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FTJP FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions
About the
Family Tree of the Jewish People

Part III: Searching the FTJP


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

  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?

III. 1.   How do I get to the Search screen?

Go to the Family Tree of the Jewish People web page at http://www.jewishgen.org/gedcom.  Read the disclaimer information, then scroll down to the bottom of the page, and pres the "I ACCEPT and wish to SEARCH the database" button.

   

You will then be prompted to logon with your JewishGen ID Number and Password, if you aren't already logged on.

You will then be taken to the FTJP's Search form.


III. 1.1.   What methods of Searching can I use?

There are two ways that you can search for a member of your family:

  • The Search Form
  • The 'Three Generations Search'

Both of these searches produce a table listing the results of your search, and can be ordered in differing ways.

However the 'Three Generations Search' allows for relationships to be explored. If, for example you know that the name of the father was Cohen and the name of the mother was Shaw, then this can be an excellent way of focusing a search, i.e. to find those people whose father was named Cohen, and mother named Shaw.

You don't need to worry about case. You can type your search in either lower case or upper case - there is no difference in the results.


III. 2.   How do I use the Search Form?

You fill in the boxes to search for an individual or individuals, using options as appropriate (explained in Question 2.1 below), and then click on the "Search" button.

This is what the Search Form looks like:

Surname Given Name
Town OR Country
Type of Search Order Results by

After you press the "Search" button, you are presented with the results, in a table.  A detailed explanation of the results table is in Question 4.


III. 2.1.   What can I search for in the Search Form?

There are several different options available in the Search Form. You can search for everyone with a particular surname, search for an individual with a particular surname and given name, search for everyone with a particular surname in a town or country, or search for everyone in a particular town or country.

You may:

  • Search for a surname:

    Surname Given Name
    Town OR Country

    -- if you want to to find all those with the surname 'Plotnik'.

  • Search for an individual:

    Surname Given Name
    Town OR Country

    -- if you want to find all those with the surname 'Plotnik' with the given name (i.e. first name, forename) 'Pinchas'.

  • Search for everyone from a town or country:

    Surname Given Name
    Town OR Country

    -- if you want to find all those from Pinsk.

  • Search for a surname from a town or country:

    Surname Given Name
    Town OR Country

    -- if you want to find all those with the surname 'Plotnik' from Pinsk.

Note: Don't use umlauts and other foreign accented characters, as they do not translate properly.


III. 2.2.   What types of search can I enter in the search form?

When you click on the drop-down arrow (circled in the picture below), you will see the options that you may use for searching the database.

Briefly, these are:

  • The Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex search -- which is described in Question 2.3 below.

  • The Exact Spelling search -- only if you are extremely confident of the name you are looking for.

  • The Starts with this Spelling search -- which will find all items beginning with the specified letters, e.g. 'Cohen', 'Cohn', 'Cohan', etc., if you start off with 'Coh'.


III. 2.3.   What is a Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex Search?

The Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex search was developed because of a need to account for the highly variable spelling of Jewish names. The D-M Soundex system accomodates sounds created by Eastern European languages such as Polish and Yiddish.

Here's the general idea. When I look for my ancestor's name - "Shenofsky" - I must recognize that "Shenofsky" might not have been their name in the old country. It may have been "Chernowski", "Chernik", "Sharnowsky", etc. Likewise, a family which currently spells their surname as "Zendle"; the ship's clerk who wrote the manifest for the SS Baltic in 1909 wrote the name as "Zendel".

Soundex systems are not perfect. There are some inconsistencies. You might not find Kane when looking for Cohen for example - so carry on using your brains, intuition, and creativity.

If you want to know more about how Soundex works you can read our simple explanation and/or our technical explanation.


III. 2.4.   In what different ways can I sort the results of my search?

There are several ways that results may be ordered.

When you click on the drop-down arrow (circled in the picture below) you will see the options that you may use for ordering the results of the search.

The first three are simple alphabetic sorts on names.

The Gedcom dates order the result by the Gedcom files (family trees) most recently submitted to the FTJP (so that you can check if there is a more recent date for the name you have been searching on -or look at the older ones)

The Submitter Codes order allows you to group together those from the same submitter.


III. 3.   How do I use the Three Generations search?

This is simpler than the Search form, but just as powerful in its own way.

It works purely on the Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex search option (i.e. no exact or 'begins with' searches), but as with the Search Form, exact matches are highlighted in the Results Table.

Here is an example:

The search illustrated above is a search for those people whose father was named 'Zendle' and whose paternal grandmother was named 'Herscowitz'.

After clicking on the 'Start Search' button, the FTJP search engine will look through the FTJP database for individuals in a relationship that matches your query, and will produce a table of results.

Other examples: You could search for people who had a father named 'Paltrow'; or for people who had a paternal grandmother named 'Marx' and a mother named 'Cohen' and maternal grandmother named 'Grunwald'; etc.

You can see that while the Three Generation Search is simple to use, it is also extremely powerful.


III. 4.   Can you explain the Results Table to me?

Whichever method you used to search for individuals, the results will be presented in the form of a table. You can then click on any underlined names to get to additional information in the FTJP about that individual (the Family Display Page).

Here's some sample data from one of those results tables.


Name Born Died Father + Mother Code Last
Updated

ZENDLE, Anthony Michael Living   Sam + Fay Shaw 11635 23 Jan 1999

ZENDLE, Isaac 1880 1953 Nissan + Chonoh Bashie Sherman 11635 23 Jan 1999
ZENDLE, Myer or Moshe     Nissan + Chonoh Bashie Sherman 11635 23 Jan 1999
ZENDLE, Nissan 1828 1920   12345 18 Oct 2000

There are a few things to note here:

  1. No personal details (birth dates) are displayed for living individuals. (See our FTJP privacy provisions).

  2. There are symbols to the left of each individual which signify whether they have ancestors and/or descendants linked in the FTJP, thus:
    Has ancestor(s)
    Has descendant(s)

    Has both ancestor(s) and descendant(s)

  3. Those individuals submitted by the researcher who carried out the search (in this example, researcher #11635) are highlighted in purple.

When you click on a name, you are taken into a Family Display Page, which opens up in a separate browser window. The Family Display Page shows two generations of direct ancestors of the selected individual, their spouse(s), and any children -- four generations total. See the next question for information about the Family Display Page.


III. 5.   How do I use the Family Display page?

Here is a representation of what you might find for an individual named Anthony Zev Cohen:


Family Display: Anthony Zev COHEN

Contact the Person who submitted this data by e-mail

Paternal Grandfather:

David COHEN
Born: 1880, Poland
Died 1953

Paternal Grandmother:

Rachel LEVIN

 
Maternal Grandfather:

Zev SCHWARZ
Born: Ukraine

Maternal Grandmother:

Annie GLAUB

Married 1905
   
 
Father:
Reuben COHEN
Born: 28 Dec 1912, London, England
Died: 15 Jan 1979
  Mother:
Judith Miriam Schwarz, Living
Anthony Zev COHEN, Living
Spouse: Elizabeth Rivka ELLENBERG, Living
Children:
George W COHEN, Living
Rachel Anne COHEN, Living

In the above example, all of the individuals are underlined, which indicates that clicking on them will show their family tree (i.e. a Family Display Page like the above, but centered on that individual, with their ancestors and descendants).

Of course, not everyone has descendants, and for many individuals the submitter had no idea of who the ancestors are, so many family displays will have gaps.

You may find the descendants symbol () next to some children, as shown above — this indicates that there are further descendants.

By clicking on the hyperlinks you can thereby move up and down the generations to explore the entire linked family tree of the individual.


Note that you can not click on the browser's "Back" button to go back to the Search Form, because the Family Display page opens in a separate browser window.

If you have your browser's window maximized, you will not see the two separate windows — they'll be on top of each other, one obscuring the other. The solution is to make your browser's window slightly smaller than your screen size, so that you'll be able to see both windows, and easily switch back and forth between them.


III. 5.1.   How do I contact the submitter of the family tree I'm interested in?

At the top of the Family Display screen, there is a hyperlink which enables you to contact the submitter of the GEDCOM file that contains the family which is being displayed.  If you click on the link "Contact the Person who submitted this data by email" at the top of the page, you will be presented with a fill-in form, which looks like:

You fill in the the form, and then click on the "Send my Request" button.  Please write a complete comprehensive message which will enable the submitter to understand your context.  An e-mail message will be sent to the submitter with the details that you entered in the form.  It is then up to the submitter to reply to you if he or she wishes.


III. 6.   How accurate is the information in the FTJP?

The information in the FTJP is only as accurate as the data submitted to it by various genealogists around the world. JewishGen performs no validation of the data submitted to it. (See disclaimer).

The FTJP is remarkable research tool for conducting family research. But like any tool, it has to be recognized that the information it contains is far from perfect and in fact, can often be incorrect and lead researchers down the wrong path. The FTJP's information is supplied by the hundreds of researchers who contribute, but there is no control over what is input and no oversight as to accuracy. It is your responsibility to verify and validate any fact.


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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