Monthly Archives: February 2011

Genealogy Basics: Historical Newspapers

There is a wealth of genealogical information buried in the stacks of old newspaper stored in various libraries worldwide. Depending on whether you live in the same place as your ancestors, accessing these archives could be exceedingly difficult, and of course physical newspapers don’t have a search button. Nowadays, however, there are a number of initiatives to digitally scan and make accessible newspapers large and small from across the world. Some of these efforts are commercial and require payment to use, while some are funded through non-profit organizations or universities and are free to access online. In the past there were efforts to index obituaries, and while obituaries can contain many genealogical clues inside, these new fully searchable newspaper databases can contain much more information.

It’s been my observation that if you had family living in a small communities, then these searchable newspapers can be even more useful. Small community newspapers tend to cover a lot more of what is going on with people in the community than larger community papers that cover news on a much smaller percentage of people in the community.

GenealogyBank.com

On of the best resources I’ve found for searching newspapers across the US is GenealogyBank.com. It is a commercial service, but they earn their money by constantly adding new content to the site. They currently have over 4500 newspapers online. It costs about $56/year for the service (go to their subscribe page, then try to close the page and it will offer to a 20% discount bringing the annual price from $70 to $56) which I think is quite reasonable. You can also try it out for 30 days for free. In addition to newspapers, they also have some historical books, documents and their own version of the Social Security Death Index (SSDI).

A newspaper with red box around relevant article

Annotating a PDF

The best part is once you find a newspaper page with something relevant to you, you can simply down the page as a PDF to your computer. What I do when sharing a page with relatives is I open the PDF and use the built-in annotation features of the program I use (I use Preview on the Mac, but Adobe Reader should be able to do the same thing) to create a red box around the part of the page that contains information on my relative. The reason this can be important is that if you’re sending a large newspaper page it can be hard sometimes to find the part of the page that contains the information you’re trying to relay, especially with older newspapers that can be very dense and hard to read. See an example to the right.

Naming Newspaper Images

Another tip when dealing with organizing these pages is to prefix the file name with the date it was published. I use this technique on many types of documents, but it is particularly useful for newspapers. In the case of one family group, I found about 50 newspaper articles that mention them over a span of 70 years. When I download the newspaper page I name it something like:

19171119 Aug Chron – Pinkey Silver app for citizenship.pdf

First you have the date, formatted as YYYYMMDD which is easily sortable. I then add the newspaper name – in this case the Augusta Chronicle (from Georgia) and then a short summary of what is in the article. Thankfully we’re not restricted to something like FILENAME.PDF like in the old days. As you collect newspaper articles from different sources, you can put them all in one directory and see them easily sorted by date of publication, see which papers they came from and who is mentioned in them. It makes finding the article you’re looking for much easier later on when you want to send that one relevant article to a relative.

Other Newspaper Sources

GenealogyBank.com is not the only game in town. There are other commercial services, some larger genealogy websites like Ancestry.com also have newspaper archives included in their databases, but more interesting I think are the smaller initiatives that you need to really search for in small towns and on the state level. For example, as I mentioned in a previous post, there is a project in the state of Georgia called the Digital Library of Georgia run by the university system of Georgia. The site contains digital archives of several local Georgia newspapers, searchable and viewable using the DjVu plug-in. You need to install a DjVu plug-in for your browser in order to use these archives, but once you install it it’s fairly easy to use. It’s not as easy as being able to view the newspapers online and then download a PDF, however. You can download the DjVu files (which are very small) or convert them to TIFF files (which are absurdly large in this case). If you do have the DjVu plug-in convert the image to a TIFF, keep in mind that it does not use compression. Simply opening the TIFF in an image editor and activating LZW compression for the TIFF will save a lot of space, and won’t affect the quality of the image.

Selecting LZW compression for a TIFF

In Preview on the Mac all you do is open the file, select Save As… from the File Menu, select LZW from the Compression menu as shown in the image on the left.

You can also save the image as a JPEG or whatever format you want. I would suggest perhaps converting the image to a JPEG when e-mailing the image to a relative, but you may find it is not as readable asit is as a DjVu or a TIFF image, because the DjVu is highly compressed (much more than JPEG) and when you expand it out to a TIFF you still have all the artifacts left from the DjVU compression. When you then re-compress it as a JPEG you get new compression artifacts, which mix with the DjVu ones.

Another similar newspaper archive effort I’ve come across is the Northern New York Historical Newspapers project run by the Northern New York Library Network. I’m sure there are many more.

Wikipedia has a List of online newspaper archives which is worth checking out.

Google operates a newspaper archive search where you can many articles, some of whcih you need to pay to read.

The Library of Congress has a project called Chronicling America where you can search historical newspapers between the years 1860 and 1922.

You should also try searching for newspaper archives on your favorite search engine. New ones seem to pop up all the time, so if you don’t find one now, try again another time.

Jewish Newspapers Online

For Jewish researchers I will point out a few interesting examples of newspaper and magazine archives I’ve come across.

There is the Southern Israelite, covering the year between 1929 and 1986, part of the previously mentioned Digital Library of Georgia. Note that while it was published in Georgia, it does cover some other southern states, so if your Jewish family lived down south, you might find some news listed in this paper.

There is also the Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper Project, which includes three different Jewish community newspapers published between 1895 and the present.

The Ohio Memory project has put up The Ohio Jewish Chronicle, covering the years 1922 until 1994.

For Chicago, there is a local Jewish paper called The Sentinel, covering the years 1911 through 1949.

One very interesting project is run at the National Library of Israel, called the Historical Jewish Press. This project currently includes twenty newspapers, some going back to the mid-19th century, including over 400,000 pages. The languages of the papers include Hebrew, French, Hungarian and English. The only English newspaper in the project right now is the Palestine Post, the original name of what is now the Jerusalem Post, and it covers the years 1932-1950 (the years before it changed its name to the Jerusalem Post). The French papers include one from France, but also papers from Morocco and Egypt. The Hebrew papers include ones from Israel, but also papers from Tsarist Russia and one published in Prussia, Poland and Austria.

Please add what you know or what you find to the comments

Please, if you know of other good online newspaper sites, mention them in the comments. You can also share your success stories in the comments.

For an example of how the information in these types of records are not always reliable, read my earlier post People lie, and so do documents which discussed confirming information found in two obituaries which I found through one of these online newspaper archives.

Finding and getting copies of Jewish records in Poland

Many Jewish researchers will find that some members of their family originated in what is now, or once was, Poland. This post is targeted at Jewish researchers, but anyone who has roots in Poland may find (at least parts of) this information useful. 

Poland’s Borders

Poland’s borders have changed a lot over the years, and what was once Poland might now be in Lithuania, Ukraine or Belarus. In addition, what was once part of Russia, Prussia (part of what became Germany) and Austria may now be in Poland. It’s possible that someone lives in many countries without actually ever moving. The following map illustrates the complexity of figuring out what country a relative of your might have lived in:

A History of Polish Borders (from staypoland.com)

I have many examples in my own family where relatives had said they were from Russia, when the town they came from is currently in Poland. This is a particularly important point when you find records on your family in the US, such as a passenger manifest from their arrival to the US, or naturalization papers, when they say they were born in Russia. Don’t assume that means the current country is in Russia, unless you know the city and can confirm that on a map.

I’m not going to go into how to find where your family comes from in this post (that will in future posts), but rather once you know where and when your relative was born (and that place is or was in Poland) how to find vital records connected to that relative.

Starting with JRI-Poland

So let’s begin. You know the name of your relative, and where he was born and when he was born. If you don’t know the exact date, that’s okay, we’ll deal with that a little later in the post. The first place to start your search is JRI-Poland. JRI-Poland is a database of indexes to Jewish records in what is now or once was Poland. The indexes come from a number of sources, but there are two primary sources: JRI-Poland’s own JRI-Poland/Polish State Archives Project and LDS Microfilms.

Basically, the LDS church microfilmed over 2 million Jewish records, including from some towns whose records were destroyed in WWII. Even with so many records, however, the LDS films do not cover the majority of records in Poland. Those records and their indexes are preserved on microfilm and accessible in the Family History Library, or from the many Family History Centers around the globe. Of course, the records may be in Polish, Russian or German depending when and where they were created, so it is not so easy to access those records without knowledge of the relevant language.

Initially JRI-Poland worked to index records not in the LDS microfilms, since so many were not even available on those films. They created a joint project with the Polish State Archives where they photocopied the index pages for each archive and then hired local workers in Poland to transcribe each record from whatever language they were in to English (or rather, to latin script). JRI-Poland carried this out by arranging for people to figure out all the towns with records of Jewish people in a particular archive, then raising money from researchers interested in each town. Thus researchers would contribute money to the indexing efforts of the town from where their own family came. As JRI-Poland indexed millions of records this way, they eventually turned back to the LDS microfilms and worked to create computerized indexes in English to those records as well. JRI-Poland has indexed more than four million records so far, from over 500 towns.

To use JRI-Poland, you go to their main page and select Search Database. This takes you to their search page which has a lot of options. I’m not going to go into all the options for searching JRI-Poland in this post, but you should check out some of the neat features like searching in a radius around a specific latitude and longitude, which is helpful if you can’t find records of your relatives in the town you think they came from, and want to check surrounding towns. The core of the search interface is really this:

JRI-Poland Search

You can choose which parameters you want to search, but usually this will be Surname and Town. You can, if your surname is rare, try searching with just the Surname to try to figure out the town, but as I mentioned for the purposes of this post I’m assuming you know that already.

In the above example I’ve used the surname Eisenman and the town Tyszowce. Note that for the Surname I’ve used ‘Sounds Like’ as the setting and for Town I’ve used ‘is Exactly’. The reason for using ‘Sounds Like’ for the surname is that it is very common for there to be multiple spellings for names, even for the same family in the same town. Records from one town were not necessarily all transcribed by the same person, so even the same name in Polish might show up spelled differently depending who was transcribing it. The reason for using ‘is Exactly’ for the town name is that each town has an exact spelling, which corresponds to the currently used spelling for the town. As you do your research into towns, you should always use the current spelling of the town, and in this case you should figure it out before searching so you don’t get listings from many similarly sounding towns which are irrelevant to your search.

Different Kinds of Results

If you were to carry out the above search, you would find two sets of results. This means that the indexes came from two different sources. In some cases you might find many sets of results, since some indexes show the town of birth of people who show up in other towns. For example, if your relative was born in town A and married in town B, and you searched for town A you might also find his marriage record in town B (if they indexed the birth town) which would show up a separate result set. The two result sets from the above search start out as follows:

First result set – indexed from microfilmed records (click to see larger)

Second result set – indexed from photocopies from archives (click to see larger)

As you can see in the captions, one set is from a microfilmed index, and one is from index pages copied from the actual archive in Poland. How do I know this?

Take a look at the first image – the last column is called ‘Film’ and the number listed is the LDS microfilm number. If you were to search the LDS library on FamilySearch.org, you would find that there are actually seven microfilms that cost the vital records of Tyszowce from 1826-1890. The first record is from microfilm 766305 and the result shown in the snapshot above are from 766306. Also note that the first two records are children of the same parents, but their last names are spelled differently (and both different than the way I spelled it in the search). This is why you need to use the ‘Sounds Like’ setting for names on the search.

In the second image, you’ll notice there is no ‘Film’ column. In addition if you look closely in the result set description at the top, there is an extra line compared to the first set, where it says ‘records in Fond 785 in Zamosc Archive’. Note that these records are in the archive of Zamosc, a nearby town, and not in Tyszowce itself. 

Ordering Records from Microfilm

So you now have two types of records, ones on microfilm and ones only available directly from the archive. Let’s see how you can get these records. Let’s start with the microfilmed record. Let’s say you want the first record listed. You need to extract the following information on the record:

Surname: Eyzenman
Given Name: Mejlech
Town: Tyszowce
Year: 1840
Type: B (Birth)
Akt: 36
Film: 766305

With the above information anyone with access to LDS microfilms should be able to find the specific record you want. The Family History Library and its associated Centers will not send you copies of records from their microfilm, someone has to actually access the microfilms and copy them. There are a number of ways to get copies, some easier than others, some more or less expensive.

First, you can go to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, or one of the Family History Centers and try to get the record yourself. Keep in mind that if you’re going to one of the regional Centers, you will probably need to order the microfilm in advance, and then return to use the microfilm. If you are interested in copying a large number of records this might make sense, although remember that the records are in Polish, Russian or German and if you’re not familiar with the necessary languages it might be difficult to find the records even if you know where to look. If the number of records you want are small, it will almost never be worth going to the do the record retrieval yourself.

Next, you can have someone else go to the Family History Library for you. For other types of records, particularly those in the US, you can sometimes find volunteers to look up records for you. Examples of places to find such volunteers include Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness and photo volunteers on Find A Grave. In this case, however, I think you will need to find either a friend or a professional researcher to help you. There are many professional researchers who live in or around Salt Lake City and who will go to the Family History Library for you and retrieve records for you. Keep in mind that not all researchers will be familiar with records from Poland, so you’re better off finding someone who has experience working with Jewish records from Poland. One researcher you can try is Banai Feldstein, from Feldstein Genealogical Services in Salt Lake City. She can retrieve records and e-mail you scans of the copies, and you can pay her via PayPal which is a nice plus. For other researchers that specialize in Jewish records, check out the Researchers Directory on the Jewish Genealogy News web site.

Lastly, there is another option, but only in some cases. Beit Hatfutsot (formerly the Diaspora Museum, and now called the Museum of the Jewish People) in Tel Aviv has a collection of LDS microfilms that cover a good portion, but not all, of the Jewish records in LDS microfilms. You can see the full list of the films they have by browsing the database here. If they have the microfilm, they can make a copy of a record and mail it to you. Their rates are very reasonable, only 5nis in Israel and $2 in the US for copied records, including VAT in Israel and mailing with a per-order charge of 10nis (I guess $4 in the US?). While cheaper than using a professional researcher, you need to wait several weeks and you need to receive the records in the mail, since they do not scan and e-mail records. If you were to browse the database for Tyszowce (the town in my example above) you would see they have five films from Tyszowce, not the full seven listed above. That means that if you find records from one of films not listed in the museum’s collection, then you will need to go with one of the above methods. In the first record listed above, which I transcribed the details to, the film number is listed as 766305. If you look at the list on the museum’s website they do indeed have that film.

So how do you order from the museum? You go to their order page, where you will fill out your contact information, microfilm record list and payment information. Let’s look at the microfilm record section of the order page:

Ordering a microfilmed record from the Beit Hatfutsot in Tel Aviv, Israel

Note the list of items I extracted from the record above, and you’ll see they match this form exactly. When you enter the microfilm number in the first field it will very smartly verify that they have that film in their collection – it thus will not let you order a record they do not have. That’s why in the snapshot above the word Microfilm is in red, because it will not let you order a record for a film that does not exist in their collection, and since I didn’t enter a number above, the field doesn’t match anything in their collection. If I had entered the number, the Microfilm field title would switch from red to black to show it was found. If you filled in the form with the record above, it would look like:

Filled out record information in the Beit Hatfutsot order page

If you want to order more than one record, then you just click on the ‘Add Another Microfilm’ button at the bottom and another set of fields will pop up for you to fill in.

So once you fill in your contact info, add the records you want, and add your payment, you just click the Send button at the bottom of the page and then wait a few weeks for the records to arrive.

Ordering Records from Archives

You might remember that there was a second search result, of records in the Zamosc archives. Let’s extract the data from the first result:

Surname: Ajzenman
Given Name: Ezra
Town: Tyszowce
Year: 1893
Type: D (Death)
Fond: 785
Akt: 33

You’ll notice I’ve added in the Fond number from the collection title. The Fond is the collection of records that this record is contained in, and the Akt number is location of the actual record within the Fond.

The first thing you need to do to get this record is to find the Zamosc Archive, where it is listed as being located. JRI-Poland keeps a list of archives that you can refer to to find the archive. Oddly they only list the mailing address and e-mail address, and not the web site for each archive, but the e-mail address should be enough. You can try searching online for the full name of the archive (in this case ‘Archiwum Państwowe w Zamościu’ and seeing if they have a web site (which in most cases they will). In this case the web site shows up as http://www.archiwum.zam.pl/ and if you go to the site you’ll find they have a little British flag in the corner that takes you to an English version of their site. The fact that there is an English web site is a good sign, as many archives do not bother. The web site will tell you more about the records available, and might tell you the pricing for ordering records. In this case the site is not very complete, so it isn’t that useful, but if you browse through the Polish version of the site, you’ll find at least one useful piece of information: the archive’s bank details. Most archives will require you to transfer money directly into their bank accounts in order to fulfill your order. This is annoying to be sure, but there’s not much you can do about it. In my own case, I’ve sometimes had to pay a larger bank transfer fee than the fees the archive was charging me – certainly something which is frustrating.

So you want to contact the archive. You have their e-mail address. What do you write? Well, first you need to decide if you want to try English, or jump ahead to Polish. Many archives do not have English speakers, so you might not really have a choice. If you send an e-mail in English and get no response, you should try Polish.

Sending a Letter in Polish

How do you send an e-mail in Polish? I suggest trying Google Translate. It’s not perfect, but you can check its accuracy in a fairly simple way. I start by writing in English and having it translate to Polish. Then I copy the Polish text and switch the translation direction (click on the little two-way arrow button between the language names) and paste in the Polish text. If the text comes back with more-or-less the same meaning as what I originally wrote, I assume the translation will be understandable to the person receiving the letter. You can always include both the English and the Polish text in your letter if you want.

Let’s start with a simple framework:

Dear Sir,

I am interested in getting scanned copies of the following records:

Please inform me how much it will cost to order these records and how I can pay for them.

Thank you,

That gets translated to:

Szanowny Panie,

Jestem zainteresowany w uzyskaniu zeskanowane kopie następujących zapisów:

Proszę o poinformowanie mnie, ile będzie kosztowało aby te dane i jak mogę zapłacić.

Dziękuję,

If you reverse the translation direction and copy the Polish text back into the translation field, it gives you following text in English:

Dear Sir,

I am interested in obtaining a scanned copy of the following entries:

Please inform me how much will it cost to these data, and how I pay.

Thank you,

Not bad. Probably the text is close enough.

[Tom in the comments below (March 2013) supplied a corrected Polish translation for the above text as:

Szanowny Panie,

Jestem zainteresowany uzyskaniem skanów następujących aktów metrykalnych:


Proszę poinformować mnie, ile będzie kosztować skanowanie tych dokumentów i jak mogę zapłacić.


Dziękuję,

So if you’re going to use the text, you should probably use his.]

Now you need to fill in the information on your record, translating the field names like Surname, Given name, etc.

Using Google Translate, I get the following translations for the field names:


Surname: Ajzenman
Given Name: Ezra
Town: Tyszowce
Year: 1893
Type: D (Death)
Fond: 785
Akt: 33
Nazwisko: Ajzenman
Imię: Ezra
Miasto: Tyszowce
Rok: 1893
Typ: D (Death)
Fond: 785
Akt: 33



Now, considering this is so important to get right I would check this (and of course you can just copy this from this posting, but I’ll explain what I do to check for accuracy. FamilySearch has a number of language resources available on their site, including one for Poland called Poland Genealogical Word List. If you check that word list, you’ll find that indeed the translation is pretty good. The only mistake, but one that would probably be understood, was to translate ‘Town’ into what the wordlist says is actually ‘City’. I doubt the archive would fail to understand what you meant. According to the wordlist, however, the correct term would be Gmina. Also, you may have noticed that it did not translate the word ‘Death’ for some reason. There are several words listed for death in the FamilySearch site, but let’s go with zejść. So your full letter would look like:

Szanowny Panie,

Jestem zainteresowany w uzyskaniu zeskanowane kopie następujących zapisów:

Nazwisko: Ajzenman
Imię: Ezra
Gmina: Tyszowce
Rok: 1893
Typ: D (zejść)
Fond: 785
Akt: 33

Proszę o poinformowanie mnie, ile będzie kosztowało aby te dane i jak mogę zapłacić.

Dziękuję,

Of course, sign the letter at the bottom as well. Now send this letter in an e-mail to the archive’s e-mail address and wait for a response. In response to a similar e-mail which I actually sent in English, I got the following response the next day in Polish:

Opłata za poszukiwania wynosi 25 zł. Opłata nie jest zwracana w przypadku kwerendy negatywnej.

W przypadku odnalezienia aktów powiadomimy o ich liczbie i dodatkowej opłacie 5 zł od skanu.
konto
Archiwum Państwowe w Zamościu
Narodowy Bank Polski Oddział Okręgowy w Lublinie

47 101013390016612231000000

PL 47 101013390016612231000000 (BIC: NBP LP LPW)

Google Translate renders that in English as:

Search fee is 25 zł. The fee is not refunded in the event of a query in the negative.

If you find an update on the acts of their number and to an additional charge of 5 zł scan.
Account
State Archives in Zamosc
Polish National Bank Branch in Lublin District

47 101013390016612231000000

PL 47 101013390016612231000000 (BIC: NBP LP LPW)

It’s not perfect, but it’s understandable. The cost of searching is 25zl and scans are 5zl each. It then lists the archive’s bank details (which are the same as the page we found earlier). Now you can send 25zl and then 5zl later, but frankly the cost of sending money internationally is expensive, so I would suggest just sending it all at once. 30 zloty is about $11 (US).

Sending Money to Banks in Poland

How do you send money to the bank in Poland? It’s not so easy. It would be nice if the archives would start using PayPal or something similar, but I haven’t found one yet that does, so you need to figure out how to get money into their accounts.

You can always give the bank account information to someone in your bank and ask them to transfer the money. Many banks actually let you set up an international money transfer online. I’ve done this from the web interface to my account at Bank of America. It’s pretty easy, but it’s not cheap at $35 per transfer. That’s a lot more than the 30zl fee you’re sending the archives.

Another option is an online money transfer company. I’m not going to recommend any of them since far be it from me to recommend someone who will be handling your money, but one such company I found is Xoom.com. They let you send money to accounts overseas for only $5 per transfer ($10 if you want to pay with a credit card instead of withdrawing the money from your bank account) but you need to send a minimum of $25. Thus if you were ordering that one record you’d be sending $25, which right now is about 70 zloty. That means you’re sending an extra 40 zloty. One way to look at this is that you could spend $46 to send $11 to Poland ($35 bank fee plus $11 to the archive), or $30 to send $25 to Poland ($5 Xoom fee and $25 to the archive). Of course the Xoom option sends more than twice as much money for less overall cost to you. In this case, since you’re sending more money I would just ask for more records. Look up what other records the archive has, and ask them to look for other records connected to your family. It’s not a perfect situation, but usually you’ll probably be order more records and it won’t matter as much.

One useful tool I can recommend using before entering the bank information into whatever service you end up using, is xe.com’s IBAN Decoder. If you look at the bank information given by the archive above, there is a long string of numbers that follow the two-letter code for Poland. There is actually a special way to format that number which you will likely need when entering the bank account information. If you enter the string:

PL 47 101013390016612231000000

it will return:
Your IBAN Number Properly formatted PL47 1010 1339 0016 6122 3100 0000
ISO Country Code PL(Poland)
IBAN Check Digits 47
Bank Code 10101339
Account Number 0016612231000000
Transit Number 10101339

This makes entering the data into whatever fields your bank or other service asks for much easier.

Finding Other Records in Poland

How do you know what archives are actually available for the town you’re researching? JRI-Poland has not indexed every record, and doesn’t have many records that are not vital records. Many other records exist, such as census records, voter lists, notary records, etc.

There are basically two ways to find out what records exist for a given town. First there is Miriam Weiner’s Routes to Roots Foundation. If you click on ‘Archive Database’ on the left menu and then ‘Archive Documents’ under Search on the right, you’re brought to the search page. If, to continue our example, you search for Tyszowce, you’d find there are 14 record groups. These are spread among archives in Tyszowce, Zamosc and Lublin, as well as one record set at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw. Record types include Birth, Marriage, Death, Voter Lists, Kahal/Jewish, Tax Lists and Notary Records. Sometimes a single record type (such as Birth) are spread among many different archives. In this instance, birth records for 1826-1875 are in Lublin, for 1876-1897 are in Zamosc, and for the years 1898-1915; 1920-1923; 1925-1926; 1928-1938 are in Tyszowce itself.

Let’s say you want to search for Notary Records. Those records are in the Zamosc archives, so you draft a letter similar to the above letter and send it to them, asking how much it costs to search for records. As there is no index, you have no idea how many copies you might receive, so perhaps ask the archive if you can wait to pay until after the search is complete. If not, perhaps send some extra money to cover a few copies and ask them to charge you if the copies exceed what you send only. In the above example, you could ask the archive to search the notary records to use up the extra money you sent.

The second resource you can use to find other records for your town is the Polish State Archives’ PRADZIAD database. The search interface is in English (if you click on the British flag) but the results will be in Polish. Google Translate is useful here – you can use the built-in translation feature of the Google Chrome browser, or the ability to translate pages on the fly in Firefox or IE using the Google Toolbar. Thus you can translate the results. You can choose the types of records in the search, but I suggest just doing a full search on the town. If you were to search Tyszowce in this interface, you would find 22 record groups. Many of these overlap with the Routes to Roots list, but some of these are religion-specific and not Jewish, so probably the Routes to Roots list is more comprehensive. While the PRADZIAD list is primarily, birth, marriage and death records, the Routes to Roots list also had voter lists, notary records, etc. However, if you look closely you’ll notice that there are some relevant records listed in the PRADZIAD list that are not in the Routes to Roots list, specifically Birth records from 1810-1825, which are not listed in Routes to Roots.

Basically, when looking for records not indexed in JRI-Poland, make sure to search both Routes to Roots and PRADZIAD.

Conclusion 

So in conclusion, there are three main categories of records – records in state archives indexed by JRI-Poland, records on LDS microfilm indexed by JRI-Poland, and records in archives not indexed by JRI-Poland (which you can find and then contact the archives to find the specific records). There is a fourth category I haven’t discussed, which is LDS microfilms not indexed by JRI-Poland. Hopefully this category will disappear over time. In most cases those records are also in the archives, so you’ll still find them by searching the archives.

I hope this summary was useful. If you find any mistakes, please let me know in the comments. If you have recommendation for other ways to get records, please also post to the comments. Also feel free to recommend professional researchers you’ve used that can help others with the process.

New iPhone and iPad App from Ancestry.com

If you use Ancestry.com and you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, you might know about their Tree-to-Go app that came out awhile back. It was a very basic application for viewing the family trees that you had on Ancestry.com. Frankly, it wasn’t particularly useful, as it only let you view the trees you had uploaded to Ancestry.com and wasn’t very interactive. In addition, if you had an iPad with its larger screen, it was not optimized for that, and could not show anything more on the iPad than on the iPhone.

Ancestry on iPhone

That all changed yesterday with the introduction of a new app, now called simply Ancestry.

This new version seems much more polished, and adds some major features.

First off, it fully supports the iPad, and can take advantage of the larger screen. You can now see not only the trees you have on Ancestry.com, but those that are shared with you from other users.

Also, if you’ve attached records to people in your tree, such as a census record, you can now view those records on your device (see the picture on the right).

For those who use both Ancestry.com and an iOS device (iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad) this seems like a very useful application, especially if you share trees with other Ancestry.com users. They also announced that they are ‘carefully considering’ the creation of an Android version as well, although I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for an Android version.

The interesting thing to me about this seemingly very polished application is the contrast this illustrates with the Mac application they also recently introduced. Why is their iOS app so much more polished than their Mac app? It might seem odd that the iOS app, which is free, has had more attention in its design than their Mac application for which they charge quite a lot. I suspect the answer to this question is that the development of their iOS app is done by a completely different team than the one that handles Family Tree Maker. I’m not sure either of these applications are developed in-house by Ancestry, but either way it seems the teams working on these are completely different.