jgbanner.gif (17838 bytes)

L'Shana Tova from JewishGen

Part VI - Databases


During the past year, JewishGen continued to make great strides in providing databases and making them available to the Jewish community worldwide as a public service. To this end.... we are forging relationships with many other organizations and archival institutions so that together we can "preserve our history for future generations".

JewishGen's mission and policy has always been that we simply ask for a non-exclusive license to publish data. This means, all information compiled by you, belongs to you... and you are free to do with it what you want. This also is an important comfort level for many of the organizations and institutions with whom we already have relationships, and for those with whom we are presently in negotiation.

We spoke the other night about the FTJP... and hope to have some updated figures for you in the coming days on where we are in the collection process. Will we reach the goal we've set forth (1,000,000 names)....stay tuned...<grin>

The JGFF, on the other hand, the first place people start to connect with JewishGen and with others has seen one of the most incredible jumps in participation of any of JewishGen's services. In the last 12 months... the number of researchers has grown from 12,000 to 25,855 where it stands today.

And here are some other very interesting JGFF statistics...

There are currently 150,836 data records, 48,396 unique surnames and 16,034 unique towns. The search requests have jumped from 60,000 a month to well over 100,000 a month with 120,000 being the highest in any given month.

We reached the 1 million search mark in December, 1998 (1 year and 8 months from when we started the counter on this new engine in 4/97). Today we are at 1.8 million and should easily see the 2 millionth search well before the close of another one year period.

Michael Tobias, Warren Blatt, Iris Folkson, Ruth Grant, Carol Skydell and I continue to monitor the JGFF entries and help desks... and we are pleased to have Alex Sharon joining this team to help with ongoing maintenance so that the entries will be monitored on a regular basis. Alex is currently engaged in cleanup and correction prior to the issuance of a hard copy JGFF to be distributed to all the local JGS who order one.

The JewishGen Holocaust Global Registry, under the brilliant management of Kathy Altman has also seen a steady and consistent growth. There are well over 1,700 entries in this database and ongoing efforts are being maintained with the Shoah Foundation to compare the databases of our respective organizations to insure that no stone goes unturned to "connect or re-connect" a family.

Just last night I took a look at the Interactive databases and was astounded at the number of you who have put up your Family pages on the JewishGen site... there are over 890 families represented here. The Publications, Meetings and Links Databases have grown as well, but they lack managers.. and we would love to have some volunteers come forward to help us promote and "maintain" these important resources. Bill Lipton had been monitoring these databases under the supervision of Ed Goldberg.. but Bill has recently had to go offline for an extended period of time. Do we have any volunteers? Please contact cskydell@jewishgen.org. Some technical skill required.

Our most recent addition to the JewishGen site is the InfoSeek Server which we purchased during the year. Over the last 6 months we have seen a growth in html and text based pages on JewishGen... from 2,500 to over 7,500. In fact, we have heard from people who have recently been astounded at the amount of information and if you haven't looked lately... then shame on you!!! 

In any event, this server allows you to search all the documents on JewishGen by subject. Although it does not allow for DM Soundexing... the best searches are by subject and towns... since there is a wealth of information stashed away all over the site. This will certainly help you get closer to what you are looking for. Special thanks to Warren Blatt for getting this set up.. and to InfoSeek Corporation who so generously provided us with this HIGH impact engine at a very reduced non-profit rate. To access it, go to our homepage, http://www.jewishgen.org/, scroll down to the bottom and click on Search this Website.

It's difficult at best to keep up with all the new material in database format on JewishGen today.. but the best way to find out what is going on around here.. is to frequently check the "What's New on JewishGen" page at:


What is happening in the database arena is no less exciting than anything we have mentioned to date. We hope you will thank the "cast" and congratulate them for their outstanding contributions.. in making our research just a little bit easier.

New on JewishGen in the last 12 months..

- Minsk Surnames database

- 1903 'Vsia Rossia' for Minsk Gubernia database

- American Jewish Historical Society manuscript catalog database

- Boston Marriages database, Rabbi Aaron Gorovitz

- Mogilev Birth Index of boys, 1864-1894

- Boston 'Jewish Advocate' Wedding Announcements database

- 1891 Galician Business Directory database

- The 1906 Rechitsa Uezd Duma Voters List database

- German Jews at Stutthof Concentration Camp database

All wonderful, but a few stand out as highlights and are worth spotlighting for special mention.

American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS)
Manuscript Database located at


is truly a revolutionary research tool, because it opens up 40 million pages of archival documents that were before now uncatalogued. It contains full desriptions of over 1,100 unique and valuable manuscript collections. It's the key to the AJHS' archives, never before available.

The AJHS database is full-text searchable, as well as browsable by category. It was produced over three years by volunteers of the JGS of Greater Boston.

Another set of favorites are the three Boston databases:

Boston Advocate Obituaries (over 20,000), Boston Advocate Wedding Annoucnements (over 4,000, and it's just started), and the Rabbi Gorovitz Marriage Database. Each has  unique characteristics. The Gorovitz database contains a tremendous amount of information about each marriage, and the results are  displayed in a highly compact and organized format. The two "Boston Jewish Advocate" databases are searchable not only by the name of the principal parties, but it also picks up surnames of relatives/survivors, and maiden names of mothers, etc.

These Boston databases were volunteer efforts by two people who each devoted a tremendous amount of time and dedication:

David Rosen (the two "Jewish Advocate" databases") and Joseph Lurie (the Rabbi Gorovitz marriage database).

One could just imagine if there were special localized resources like these for each and every Jewish community throughout the world. If JewishGen'ers volunteered to index the Jewish genealogical resources in their local Jewish communities, and these resources were then made available to the greater Jewish community via JewishGen, well... it's a wonderful dream... and perhaps we might be able to look back a year from now.. and begin to see the realization of what we all can do when we cooperate together in a grassroots effort ... sparked by a few, perhaps but gathered by many! 

Let's not forget the SIGs Mailing List message archives... and if you are trying to make plans for the year 2000, knowing when Jewish holidays fall and in the years to come, take a look at the updated JOS Calendar!  A little surprise from Warren Blatt and Michael Tobias. Some of us are known to need this! <grin>

JewishGen's INFOFILES and FAQ's continue to provide ongoing information to the genealogical researcher and we welcome more INFOFILES... take a look at the more than 190 offerings.. and if there is something you feel expert on and want to share it.. please contact bkouchel@jewishgen.org.

JewishGen SIGs and Special Research Groups are forming almost every day and some of them have quite extensive websites.... Belarus SIG, Denmark SIG, Galicia SIG, German Jewish SIG, South Africa SIG are  either new to JewishGen this year or have grown tremendously. There are newsletters, articles, search engines and all sorts of interesting information which should not be missed if you have interests in any of these areas. A good place to make certain that you don't miss a trick is to visit http://www.jewishgen.org/listserv/sigs.htm and click on them, one after the other.

JewishGen is host to many organizations who share in some way a common purpose and goal and the work they are performing is to the benefit of us all. Again the LitvakSIG, JRI-PL, RomSIG, The Missing Identity and IAJGS sites have much to offer all of us.

We are in the process of launching the JewishGen MarketPlace Mall.. where we plan to be providing JewishGen specialty items along with other genealogical related products in the coming months.

Well it's broken record time... but the storage of all the databases, our web server, our internet connectivity is a major expense... and although the information is there.. if we don't have the servers, the internet connectivity, the increased bandwidth to serve you... well it isn't worth a whole lot to anyone now, is it?

We hope you will see it in your hearts to support this effort and the effort of so many people by contributing to JewishGen today in their honor...

There is nothing more gratifying for each and every one of those individuals who have made these significant contributions to "preserving our history for future generations" than a little recognition from their peers. 

Just take a look..


and then go to


and say thanks!!! They all deserve it!

L'Shana Tova

Susan E. King