History and quick overview
Jewish Records Indexing - Poland is creating a searchable database of indices to Jewish records of Poland. Launched in early 1995, award winning JRI - Poland is already the largest fully searchable database of Jewish vital records accessible online.
The JRI - Poland database was conceived as a valuable FIRST step in finding or locating clues to locating family records from among the millions of Jewish vital records for hundreds of Polish towns and villages. See "PolandV" InfoFile for a detailed description of these records.
If researchers recognize some of their families' names and records in a search of the JRI - Poland database, they will open the door to more focussed research opportunities. For many new genealogists, this will mean a simplification of the initial process.
However, experienced researchers of Polish vital records will caution their fellow genealogists that finding a few records and/or identifying the town in which one's family lived is only the beginning. While the use of computer based technology (Internet, databases, email, World-Wide-Web) may have provided a "kick-start" to some research, detailed work lies ahead.
Therefore, all researchers must remember:
The JRI-Poland database does not contain actual vital records; searches provide index entries with names, record numbers and years as well as the source of the actual documents of interest. For many entries, the database is "three times" removed from the original record and thus errors may have crept in along the way. The original record is the actual handwritten registration in the vital record register. The "secondary" record is the index created by the town clerk at the end of the year. The "tertiary" record is the entry in the JRI-Poland index which is based on and created from the second index (2).
At each step in the process, errors may have been introduced. For further information and guidance on how to gain the optimum benefits in researching Jewish vital records of Poland, read "The Power of Extracts" and "Don't Let a Little Extraction Scare You!" by Lauren B. Eisenberg Davis (Kielce - Radom SIG Journal, Vol. 1, Numbers 1 and 2, respectively). For more information, access Kielce-Radom SIG's website>.
Jewish Records Indexing - Poland was launched through the efforts of three dedicated genealogists, living in three different countries, brought together by the Internet.
Inspired by an idea from Stanley Diamond, Montreal, Canada, and founded in 1995 by Steven A. Zedeck of Nashua, New Hampshire, USA and Michael Tobias of Glasgow, Scotland, Jewish Records Indexing is one of many Jewish genealogical projects aimed at improving the state-of-the-art of Jewish genealogical research. Stanley Diamond is the Executive Director of JRI-Poland.
Through the dedication of its founders, the board, volunteers and contributors worldwide there are already more than 4 million vital record entries from more than 500 towns in the JRI database. The database is steadily growing as JRI-Poland Shtetl CO-OP teams index more towns in the LDS (Mormon) microfilms and as JRI-Poland's Warsaw-based professionals continue to index records in the Polish State Archive not filmed by the LDS.
Readers are encouraged to read the "Introduction" and the JRI-Poland FAQ to learn about the sources of the records and how the database is being built. We invite all researchers with an interest in the Jewish records of Poland to participate as a volunteer or contributor. Everyone can play a role in building the JRI-Poland database. The next indices could be for 'your' town.