) Miskolc Cemetery Project

There are currently 1739 subscribers to the H-SIG list and many indexing/transcription projects. They are promoting new KehillaLinks pages.

They hire people to film the record books and cemeteries.  53,000 vital records including from Maramaros including more than 18,000 birth records (including from images on FamilySearch).  They are on FamilySearch as Jewish Vital Records and will be on JewishGen shortly.
They have completed the 1828 census (mostly for people with taxable property). 19,000 1848 census records including some that hadn't been filmed by the Family History Library.  The 1869 census has about 89,000 records indexed and online. And other census records have 81,300 records indexed.

Currently the Vital Records Project has in their database 323,280 birth records, 64,700 marriage records and 162,070 death records.  More will be added to the database shortly.  This includes records that were never filmed by the Family History Library.

The Maramaros records include 16,400 records with with 15,230 ready for uploading.  They have acquired all available jewish registers with completion of indexing anticipated this fall.  The next phase will be civil records from October 1895-1906.  They have purchased 192/350 available records so far.

For "other census," they indexed more than 71,000 records from 30 Hungarian counties. Pending additions include a Maramaros census for Jews from Poland among others.

H-SIG now has a project with FamilySearch to index some of their films. The index results may be online and not images depending on the agreement with the original archive.

Not much change with the holocaust databases, but there is a possibility of obtaining new records.  Currently the memorial database contains over 75,000 names from Holocaust memorials across the region.

In addition, they added 7,000 new burial records to JOWBR for a total of over 72,000 off of a combination of burial registers and actual stones.

If you find a record of interest in the database that isn't off a FHL film, for a donation, you can procure the image.

The presentation concluded with a financial overview. Donations are very welcome to help procure new records and establish new projects.  Volunteers are also needed to coordinate projects, index records, and develop Kehilalinks pages.

Next up was Emily Garber talking on "Beyond the Manifest: Methods for Confirming One's Ancestral Origins" to a full house.  Most people have issues identifying an ancestral village, and a huge issue is deco flirting between villages that have similar names.  Critical questions include identifying a family's original name and where they lived--and using rigorous methods to prove that.

Methods include using the genealogical proof standard as well as research planning and evidence analysis.  Emily's family had a Yiddish name for her town (Lubin), and she knew they belonged to a landsmanschaft and were buried in that organization's cemetery.

She examined manifests, naturalization records and draft records. There were references to Volhynia Gubernia  and various spellings of the town.

Gazetteers she examined included "Where Once We Walked," JewishGen, and others.  You can also ask for opinions through the JewishGen discussion group to try crowdsourcing as well as search through the archives to see if others have asked the same information.

She got in touch with a cousin whose family had gone back to Ukraine for a trip in 1928. Their itinerary still existed--and one of the town options was in the vicinity of many of the visited towns.

The gazetteers and information about the cemeteries disagreed with this conclusion, though.

So the question is how she could prove that her town was called Lubeen.  First you need to do thorough research, ensuring that there are a variety of reliable sources on a focused research topic.  It is also critical to cite sources and analyzing the credibility of that source.  All of this helps to prove and be able to stand behind your ultimate conclusion.

Original sources and understanding their context helps you to understand the source.  Records can lie. Think about ages on census records. But knowing the information about where the records come from can help you to understand which may be correct.  Original sources (birth certificates) are more likely to be correct than derivative sources.

If conflicts exist, you need weight of evidence and quality of evidence. You also need situational understanding. Why was the record created and who was the informant?

Your conclusion has to demonstrate thorough research, source citations, and your analysis.

She then stepped through some of the (amazing) work she has done to put this to work with identifying and proving her town's location, including analyzing the origins of everyone buried in 3 landsmanschaft-associated cemeteries.

American Joint Distribution's "text" search by town can give a lot of different information, and some of these documents furthered her proof.  Some of that information was correlated by Yad Vashem documents.

Next I went to a techie lunch. Lots of discussions about how to use and leverage technologies (including webinars).

Stay tuned for the rest of day 3....

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