Rosanne Leeson, Stephanie Weiner, Bob Wascou
The approximately 40,000 tombstones in three Bucharest cemeteries will be photographed and mapped by a Bucharest Romania-based photographer. The inscriptions will be translated and the data entered into the template for JewishGen's Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR). The images and inscriptions will be provided to JewishGen and Rom-SIG so that researchers can obtain the information free of charge on JOWBR or through the Rom-SIG website.
This project will allow Romania family history researchers to create or fill gaps in their family trees and learn something about their families' Jewish heritage. Where vital records may no longer exist, cemetery records are often the only remaining evidence of a person's life. The material has the potential to be of broader interest to scholars and educators specializing in Jewish history and the Holocaust and specifically in the history of Bucharest, the capital of Romania.
The JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) is a searchable database comprised of individual burial records, tombstone photographs, and descriptions of individual cemeteries. At its launch in July 2003, JOWBR featured 643 cemeteries in 25 countries, with more than 300,000 burial records, and 11,000 tombstone photographs. New cemetery records are added to JOWBR on a regular basis. This project will expand the JOWBR database by approximately 40,000 tombstones.
Jewish cemeteries throughout the world are threatened with vandalism and even extinction. The Bucharest cemeteries are no exception. See http://www.jewishgen.org/romsig/bucurest%20cemetery.html for information about destruction which took place in 2008.It is vitally important to preserve information about existing Jewish cemeteries so future generations will have the benefit of this aspect of our cultural heritage. In addition, for many Jews, knowledge of their family history perished in the Holocaust. JOWBR is one of several JewishGen activities that will help families fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle. JewishGen Inc. is an affiliate of the Museum of Jewish Heritage -A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.
Why Bucharest is important to people without known Bucharest roots:
Bucharest has a very interesting and compelling history that makes the city important not only to those who can trace their ancestral roots to Bucharest, but to other Romanian towns. The city is the capital of Romania, and had the largest Jewish community in the country.
The photographer team will spend time in each of the three cemeteries preparing the headstones to obtain the best images, photographing the existing stones and mapping the location of each stone using GPS technology. He will complete one cemetery at a time. After that the inscriptions will be translated and the data integrated into the JOWBR database at http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/cemetery/
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Updated 24 Dec 2011 by LA