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FTJP FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions
About the
Family Tree of the Jewish People

Part I: Introduction


Welcome to the FTJP FAQ — "Frequently Asked Questions about the Family Tree of the Jewish People".  This document is in four parts:

I. Introduction II. Submitting your Family Tree III. Searching the FTJP IV. Questions about Privacy

This "Introduction" section will answer your basic questions.


I. Introduction:

  1. What is the FTJP?
    1. What's the history of the FTJP?
    2. How can I access the FTJP?
    3. What is the role of JewishGen?
    4. Do I have a choice who I give my family tree to?
  2. To whom do I address any problem about the FTJP?
  3. How much does this cost?

II. Submitting Your Family Tree:

  1. How do I get my family tree to you?
  2. What are the first steps I need to take?
    1. What is Gedcom Format?
    2. Can you give me an example of how to save in Gedcom format?
    3. My genealogy software has many fields for non-standard events. Will they be shown in the FTJP?
  3. How do I upload my Gedcom file?
    1. How do I attach and send my gedcom file to you?
    2. What should I call my Gedcom file?
    3. My family tree is far from complete. Should I send it now?
    4. Is it OK to send really large files to the FTJP?
    5. I am researching several family lines. Can I send them all?
  4. How can I update or correct information?
    1. Can I link with existing records?
    2. My address has changed. How do I let you know?

III. Searching the FTJP:

  1. How do I get to the Search screen?
    1. What methods of searching can I use?
  2. How do I use the Search form?
    1. What can I search for in the Search form?
    2. What types of search can I enter in the Search form?
    3. What is a Daitch-Mokotoff search?
    4. In what order can I have the results of my search?
  3. How do I use the "Three Generation Search"?
  4. Can you explain the results table to me?
  5. How do I use the Family Display page?
    1. How do I contact the submitter of a family tree I'm interested in?
  6. How accurate is the information in the FTJP?

IV. Privacy:

  1. What information does the FTJP display?
    1. What information is removed after I submit my family tree?
    2. What if I don't think that your provisions are sufficiently private?
    3. How private are my personal details after I've submitted my family tree?
    4. A person copied my data and presented it as their own. Will you remove those names?
  2. Are there any restrictions on who can search the FTJP?
  3. Does any monitoring of the FTJP take place?
  4. Disclaimer


I. 1.   What is the FTJP?

The Family Tree of the Jewish People (FTJP) is a project to centralize the collection of family trees for Jewish people, in order to provide a powerful resource to connect individuals researching the same Jewish family branches.


I. 1.1   What's the history of the FTJP?

In the last three decades there has been a growth in interest in genealogy — from kids making a family tree as part of a school project to adults discovering the patchwork of family relationships as a hobby.  Genealogy has become very popular.

Many people now store their family trees on computer, in a standard format called GEDCOM, by which family trees can be saved and shared between different software programs.

Timeline:

  • 1985 - The Dorot Center, at Beth Hatefutsoth (Museum of Diaspora) in Tel Aviv, Israel, begins collecting family trees in GEDCOM format.  Collects 100,000 entries as of 1990.
  • 1991, July - Plans for a "Jewish Genealogical People Finder" (JGPF) are announced by Gary Mokotoff, then president of the Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (AJGS).
  • 1992, July - First edition of the "Jewish Genealogical People Finder" (JGPF), published on microfiche by Avotaynu.  150,000 entries.
  • 1993, July - Second edition of the JGPF.  230,000 entries.
  • 1995, May - 3rd and final edition of JGPF, issued on 22 microfiche. Contained over 310,000 individuals, submitted by over 200 Jewish genealogists.
  • 1997, December - AJGS announces plans for a "Family Tree of the Jewish People" (FTJP), to be issued on CD-ROM.
  • 1998, July - Initial online FTJP, developed by Lineages, Inc. and Palladium Interactive for JewishGen. Press Release.
  • 1999, January - New online FTJP system on JewishGen.
  • 1999, August - IAJGS issues their first FTJP on CD-ROM.  800,000 names, from 700 contributors.
  • 1999, October - Tripartite agreement between JewishGen, IAJGS, and Beth Hatefutsoth.
  • 1999, November - JewishGen FTJP reaches 1,000,000 names, from 825 contributors.
  • 2000, December - Second edition of IAJGS' FTJP CD-ROM.  1.8 million names.
  • 2001, December - JewishGen FTJP reaches 2 million names, from 1,850 contributors.
  • 2005, January - JewishGen FTJP reaches 3 million names, from 2,600 contributors.
  • 2009, August - JewishGen FTJP reaches 4 million names, from 3,500 contributors.
  • 2010, December - JewishGen FTJP reaches 5 million names, from 4,200 contributors.

As time progressed, the three major organizations concerned with Jewish genealogical research — JewishGen Inc., the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS), and Beth Hatefutsoth (Museum of the Diaspora) — agreed in principle to share family trees which had been submitted by researchers.  This is how the collective "tripartite" effort came about and is now known as the Family Tree of the Jewish People, with each organization making the information available to researchers in unique format.  JewishGen provides the online version, IAJGS is providing a CD-ROM version, and Beth Hatefutsoth continues to make the information locally available on its computers in Israel.


I. 1.2   How can I access the FTJP?

Depending upon when and where it was submitted, each family tree is available:


I. 1.3.   What is the role of JewishGen?

As one member of the 1999 tripartite agreement for the sharing and distribution of the FTJP, JewishGen provides an online product through which an individuals can upload their family tree to the database, as well as search the family trees created by others.


I. 1.4.   Do I have a choice who I give my Family Tree to?

All researchers who had submitted family trees to either IAJGS or Beth Hatefutsoth prior to the tripartite agreement of October 1999 have been asked by the respective organizations if they want to participate in the JewishGen online version.

Following the October 1999 agreement, every family tree submitted to any of the three parties to the agreement must be shared with the other two.  Therefore, you no longer have the ability to designate with which of the organizations you will share.


I. 2.   To whom do I address any problems regarding the FTJP?

Please address all questions and issues regarding the JewishGen FTJP to the JewishGen FTJP Help Desk.  Questions about the IAJGS' version of the FTJP (the CD-ROM) or Beth Hatefutsoth's version of the FTJP (at the Museum of the Diaspora in Tel Aviv) should be directed to those organizations, not to JewishGen.

Please read through the JewishGen FTJP FAQ before contacting the FTJP Help Desk.  Most questions are already answered in the FAQ.  The JewishGen FTJP Help Desk can be reached at < ftjphelp@mail.jewishgen.org >.  In your message to the FTJP Help Desk, please be sure to include:

  • Your full name.
  • Your JewishGen ID Number.
  • What computer operating system you are using (e.g. Windows98, Windows XP, Windows NT 4.0, MacOS 7.52, etc.).
  • Which web browser you are using (e.g. Netscape 8.1, Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0, Opera, WebTV, etc.).
  • Be as specific about your question as possible.

You need to fully describe the problem you are having as precisely as possible — tell us exactly what you were doing when you encountered the problem, what you expected the results to be, and what were the results you saw.  Provide the text of any specific error messages you are seeing.  Telling us only that "the program doesn't work" is meaningless.  We can help you only if you tell us the complete and specific nature of the issue that you are having.  Including all of this complete descriptive information will save time and allow the FTJP Help Desk to respond to your question.


I. 3.   How much does this cost?

There is no charge to either search or enter data into the FTJP.  All JewishGen programs are free to users, and everyone may participate.

However, while JewishGen is completely free of cost to users, there are costs to administer and maintain the database.  JewishGen survives only via the financial support of the people who use our programs.  We ask those who are benefiting and using the FTJP for their research to send a voluntary $25 annual donation (tax-deductible in the U.S.), to help offset some of these expenses, so we can continue to provide this and other services to the Jewish genealogical community.

For more information on supporting JewishGen, see the JewishGen-erosity page. JewishGen is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation.


Authors: Warren Blatt, Michael Tobias, Carol Skydell, Iris Folkson, Susan King, Tony Zendle.
Version 2.04   Last Updated: May 1, 2004   WSB

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