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About GNDBs, Names
DESCRIPTION: THE GIVEN NAMES DATA BASES
3. DESCRIPTION OF COMPUTER DATA BASES
3.4. GIVEN NAMES DATA SOURCES
The availability of given names data from archival and other sources constrains the size and quality of the resulting databases. The data sources used for the GNDBs are listed below. (A=Aramaic, E=English, Eu=European, G=Greek, H=Hebrew, L=Latin, Y=Yiddish).
For Each European Country: Project Standard set of Hebrew names (H,A,G,L), Hilchot Gitin (H,Eu,Y), old books having nineteenth century given names (Eu,Y), archival documents (E,Eu,Y), modern books having nineteenth century given names (E), on-line databases (JewishGen, others) (E), family trees on web sites (E).
For Each Foreign Country: Foreign-country Gravestone readings (E,H,Y), International Cemetery Project (E).
For both European and Foreign Countries: Postings on Jewish genealogical mailing lists, SIGs, news groups (E), archives of Jewish genealogical mailing lists, SIGs, news groups (E), data donated by individuals (E).
Data posted to JewishGen and other formal data base sites, and data prepared by professional genealogists have usually undergone carefully planned procedures of evaluation, rule-making, transliteration, error checking, and other important factors, and are reliable.
However, data from other sources may have variable standards of transcription, errors, and other difficulties. Problematically, many books mix together given names from different regions, while others were intended for new parents in modern times. Many books do not give the time frame of their names. Some researchers use current English spellings rather than original Hebrew, Yiddish, or secular names, e.g., instead of the Jewish name Avrohom, they use Abraham; then one cannot know what the original name was -- Abraham, Avraham, a kinui (nickname) of Avraham, a secular name, or a mistake. And then there are errors in original archival documents or books, due to the data collection method used.
3.5. COMPUTERIZED GIVEN NAMES SOURCES
There are three types of computerized given names data sources: JewishGen hosted and private on-line data bases, gravestone readings by certain individuals, and cemetery project readings. JewishGen hosts Regional Special Interest Groups (SIGs), which collect archival, regional databases. These SIG web sites (http://www.jewishgen.org/) are an important source of given names data for European countries:
BELARUS (Former Russian Empire gubernias Grodno, Minsk, Mogilev
Many privately posted databases are also of high quality, and some have links in the JewishGen web site.
Major Jewish genealogical organizations and a few private individuals record data on gravestones in Jewish cemeteries around the world. These databases are sometimes of variable quality because of omitted data, e.g., Hebrew and Yiddish names. However, Ada Greenblatt has recorded all of the available data (including Hebrew and Yiddish) in many US cemeteries, particularly where most of those buried were from the same shtetl or group of shtetls; such data are of major value for the GNDB Project, since they allow linking vernacular US names to European names.