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Routes to Roots Foundation, Inc.

ARCHIVE DATABASE
 


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS






General Information about Locality Names


 Former Name (of region/district)
 Currently Part of

 Galicia
 Bukovina
 Bessarabia
 White Russia
 Silesia
 Prussia

 Poland, Ukraine
 Moldova, Romania, Ukraine
 Moldova
 Belarus
 Poland, Germany
 Poland, Germany


Q1 How do I locate my ancestral town if I do not know the exact town name?
Q2 What is/Where is "Guberniya?"
Q3 How do I determine the current spelling of my ancestral town?
Q4 What does it mean if my ancestral town is not included in the database?
Q5 Is it possible that the additional records will be discovered for my ancestral town?
Q6 Why is there more detail about documents in some entries?
Q7 Why are the entries in the archive inventory sometimes not the same as others elsewhere (published books and other databases)?
Q8 Why can't I open some of the pages/files?
Q9 Why does it take so long to open some files on this website?
Q10 Why is it necessary to scroll horizontally to see certain pages? Why is the type so large on some monitors?
Q11 After I determine what documents exist for my ancestral town, how do I get access to these documents?
Q12 How do I arrange payment with the archives for research on my behalf?
Q13 There is so much information on this website and I am having trouble finding what I want. How can I become acquainted with this website quicker?
Q14 How do I submit new information and/or revisions to the database?



Q1
 How do I locate my ancestral town if I do not know the exact
 town name?

A


• Ask older family members

• Research immigrant documents (ship passenger lists/naturalization   records)

• Join a local Jewish Genealogy Society
  (See www.iajgs.org/members/members.html)

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Q2  What is/Where is "Guberniya?"                                                     

A


• see Administrative-Territorial Divisions
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Q3  How do I determine the current spelling of my ancestral town?

A


• Consult Where Once We Walked by Gary Mokotoff and Sallyann Amdur Sack (Teaneck, NJ: Avotaynu, 1991). Although the book is out of print, a revised edition of this gazetteer is planned for Spring, 2002. The book is available in many libraries worldwide.

• Try Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex Search on the Search Database page    which will display towns which sound alike, but are spelled differently.

• See "Ten Steps to JewishGen" at
    www.toldot.net/jewishgen.html

• Also check various town databases at www.jewishgen.org

• See "Shtetl Seeker" at www.jewishgen.org/ShtetlSeeker

EDITOR’S NOTE: Towns in Ukraine are transliterated from the former Russian spelling, NOT the current Ukrainian spelling as the documents for the relevant time period are in the Russian language.
(see: Language: Spelling of Locality Names)
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Q4  What does it mean if my ancestral town is not included in the
 database?

A


• You are not typing in the current spelling (see #3 above with
   Editor’s Note)

• There are no known surviving documents for your ancestral town.

Note: Through the years of changing borders, pogroms and the Holocaust, many documents were lost or destroyed.

Note: To further complicate the problem of locating ancestral documents, often the Jewish records of small villages were registered in the Jewish records of nearby larger towns. If you are searching for a town in Galicia, CLICK HERE to access the Polish Roots "Galician Town" locator.
Also see Search Difficulties in the Introduction.

Note: The Routes to Roots Foundation does not have the information to determine which record groups contain the documents of nearby smaller villages. In order to try to obtain that information, one might query people through the JewishGen Family Finder (both from village and nearby town) and also post messages to the listserv of the appropriate country-based Special Interest Group (SIG).
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Q5  Is it possible that additional records will be discovered for
 my ancestral town?

A


The archive inventories are being continually updated during an on-going survey pursuant to agreements between the Routes to Roots Foundation, Inc. and the state archives in Poland, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus and Lithuania.
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Q 6  Why is there more detail about documents in some entries?

A


The amount of detail or explanation of documents depends upon the archive that provided the material. Inventory data varies from archive to archive and also from country to country.
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Q7  Why are the entries in the archive inventory sometimes not
 the same as others elsewhere (published books and other
 databases)?

A


The information in this database was verified by the specific archives listed by country (see "Introduction – Towns and Repositories by Country"). It is impossible to be completely current regarding the holdings of archives (which involves periodic transfers from other archives). Other published databases (websites or books) could be out of date or have not been verified by the relevant archive. Also, some inventories published elsewhere are based upon translations of archive inventories compiled by private researchers. Some archivists have advised that often their own inventories are inaccurate and this was only discovered after archivists actually checked the lists, book by book. In other words, the archive’s own inventory might lists births for a particular town covering the years 1847–1895, but in reality, the books cover 1847–1850; 1891–1895. Lastly, the survey of archives in these five countries is a never-ending job which is on-going and will probably never be complete due to the millions of documents in these archives.
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Q8  Why can't I open some of the pages/files?                          
                                                                         

A


This website makes extensive of Adobe Acrobat Reader PDF files. In order to view/print these files, you must have the Adobe Acrobat Reader program (version 4.0 or higher) on your computer. If you do not have this program, you can download it free by clicking the
Get
Adobe Acrobat Reader button.

Acrobat button

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Q9  Why does it take so long to open some files on this website?                                                                   

A


Many of the files are direct excerpted chapters from two published books. In order to maintain the graphic placement and formatting from the books, the chapters/files appear on this website in a PDF format. Opening PDF files takes more time than straight text (html) files. Photos in the PDF files have been optimized for hard copy printing at high resolution.

Optomizing Adobe Acrobat
To ensure the fastest response time when opening Acrobat PDF files, make sure that you are using the latest version of Adobe Acrobat or Acrobat Reader (see previous Q8 above)

To optomize Acrobat or Acrobat Reader for use with this website, follow these steps:

Step 1: Open Adobe Acrobat 5.0/Acrobat Reader 5.0, click on "edit," click on "preferences," click on options

Step 2: Under "Options," see "web browser options" section; all items should be checked.

Step 3: Under "Options," see "startup" section; uncheck "display splash screen"

Step 4: Under "Options," see "miscellaneous"; check both "use page cache" and "allow file open actions."

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Q10 Why is it necessary to scroll horizontally to see certain pages? Why is the type so large on some monitors?

A


This website has been optomized for viewing with a video resolution of 1024 x 768 or higher and using 256 or higher colors (True Color 24-bit preferred). PC users may be able to change the monitor resolution by choosing:

CONTROL PANEL --> DISPLAY --> SETTINGS.

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Q11  After I determine what documents exist for my ancestral town,
 how do I get access to these documents? 

A


• The researcher may consult various on-line databases hosted by the State Archives in Eastern Europe, SIG Groups on JewishGen and other databases where they can find name indices to documents along with excerpted information from the documents.

Note: The project known as Jewish Records Indexing-Poland (JRI-Poland) includes a searchable database of indices to 19th century Jewish vital records from current and former territories of Poland. More than 1,500,000 records from 260 Polish towns (as of April 23, 2002) have been indexed and are available, with more being added regularly. On the JRI-Poland website, you can also access the Polish Alijah Passports at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw. After you have located specific documents of interest, there is a form to complete to request copies of the documents. CLICK HERE to learn more about this exciting project and to search the database.

• The researcher may also travel to the country/countries where their ancestral documents are located and do the research themselves, keeping in mind that they will be incurring substantial costs for travel, visa, translator, car/driver, hotels, etc.

• The researcher may write to the archives directly. In this event, the researcher should provide specific information including current town name and location, original surnames, time period and document types of interest. It is best to write in the language of the country where the archive is located.
Towns and Repositories by Country can be found in the Introduction; or also see addresses of Archives in Eastern Europe at Related Websites.

• The researcher may hire a professional genealogist/researcher to do this work on their behalf. It is highly recommended that one obtain written references from previous clients and that the references are actually contacted.


Hiring a professional researcher,

It is recommended that one obtain:

• An agreement in writing as to exactly what is to be researched,
  signed by both parties

• The time period of the assignment

• The costs involved (research time, travel costs, copy costs, etc.)

• Method and terms of payment

• What you are to receive: a report that includes:
   1. List of documents searched
   2. Years searched
   3. Archive numbers (fond/opis/delo in former Soviet Union;
      and zespol/sygnatura in Poland)
   4. Location and name of archive where search was done
   5. Translation of documents
   6. Document copies (if requested)

According to Gary Mokotoff, publisher of
Avotaynu, "a genealogist should deal with an individual or company who has offices where the genealogist lives so as to have some recourse if they are unhappy with the results or lack of response."

For further information on customized archival research services, see www.routestoroots.com. This research company, based in New Jersey with offices in Ukraine and Poland, is the pioneer in Jewish genealogy research in Eastern Europe beginning in 1989, has access to the archives and provides excellent references.

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Q12 How do I arrange payment with the archives for research on my behalf?

A


Each archive has different payment methods (i.e., personal check, wire transfer to bank account). Therefore, you should inquire directly to the archive as to their current fee schedule and method of payment.
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Q13 There is so much information on this website and I am having trouble finding what I want. How can I become acquainted with this website quicker? 

A


See Site Map for outline of entire website.
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Q14  How do I submit new information and/or revisions to the
 database?                                                                        

A


The archives in Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Poland and Lithuania have agreed to periodically review new information submitted to this website. For further information about this process and to submit new/revised information, click here.
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Other Resources
Also see Info files at: www.jewishgen.org/infofiles

Also see
Frequently Asked Questions at: www.jewishgen.org/infofiles/faq.html


RTR Foundation home page > Archive Database