Thursday, August 11, 2016

IAJGS2016, Day 4

I'll be blogging all week--you'll be able to see all my posts on IAJGS2016 here.

First up was Alex Denisenko.  He began by discussing the political geography of the Carpathian area.  Carpathia is literally the geographic center of Europe.  Carpathia rivers separate which rivers run to the Baltic and which to the Black Sea (continental divide).  So it was a center of shipment.  Jews involved in trade migrated there.
Alex Denisenko

There are also several salt deposits in the area.  At the time, salt was like gold, and it was traded around Europe.

Jews were estimated to be in the area for around 1000 years.  Initially there were Sephardic Jews, and then Ashkenazim moved in, and they mixed.  There are few documents remaining documenting the Sephardic presence.

Jews primarily moved there for economic reasons as well as the Black Plague and blood libels in Germany and Russia.  They first went to Galicia around this time, and then people began migrating south.  WWI was devastating to the area, and it caused a lot of migration within, to and from the area.

Besides Jews, other ethnicities there included Ruthenians, Poles, Hungarians, Lenkos, Valakians, Romanians, and Moldovians.  Some got along better than others.

Archives include Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernivtsi, Prszemysl, Uzghorod, Beregovo and Baia Mare.  In addition, there are resources like departments of vital statistics, libraries, museums, private collections and others.  In addition, there are many cemeteries, some in better condition than others.  Archives often have misplaced collections.  Often, items that should be in the archives are in local museums or even with individuals.

He talked about various Lviv archival resources and the types of documents available in different repositories.  It contains documents from all around Galicia--in modern-day Poland and Ukraine.

He mentioned Routes to Roots as a good starting resources for hints as far as what might be where.

Then he talked about the Zakarpatya State Archive, which is located in three buildings, one of which is in Beregovo.  In Uzhgorod, they have vital statistical records from 1880s-1944.  There are tens of thousands of pages of vital records.  In addition, they have the 1921 Czechoslovakia census in Beregovo.  Baia Mare and Satu Mare Archives can expand Maramaros area further back from the 1880s.

The 1921 census was done when parts of the area that used to become Hungary became Czechoslovakia.  The first thing the Czechs did was a census to count their population.  The census is quite detailed, with address, the household composition, ages of each household member, professions, and more.  The condition of this census is very bad and falling apart.  There was another 1930 census--one copy in Beregovo and one in Prague likely.

Baia Mare has a collection of Jewish vital statistics records--tens of thousands of documents.

Prszemysl Archive has random vital statistic documents, censuses, kehilla lists, and Shoah-period documents.  There are also Yiddish and Hebrew documents which have things as disparate as religious disputes to rabbinic appointments.  They include school lists.  Largely covers Galicia.

The Ivano-Frankivsk archive primarily covers the inter-war era.  There are things like land ownership documents, passport files, real estate/land records and school records.  Significant amounts of information on Stanislawow.  There are also records from the Labor Office under the Germany occupation.  Every person had to work, and their names, addresses, and professions were listed.

Then I continued the theme and heard Vivian Kahn and Sandy Malek talk about "Jewish Family Research & Travel in Maramaros."  Since I'm heading there in a couple of weeks, I figured that the more tips I get, the better!
Vivian Kahn (L) and Sandy Malek (R)

They discussed their trip from a few years back and some resources for researching family.

In 1921, Hungary lost 72% of its land area including Maramaros under the Treaty of Trianon.  The land south of the Tisza River was ceded to Romania, and the north to the newly-created Czechoslovakia.  In 1938-1940, the Axis rewarded the Hungarians by giving the Maramaros area back to Hungary.  After WWII, eastern Slovakia went to Czechoslovakia and Transarpathia to Ukaine.  Today, all or part of 35 formerly Hungarian counties are in Hungary, 26 in Romania, 17 in Slovakia, 5 in Ukraine & 5 in Serbia.

With all these border changes, names changed very often.  It's important to know the current place names and prior names when doing research.

She talked about some of the resources they have found, including the 1828 Land Census and Tolerance Tax censuses.  There are also birth/marriage/death Jewish & civil registers, chevra kadisha burial records and more.  Tons of business directories, military records, newspapers, etc.  There is a 1943 telephone directory of all of Hungary, including the Maramaros area.

Some of the towns had cemetery records in Hebrew.  Sziget was among them.  Some have been transcribed and are in JOWBR.

There are many Holocaust records, and as things are indexed, they're searchable on JewishGen.  The Maramaros Yizkor book is in the process of being translated.

Ancestry has some Romanian vital records online through 1914.

Then Sandy Malek talked about the Maramaros project, which is working on the 113 Jewish Community Registrars and 487 Civil Registers known to exist in Baia Mare archives.  As of August 2016, 392 registers had been acquired and more than 54,400 records transcribed and uploaded to JewishGen including 113 Jewish registers and 112 Civil registers.  Additional are acquired and more records are ready to upload.  Facts include names (including maiden names), parents, witnesses, occupations, addresses, hometowns, district and county of registration, age and dates of birth, marriage & death, causes of death, notes added after-the-fact, and various comments.

For a $100 donation to the project, you get a link to the spreadsheet of what's been finished which further links to the actual transcriptions for each book.

Then, continuing the theme of the morning, I went to the Hungarian Special Interest Group (SIG) meeting, led by Vivian Kahn.
Vivian Kahn, Queen of H-SIG

She led off with a plea for a webmaster, so if you have the skills and interest, contact Vivian.

She discussed ongoing projects and introduced the project leaders.  Projects include the Vital Records project, Maramaros Project, Holocaust Memorials, 1848 and 1869 censuses, other censuses, and the Miskolc Cemetery.

She mentioned the H-SIG discussion group, various JewishGen Hungary Database transcription projects, the creation of Hungarian KehilaLinks, and H-SIG's sponsoring of IAJGS conference sessions, annual luncheon and annual business meeting.

2015-2016 highlights include 18000 new vital records added (including from Maramaros and other parts of Transylvania), 19000 new vital records to FamilySearch's Hungarian Jewish Vital Records collection (searchable on FamilySearch and JewishGen), more than 10,000 additional census records (including 8,300 from Maramaros in "Other Census Records" collection), a new database of more than 5,000 records for Budapest Jews who received Wallenberg passports, and more.

There are currently 645,000 records indexed and uploaded through H-SIG's vital records project.

Lots of good work going on within H-SIG!

Then during the lunch break, there was a quick meeting to talk about kosher meals in Warsaw (yes, the conference will likely be there in 2018!).
Next up was the IAJGS Annual Meeting.

And then there was my own presentation!  I was overwhelmed by the number of people who came.  I think it went well, although I went way too fast.  Here's my audience a few minutes before go time.
Audience for my presentation
Then off to dinner and a bit of the evening entertainment.  Next to the resource room, where I helped someone (hi, Jessica!) find her great grandmother's ship manifest--and proved her theory of her family's town of origin.

And now to sleep, since tomorrow will be a LONG day.

Note:  I'm on Twitter.  Follow me (@larasgenealogy).

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  1. In Alex's talk you said he mentioned Galician documents in Lviv. Do you have more specific info. on these documents and archival resources that he mentioned, and how to access them?