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The Máramaros/Maramureş County Jewish Records Indexing Project

The Máramaros/Maramureş County Jewish Records Indexing Project

I set up a project to index 53,000+ pre-1896 Jewish genealogy records, containing 200,000+ names, from a county that used to be Hungarian and is now Romanian and Ukrainian. This is how I did it, and how you can do the same for your Romanian genealogy.

Brooke Schreier Ganz

December 05, 2011

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  1. The  Máramaros/Maramureş  County   Jewish  Records  Indexing  Project    www.MaramarosJewishRecords.com

      This  slidedeck  was  originally  presented  at  the  IAJGS   conference,  July  2010;  last  updated  in  December,  2011     Brooke  Schreier  Ganz   [email protected]   @Asparagirl  
  2. The  current  status  of  Romanian  vital   records  access  (post-­‐2005)

      •  Open  to  everybody.   •  No  prior  permission  needed  from  Bucharest.   •  You  can  request  up  to  five  record  books  per  day,  per   person.    Bring  a  friend,  get  more  records!   •  You  can  photograph  as  many  pages  as  you  like  within  those   five  books,  for  free  (but  you  bring  the  camera).   •  You  can  Xerox  as  much  as  you  like,  too,  but  you’ll  pay  a  few   cents  per  copy.   •  You  cannot  post  the  images  on  the  Internet.   •  Access  has  not  been  granted  to  the  Mormons  (LDS)  to   microfilm  or  scan  the  records.    Private  researchers  only.  
  3. History  of  Máramaros  megye  (county)   •  Pre-­‐1920:  Part  of

     NE  Hungary,  someZmes  considered  to  be   part  of  Transylvania.   •  1920-­‐WWII:  Southern  half  became  Maramureş  county   (note  the  new  spelling!),  Romania;  northern  half  became   part  of  Czechoslovakia   •  1939:  Part  of  northern  secZon  extremely  briefly  declared  its   independence  as  the  Republic  of  Carpatho-­‐Ukraine   •  WWII:  Both  halves  (Czechoslovakia  and  Romania)  occupied   by  Hungary,  briefly  re-­‐creaZng  the  county,  with  slightly   different  borders   •  Today:  half  of  old  territory  in  sub-­‐Carpathian  Ukraine   (Zakarpaea  oblast),  half  in  NW  Romania  (Maramureş   county)  
  4. Where  are  the  records  kept?   •  41  local  branches

     of  the  Romanian  NaZonal  Archives.   •  Baia  Mare  (formerly  called  Nagybánya)  is  the  local  archive   branch  for  Maramureş  county,  Romania…   •  …even  though  Baia  Mare  didn’t  use  to  be  part  of  the  old   Máramaros  county,  Hungary.    (County  lines  shiled  slightly,   too.)   •  Baia  Mare  also  holds  records  for  some  small  Ukrainian   towns  that  used  to  be  in  Máramaros  county,  Hungary…   •  …but  not  all  of  them,  mainly  just  the  limle  ones  that  are   close  to  Sighet,  which  all  shared  a  rabbi  in  charge  of  their   records.   •  No  records  in  Baia  Mare  for  the  city  of  Khust  (Huszt),   Ukraine,  for  example.  
  5. What  kinds  of  records  exist?   •  Before  October  1895:

     each  religious  community   kept  its  own  vital  records.   •  Jewish  records  are  kept  by  a  rabbi  who  manages   several  towns  in  a  district.   •  Aler  October  1895:  civil  registraZon  starts.   •  Everybody  in  a  given  town  is  recorded  in  the   same  civil  records  book,  regardless  of  religion.     •  Some  religious  communiZes  conZnue  to  keep   their  own  records  anyway,  but  they`re  not   considered  official.    
  6. What  kinds  of  records  exist?   •  Privacy  laws  in

     Romania:  civil  records  are  only   open  to  the  public  aler  100  years  have  passed   (similar  to  Poland).   •  Therefore,  civil  records  are  currently  open  for   research  in  Romania  from  1896-­‐1911,  because   2011  –  100  years  =  1911.   •  But  this  project  is  only  going  to  look  at  the   exclusively-­‐Jewish  records  (for  now),  so  we`re   only  concerned  with  the  old  pre-­‐1896  record   books,  not  the  post-­‐1896  civil  records.  
  7. Do  they  have  my  town’s  records?   •  There  is

     no  central  repository,  no  index,  and  no   database  that  has  this  answer!   •  No,  it’s  not  in  Miriam  Weiner’s  “Routes  to  Roots”   database  or  books,  and  no,  it’s  not  on  JewishGen.   •  The  Romanian  NaZonal  Archives  website  can  tell  you   where  your  local  archive  branch  is  (41  local  branches  in   all),  but  their  lists  of  archive  holdings  do  not  include   much  detail  about  their  vital  records.   •  The  individual  local  archive  branches  can  olen  provide   an  index  list  of  their  vital  records  holdings,  but  those   lists  are  olen  out-­‐of-­‐date  and  incomplete.  
  8. The  exisZng  finding  aids  sZnk   •  The  Baia  Mare

     archives  has  a  list  of  (mostly)   pre-­‐1896  religious  records,  which  was  apparently   typed  up  by  archivists  in  1972.   •  They  also  have  two  lists  of  their  civil  vital  records   holdings  from  1896-­‐1906,  which  was  presumably   typed  up  in  2006.   •  You  or  a  researcher  can  telephone  the  local   archives  branch  and  they  can  tell  you  what  they   have  over  the  phone,  but  they’ll  just  be  working   off  of  the  incomplete  index  list  they  have.  
  9. The  1972  religious  records  index  list  at   the  Baia

     Mare  archives   •  You  can  search  by  town  name,  or  search  in  numerical   order  of  register  book  number.   •  Records  in  the  list  are  grouped  by  town  name,  then  by   religion,  then  by  type  of  record,  then  by  years  covered.   •  Olen  only  the  largest  town`s  name  is  listed  and   smaller  towns  may  NOT  have  their  records  recorded  in   the  index,  although  they`re  in  the  book.    But  you  have   to  check  yourself  to  make  sure.   •  Several  misspellings  of  formerly-­‐Hungarian-­‐but-­‐now-­‐ Ukrainian  towns`  names  show  up  –  it  can  be   confusing!   •  The  story  of  Ruscova  (Ruszkova)  vs.  Repedea  (Ruskirva)  
  10. Here’s  what  that  1972  religious  records  index  list  looks  like

      (“Israel.”  =  Jewish  records;  “Ref.”  =  Reformed  Church  records,   “Gr.  Cat.”  =  Greek  Catholic  records,  etc.)  
  11. Don’t  judge  a  book  by  its  cover   Here’s  an

     example  of  a  book  that  the  1972  index  says  contains  “BerbesZ”  records.    But  when  you   look  inside,  you  find  about  20  more  small  towns’  records  that  weren’t  listed  in  the  index!  
  12. So  I  made  my  own  index,  part  1   • 

    I had to keep all the names straight – main column was modern-day town name, which could be either Romanian or Ukrainian •  I used the official Google Maps version of the Ukrainian names, since you can transcribe Cyrillic multiple ways •  I added one or two alternate town names, usually the old Hungarian version(s). •  Then I added the Yiddish town names (written in the Hebrew alphabet) and/or the transliterated-from-Yiddish town names. •  Example: Giuleşti = Gyulafalu = Gyulafalva = טשלויז
  13. So  I  made  my  own  index,  part  2   • 

    I added the name of the jaras (district) the town was in as of 1882. •  I added the modern-day country name. •  I added the individual book information: the book number, the record type (birth, marriage, death, census/ other), and the years covered. •  I created entries for book acquisition status (photographed yet?), book transcription status (transcribed yet?) and database status (online yet?).
  14. Warning:  this  part  is  geeky   •  I exported my

    spreadsheet to a CSV and turned it into a MySQL database, which I put online. •  I pulled the MySQL data into a PHP file on a simple website, and wrapped the generated table in a free javascript add-on called DataTables that handles automatic pagination (to make the page easier to read). •  The plugin also lets you search on designated columns, so I made hidden fields that had the town name text in them, but stripped of accent marks, so it can be searchable without accents.
  15. And  I  put  it  online!   •  I  bought  my

     own  domain  name:   www.MaramarosJewishRecords.com   •  This  helped  me  gain  PageRank  for  key  terms   associated  with  the  project  that  people  might  be   searching.    Also  looks  nice  on  flyers  to  donors.   •  Want  a  copy  of  my  code  for  your  own  indexing   project?    No  problem,  just  let  me  know.   •  You  need:  web  hosZng  that  supports  PHP,  MySQL   hosZng,  and  a  very  basic  knowledge  of   phpMyAdmin  or  other  MySQL  data  imporZng   capabiliZes  to  upload  your  CSV.    Nothing  crazy.  
  16. Birth  record:  Example  #1   Register  Book  #270  –  mulZple

     towns’  BMD  records  from  1851-­‐1853   (Label  on  the  front  cover  of  the  book)  
  17. Birth  record:  Example  #1   Register  Book  #270  –  mulZple

     towns`  BMD  records  from  1851-­‐1853   (Full-­‐size  view)  
  18. Birth  record:  Example  #1   Register  Book  #270  –  mulZple

     towns’  BMD  records  from  1851-­‐1853   (Zoomed-­‐in  view  of  the  headings,  which  are  in  German)  
  19. Birth  record:  Example  #1   Register  Book  #270  –  mulZple

     towns’  BMD  records  from  1851-­‐1853   (Zoomed-­‐in  view  of  the  data,  lel  side  of  page)  
  20. Birth  record:  Example  #1   Register  Book  #270  –  mulZple

     towns’  BMD  records  from  1851-­‐1853   (Zoomed-­‐in  view  of  the  data,  lel  side  of  page)   •  Baby`s  first  name  is  listed,  followed  by  a  surname  if   it`s  a  boy  and  no  surname  if  it`s  a  girl   •  The  surname  is  usually,  but  not  always,  the  same  as   the  father`s  surname   •  Some  fathers  don`t  have  surnames  yet!   •  Baby`s  exact  date  of  birth  is  listed   •  Baby`s  gender  is  listed   •  Baby`s  parents`  marital  status  is  listed  (but  it`s  olen   a  meaningless  disZncZon  –  civil  marriages  were  rare)   •  Baby`s  father`s  name  is  listed  
  21. Birth  record:  Example  #1   Register  Book  #270  –  mulZple

     towns’  BMD  records  from  1851-­‐1853   (Zoomed-­‐in  view  of  the  data,  right  side  of  page)  
  22. Birth  record:  Example  #1   Register  Book  #270  –  mulZple

     towns’  BMD  records  from  1851-­‐1853   (Zoomed-­‐in  view  of  the  data,  lel  side  of  page)   •  Baby`s  mother`s  first  name  is  listed,  but  almost  never  with  a   surname  in  these  early  records   •  Baby`s  town  of  birth  is  listed   •  The  midwife`s  name  is  listed  (but  usually  no  surname  is  given  in   early  records)   •  The  date  of  the  Brit  Milah  is  given  for  boys,  and  the  date  of  the   official  naming  is  given  for  girls   •  Baby  boy`s  lGodfatherz  (we  presume  they  mean  the  Sendak  at  the   Brit  Milah)  is  listed  –  can  be  genealogically  useful!   •  Baby  girl`s  lGodfatherz  not  listed  in  early  records  –  but  olen  is   listed  later  on   •  SomeZmes  the  name  of  the  Rabbi  who  performed  the  Brit  Milah  is   listed  
  23. Birth  record:  Example  #2   Register  Book  #1519  –  Sacel’s

     birth  records  from  1886-­‐1895   (Full-­‐size  view)  
  24. Birth  record:  Example  #2   Register  Book  #1519  –  Sacel’s

     birth  records  from  1886-­‐1895   (Zoomed-­‐in  view  of  the  headings,  which  are  in  Hungarian,  and  lel  side  of  page)  
  25. Birth  record:  Example  #2   Register  Book  #1519  –  Sacel’s

     birth  records  from  1886-­‐1895   (Zoomed-­‐in  view  of  the  headings,  which  are  in  Hungarian,  and  right  side  of  page)  
  26. Birth  record:  Example  #2   Register  Book  #1519  –  Sacel’s

     birth  records  from  1886-­‐1895   (Note  the  parents’  town  names!)  
  27. Towns  aren’t  everything!   •  People  moved  around  A  LOT.

       Much  more  than   you  think.   •  Judging  from  the  marriage  records  that  have   been  transcribed  so  far,  the  normal  thing  to  do   was  to  marry  someone  from  outside  the  village  –   in  which  case  your  relaZve  may  show  up  in  that   other  town`s  marriage  records  book.   •  So  if  lyourz  town`s  book  can`t  be  located… don`t  worry!   •  The  same  surnames  show  up  all  over  the  place.     Not  a  lot  of  variety…  
  28. Birth  record:  Example  #3   Register  Book  #39  –  Baia

     Mare`s  birth  records  from  1886-­‐1915  
  29. Birth  record:  Example  #3   Register  Book  #39  –  Baia

     Mare`s  birth  records  from  1886-­‐1915   Yup,  that`s  a  mix  of  Hungarian  and  Hebrew  in  the  official  book  headings!  
  30. Birth  record:  Example  #3   Register  Book  #39  –  Baia

     Mare`s  birth  records  from  1886-­‐1915   Beila  (in  Hebrew)  =  Izabella  (in  Hungarian);  Leah  =  Lili;  Hebrew  and  Hungarian  dates,  etc.  
  31. Marriage  record:  Example  #2   Register  Book  #270  –  Sighet

     area  marriage  records  from  1851-­‐1853  
  32. Marriage  record:  Example  #2   Register  Book  #270  –  Sighet

     area  marriage  records  from  1851-­‐1853   Some  grooms  have   surnames  and  some   don`t.    Brides  do  not   have  surnames  listed.     Olen  Zme,  bride`s   fathers  do  not  have   surnames  listed  either.     Groom`s  mother`s   name  and  bride`s   mother`s  name  not   listed.     Very  frustraZng.  
  33. Death  record:  Example  #1   Register  Book  #429  –  Borsa

     death  records  from  1886-­‐1896  
  34. Death  record:  Example  #1   Register  Book  #429  –  Borsa

     death  records  from  1886-­‐1896   Married  women   are  olen  listed   by  their  MAIDEN   name,  which  is   annoying.    But   some  records,   like  this  one,   give  their   spouse`s   surname  also.     The  names  of   the  deceased`s   parents  are   someZmes   given,  too.    
  35. Census:  Example  #1   Register  Book  #1597  –  Seini`s  census/index

     of  Jewish  households,  1784  –  1885   (probably  collated  in  the  mid-­‐1800`s)  
  36. Census:  Example  #1   Register  Book  #1597  –  Seini`s  census/index

     of  Jewish  households,  1784  –  1885   (probably  collated  in  the  mid-­‐1800`s)  
  37. Census:  Example  #1   Register  Book  #1597  –  Seini`s  census/index

     of  Jewish  households,  1784  –  1885   (probably  collated  in  the  mid-­‐1800`s)   Berger,  Emanuel        Beregi,  Emil  
  38. Current  project  status     •  Approximately  fily  volunteer  transcribers

      •  Found  through  JewishGen,  through  word  of  mouth,   through  web  searches  for  town  names   •  Chunks  of  the  books  are  doled  out  and  spreadsheets  sent   back  to  me  for  review   •  31  books  completed  so  far,  43  books  in  progress   •  Completed  books  will  go  online  on  JewishGen’s  Hungary   and  Romania  databases…   •  …but  not  yet.    Need  a  criZcal  mass  of  records  first.   •  People  who  transcribe  >500  records  or  who  donate  $100   (or  more)  to  project  through  JewishGen  will  get  copies  of   every  spreadsheet,  even  before  they  go  online!  
  39. Number  the  stars   •  EsZmated  total  number  of  records

     in  these  113   pre-­‐1896  Jewish  record  books,  once  completed:   53,000  records   •  EsZmated  total  number  of  (non-­‐unique)  names  in   records  –  keeping  in  mind  that  some,  like  the   later  birth  and  marriage  records,  have  more  info.:   200,000  names   (maybe  more)  
  40. Bang  for  your  genealogical  buck       ~53,000  records

     divided  by  ~$2,500.00  =   ~21  records  for  every  dollar  spent     In  contrast,  some  other  genealogy  projects  may   assume  costs  of  a  dollar  or  more  per  record!  
  41. What`s  next  –  for  you?   •  Start  an  indexing

     project  for  YOUR  town  or   county  in  Romania!   •  (Szatmar  /  Satu  Mare  researchers,  are  you  listening?)   •  Pool  resources  with  other  researchers!   •  Do  it  NOW  before  the  laws  change  again!   •  Set  these  records  free!