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Instructions for Completing the JOWBR Template

The JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) aims to catalog data about Jewish cemeteries and burial records worldwide, from the earliest records to the present.
JOWBR is a searchable database of names and associated information, including photographs of gravestones.
As of June 2014, JOWBR contains more than two million burial records from 4,400 cemeteries in 85 countries.
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These are the instructions for filling in the JOWBR Templatean Excel spreadsheet to contain information for one cemetery for the JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR).

The JOWBR Template is an Excel spreadsheet, containing three tabbed worksheets:

  • Cemetery Information — General information about the Cemetery, including its name, location, description, and information about the donor.
  • Burial Information — One row for each individual buried in this cemetery.
  • Instructions — Data entry instructions for each field in the Burial Information.

Cemetery Information:

A separate spreadsheet file should be used for each Cemetery or Landsmanshaft/Organization plot within a Cemetery.

Please clearly identify which Cemetery or Plot the file represents, by filling in the "Cemetery Info" tab in the JOWBR Template, with the requested information, including:

  • Cemetery Identification:
  • Cemetery Location:
    • Country / State / City / Address location.
  • Donor Information:
    • Your full name.
    • Your email address.
    • Your JewishGen ID #.
  • Cemetery Details:
    • Number of Burials.
    • Number of tombstone photographs, if any.
    • Description of Cemetery.
    • Notes or Instructions to the JOWBR Team.
  • Place of Origin (Town/Country) of Landsmanshaft, if applicable.

Burial Template:

A separate entry (row) should be created for each individual buried within the Cemetery or Landsmanshaft/Organization plot.  While we do value personal knowledge, please refrain from including information not derived from tombstone, cemetery, or public records such as public death records, birth records, funeral home records, and newspaper obituaries, except in the "Comments/Notes" column.  If data from personal knowledge are included, please place it in the "Comments/Notes" column, as an explanation of a known error in a field or as additional information.  If data from other official sources are added, indicate the source(s) in the "Comments/Notes" column.

Please simply leave blank any fields for which you do not have any information.  We recognize that the amount of information available will vary depending on the country, age of the graves, etc.  Therefore, it is quite possible (and likely) not to have information for every field.  This is entirely acceptable (and expected).  In most datasets, the majority of fields will be blank.

There is no limit to the size of any field in the JOWBR Template.

The following data descriptions, combined with the sample data below, should assist you in entering your data.  JewishGen provides a wealth of information on its website.  Some relevant links have been included here where appropriate.  Please visit the website for more information on cemeteries and genealogy in general.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Nolan Altman.

When completed, the template should be sent to jowbrsubmissions@lyris.jewishgen.org, along with any tombstone photograph files.

Photographs: There is a JewishGen InfoFile describing image creation and handling, at http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/donation/image.html. While written for the Yizkor book project, it is also applicable to the JOWBR project.  For hints on photographing tombstones, please see this file.

Thank you for taking the time and effort to assist us in documenting Jewish burials throughout the world.

Data Field Descriptions:

  1. Plot Location:   Physical Location of the individual plot/grave within the cemetery.  Please follow the style of each cemetery.  Since each cemetery has its own unique way of identifying its burial plots, no standard is imposed.  Some examples: “Row 4, Plot 12”, “Row A, Plot 15”, “Adams, Section 4B”, “Children's section, Grave 9”, “Greenwoods, Block 5, Line 1, Lot 10”.

    This field may be left blank if there's no apparent numbering/location plan, as in smaller cemeteries or remnants of Eastern European cemeteries.

  2. Surname:   The Surname (Last name) of the deceased.  Must be in all capital letters.  Enter only the surname in this field.  [Enter first name, middle names and maiden surname in Given Name(s) (field C)].  This field may be left blank, for older tombstones which do not contain any surname.

  3. Given Name(s):   All given names (i.e. Forenames, First/Middle names) of the deceased.  When a woman's maiden surname is available, the maiden surname can be appended here.  If a maiden name appears here, it should be in all capital letters, and also enter it in Other Surnames (field O).

  4. Place of Birth:   Name of the city/area where the individual was born, if provided on the tombstone or burial record.  For individuals born in the USA or Canada, the name of the city should be followed with a comma and the state/province postal abbreviation. (For more information on the standard postal abbreviations, please refer to http://www.jewishgen.org/InfoFiles/codes.html).  For those born in Europe, transcribe town names exactly as they are written in the original source.  For example, in a German-language record, the capital city of Poland would be written as “Warschau”. Do not transform it to “Warszawa” or “Warsaw” – preserve the original.  If you wish, you may also include the modern native town name, as per the JGFF model – add the conjectured modern native town name in square brackets, following a slash, e.g. “Warschau / [Warszawa]”.

  5. Date of Birth:   The date of birth, if provided on the tombstone or burial record.  The format is dd-mmm-yyyy, using the three-letter English month abbreviation and a four-digit year.  If the tombstone contains only the year, then write only that four-digit year.  If only a Hebrew birthdate is available, please include it in Comments/Notes (field R). Please convert the date to the equivalent Gregorian calendar date (based on the appropriate year), and enter the resulting Gregorian calendar date in this field E.  (For more information about date conversions, please refer to http://www.jewishgen.org/jos/josdates.htm).

  6. Place of Death:   Name of the city/area where the individual died, if provided on the tombstone or burial record.  For individuals born in the USA or Canada, the name of the city should be followed with a comma and the state/province postal abbreviation. (For more information on the standard postal abbreviations, please refer to http://www.jewishgen.org/InfoFiles/codes.html).  For those who died in Europe, transcribe town names exactly as they are written in the original source.  For example, in a German-language record, the capital city of Poland would be written as “Warschau”. Do not transform it to “Warszawa” or “Warsaw” – preserve the original.  If you wish, you may also include the modern native town name, as per the JGFF model – add the conjectured modern native town name in square brackets, following a slash, e.g. “Warschau / [Warszawa]”.

  7. Date of Death (English):   The date of death, in the format dd-mmm-yyyy, using the three-letter English month abbreviation, and a four-digit year.  If the tombstone contains only the year, then write only that four-digit year.  If only the Hebrew date appears, leave this field blank and enter the Hebrew date in the Date of Death (Hebrew) (field H).

  8. Date of Death (Hebrew):   The date of death, if recorded in Hebrew, in the format dd-month-yyyy.  If the tombstone contains only the year, then only include the year.  If only the English date appears, leave this field blank and enter the English date in the Date of Death (English) (field G).  (For more information on reading Hebrew Tombstones, please refer to http://www.jewishgen.org/InfoFiles/tombstones.html).

  9. Age at Death:   Some tombstones provide an age at death, in addition to, or instead of, a birth date.  If the age is expressed in years, then just put the number of years.  For ages expressed in units other than years (i.e. days, weeks, or months), write out the words, e.g. '6 months', or '8 mos'.  Calculation is not necessary; If no Age at Death is listed, please leave blank.

  10. Date of Burial:   The date of the actual burial, if provided in the burial records.  Please use the standard format dd-mmm-yyyy, using the three-letter English month abbreviation, and a four-digit year.

  11. Hebrew Name:   Transliteration of the individual's Hebrew name.  This may or may not include the patronymic (the father's name — e.g. “ben Avram” or “bat Moshe”) or status (e.g. “HaKohen” or “HaLevi”).  No transliteration standards are imposed; please use your best judgment in phonetically capturing the name.  (For more information on reading Hebrew Tombstones, please refer to http://www.jewishgen.org/InfoFiles/tombstones.html).

  12. Spouse's Name:   Enter the Spouse's Full Name, if provided in the tombstone or burial record.  The format is “GivenName(s)”, or “SURNAME, GivenName(s)”.  If the spouse's surname is different from the surname of the deceased in Surname (field B), then also add the spouse's surname to the Other Surnames (field O).

    In some modern cemeteries, the names of both spouses are engraved on the tombstone when the first one dies.  In this case, include a burial record for the living spouse, and enter “Living” in Comments/Notes (field R).

  13. Father's Name:   Father's secular name, in the format “GivenName(s)”, or “SURNAME, GivenName(s)” if surname is different from that of the deceased.  If the surname is different, also add the surname to the Other Surnames (field O).

  14. Mother's Name:   Mother's secular name, in the format “GivenName(s)”, or “SURNAME, GivenName(s)” if surname is different from that of the deceased.  If the surname is different, also add the surname to the Other Surnames (field O).

  15. Other Surnames:   Any and all surnames other than the principal surname entered in Surname (field B).  If there is more that one surname in this column, separate the surnames by spaces and slashes. (For example: “OTHER1 / OTHER2 / OTHER3”).  The surnames should be in all capital letters.

    The surnames here may include a woman's maiden name (which might appear in any of fields C, M, or Q), father's surname (field M), or maiden name of mother (field N).  This field is needed internally, in order for the soundex and phonetic searching of surnames to function properly.  All data which appears in this field must also appear in one of the other fields.

  16. All Towns:   For any town identified in the Place of Birth (field D), Place of Death (field F), or Comments/Notes (field R), please re-enter the town names into this All Towns column.  Although complete place locations can be entered in the Place and Comments columns, the All Towns column should include only town names; exclude street, state, region and country names.  If there is more that one town name in this column, separate the town names by spaces and slashes. (For example: “Pinsk / New York”).

    This is a non-displayed field, which is needed internally, in order for the soundex and phonetic searching of town names to function properly.  All data which appears in this field must also appear in one of the other fields.

  17. Photo Filename:   If digital images of the tombstone or burial records are being sent, enter the filename of the appropriate image here.  Images should be in either .gif or .jpg formats only.  There should be one and only one photo filename for each burial.  The image files should be emailed along with completed spreadsheet, or mailed on a CD if very large.  If no image is available, leave this field blank.

    No file-naming conventions are imposed, but the filename must be unique within each cemetery/plot.  Keep the filenames short, and do not include the full pathname.  The characters used for the filenames should consist of only the 26 letters of the alphabet, the ten digits, and the underscore character; do not use spaces, slashes, parentheses, commas or any other characters. 

  18. Comments/Notes:   Any other notes about this tombstone/burial, which do not fit into any of the other standard fields above.  For example: Notes on the physical description/condition of the tombstone; a translation of the full tombstone inscription; notes on the language(s) used; notes on legibility or pictorial engravings; a death certificate number; cause of death; name(s)/address(es) of survivors; name of funeral home; etc., etc.

    There is no limit to the size of the data in this field (or any other field in the JOWBR template), but please refrain from using double-quote characters (" ").

Sample Data:

A B C D E F G H I
Plot Location Surname Given Name(s) Place of Birth Date of Birth Place of Death Date of Death (English) Date of Death (Hebrew) Age at Death
Row 2, Plot 4 COHEN Max Pinsk, Belarus 26-Nov-1899 Pinsk, Belarus   26 Kislev 5757  
Lot 12-D, Loc.1 COHEN Chaya Malka Pinsk, Belarus   Pinsk, Belarus 1952   98
Children's section, Grave 14B SCHWARTZ Abraham Chicago, IL, USA 1942 New York, NY, USA 1942 5682  
Greenwoods, Block 2, Line 4, lot 16 SCHWARTZ Sarah Chicago, IL, USA   Chicago, IL, USA 01-Jan-1985   8 mos.

 

J K L M N O P Q R
Date of Burial Hebrew Name Spouse's Name Father's Name Mother's Name Other Surnames All Towns Photo Filename Comments / Notes
13-Nov-1995 Yehudah ben Tsvi COHEN, Chaya Malka Abraham GOLDBERG, Esther GOLDBERG Pinsk 0001.gif  
    COHEN, Max FINSK, Moshe ROSEN, Sylvia FINSK / ROSEN Pinsk   Tombstone damaged at bottom
  Abraham         Chicago / New York    
03-Jan-1985 Sarah bat Alter HaLevi     Malka   Chicago sarahs.jpg  

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