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JewishGen Bessarabia Special Interest Group
How to use our website

Introduction

Our SIG's website is town and district oriented. Three features are present on every page of the site:

  • Two search boxes are in the upper right corner. One is for general searches. The other is for town name searches (see the next section).
  • The top menu bar allows navigation to anyplace on the site.
  • The bottom menu provides direct access to our site map, Board member contact information, our donations page.
    The bottom menu also has links for some of the popular social media sites. The first button is a direct link to the our SIG page on Facebook. The following three will allow you to share or comment our website pages with your acquaintances through your own accounts on Twitter, Google+1 and Facebook.

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How to find your town page

The core of our website consists of town pages, one for each of almost 800 towns in our database. We have tried to make it easy for you to get to any of the town pages. Use any of these three methods.

  • If you know the province and district your town is in, use the clickable maps. Click on the town's province. Then click on the town's district and finally click on the town name. This takes you to your town page. At each step you will see, successively, a province map, a district map, and the town page. We'll describe these later.
  • If you don't know your province or district but you have a pretty good idea of how the town name is spelled, click on Towns and Districts on the top menu bar. From the secondary menu, click on 'Alphabetical list of towns'. You will see a browsable Town Page directory. Select the first letter of your town name to jump to that section of the directory. Browse through the list and click on your town name. This takes you to your town page. In the list, you will notice that some towns have 'flags' next to the town name. If a flag is present it indicates that the town has a Town Leader (T), a KehilaLinks owner (K), a Project List (P) and/or a Document Collection (D). The next section describes Document Collections and Project Lists.
  • If you are not sure how your town name is spelled and you don't know its province and district, use the town name search box. It is in the upper right corner of every web page on our site. This is especially useful if your town had several different and dissimilar names. For example, at different times, Kishinev was also known as Chisinau as well as in other languages like Yiddish, Polish... Type any of these names into the search box, and a page will open showing you all entries in the town database with any of those names. Select the one you want by clicking on the View button at the right side of the listing. This will take you to your town page. To produce a list of all towns in our database, just leave the town search box blank and click the GO button next to the box. The resulting list has 7 columns plus a View button (the town, district and province name in 1900, the modern town name, name in 1930 and 1950, and other names for the town). Clicking on the View button on a town line takes you to the Bessarabia SIG Town Page.

If none of these methods work for you, try using the JewishGen Gazetteer and the JewishGen Communities Database to obtain more information about your town and how its name was spelled. (Hint: Use Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex rather than Beider-Morse. D-M Soundex seems to be more accurate for town names.)

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Document Collections and Project Lists

Document Collections and Project Lists contain the primary content of our website. Every town, district, and province page has sections for Document Collections and Projects that relate to that town... unless no material currently is available. These sections contain brief descriptions of the Collection or Project, along with a hyperlink to its location. Most content is on KehilaLinks websites where it the KehilaLinks 'owner' maintains it. Content for a town, district, or province that does not have an active KehilaLinks website is on the Bessarabia SIG site.

We have provided you with several ways to get to the Document Collections and Projects for your town. The easiest way is to go to your town page. There you will find lists of all relevant Document Collections and Projects for your town, along with a brief description of each item, an indication of its status, and the location of the item (e.g. on a KehilaLinks website, or at an external website or archive).

Master Index of Document Collections

You can browse through our Master Index of Document Collections. This Master Index page also is accessible by selecting 'Most Visited' on the 'Get Started' top menu, and clicking on Master Index of Documents. In the Search Form that comes up, leave all the entries set to their defaults, 'All...', and leave the Keyword field blank, then click the Search button. The Master Index of Document Collections has six columns:

  • Geographic Area
  • Collection Name
  • Time Frame
  • Type of Collection
  • Location of original documents for the collection
  • View buttons

Clicking on the View button for each Collection (it looks like a magnifying glass) takes you to a page that provides a detailed description of the Document Collection. That page also contains a list of towns for which the Collection is relevant. Click on the town name or the magnifier at the right side of the town line to go to the Bessarabia SIG Town Page that lists information for that particular collection and town.

Clicking on the View button that looks like an open book takes you to the web location that is the source of the document collection.

You can sort the Master Index table by any column. Just click on the column heading you want to sort by. Click again to sort the column in inverse order.

A Search Form at the top of the Master Index of Document Collections page allows you to narrow your search to a specific province, district, town, document type, or keyword. Each box in the Search Form has a dropdown menu that enables you to select an entry for that box. The circled question mark in the Search Form heading brings up a Help page. This Help page explains your search options and defines all the terms in the Search Form.

Master Index of Projects

A Master Index of Projects is available on the Research Menu. It works in a way very similar to the Master Index of Document Collections. To see the entire Index, leave all the default selections set to 'All...', leave the Keyword search box blank and click Search. The Master Project Index that appears has 4 sortable columns plus a View button.

  • Geographic Area
  • Project Name
  • Coordinator
  • Status

The View button takes you to a page that has a detailed description of the Project for the geographic area you selected, a hyperlinked list of Document Collections related to the project, and a list of project tasks and the status of each.

You can narrow your search to a specific province, district, town, or project status by using the drop down lists in the Search Form at the top of the page. The circled question mark in the Search Form heading brings up a Help page. This Help page explains your search options and defines all the terms in the Search Form.

Example

We begin on the Home page with the clickable maps showing the ten districts. We'll use the town of Kishinev to show how you can drill down to original documents and their translations.

  • Click on Lapushna District and we go to a page that has a map of the District showing the location of key towns, a list of its towns, and a list of related document collections and relevant links, if this material is available for the district. (In this case Lapushna photo gallery will appear in the Documents Collection section. New items are added frequently.) Move your mouse over a town name and a 'balloon' and pointer pop up showing you the location and some basic information about the town. You can see that besides Kishinev there are 4 icon letters (T,P,K,D) indicating that Kishinev has a town leader, projects, kehilalinks and documents.
  • Click on the town name Kishinev. Now we see an aerial map of the town, information about the town, lists of projects completed and in progress, lists of document collections, related links, galleries, and a link to the JewishGen KehilaLinks website for the town.
  • Clicking on any item takes you to a page showing the work that has been done on that item. Let's look at the project titled 'Revision Lists', under Projects. Click the View button for the Project. This takes us to a page that provides a detailed project description. On this page, click on the link next to 'Web address of the Project'. This takes us to the Project page on the JewishGen Romania Database.

Other towns, projects, and document collections will be similar, but detailed content may differ. As we mentioned earlier, almost all this content is on a KehilaLinks website or on an external website. The 'owner' of that website controls how the data are presented.

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The Top Menu Bar

The top menu bar is available from every page of our website. It offers multiple ways to access all the information on the site. Now that you understand our Town orientation, Document Collections and Projects, we hope you will find each section of the Top Menu Bar is fairly intuitive. So we'll just guide you through the menus and leave it to you to explore more thoroughly.

Home Page

Begin on our Home page. It features our clickable map of Bessarabia. You can use it to click through to any province, district, or town page, each of which has considerable content. You also can access the clickable map from Towns and Districts on the Top Menu Bar. The Home page also shows our most recent 'What's New' messages.

Get Started

The Get Started menu is where you are now. It has sections that describe the work of our SIG as well as several 'how-to' sections like this one.

'Get started with our SIG' has links to two pop-out documents:

  • Introduction to Bessarabia SIG
  • The Bessarabia SIG FAQ

'Get started with this Website' has two items on a pop-out menu:

  • How to use this website (this document)
  • Site Map for this website (which also is on the bottom menu bar)

'Most Visited' has 4 pop-out items:

  • 'Alphabetical List of Town Names' was described in previous sections of this document.
  • 'Master Index of Documents' was described in previous sections of this document.
  • 'Master Index of Projects' was described in previous sections of this document.
  • 'Bessarabia Province Portal'. This page include the map of our home Home page, as well as descriptions and hyperlinks for Projects, Document Collections, Articles, and Related Links that are relevant to all of Bessarabia.

Towns and Districts

We previously discussed one of the menu choices under Towns and Districts: 'Alphabetic List of Towns'.
Towns and Districts also has other sub-menu items:

  • 'List of Lost Towns'... We have not been able to locate these towns or information about them in any gazetteer or other source. Please contact us if you can provide information about any of these towns.
  • 'Maps' has a collection of maps that may be useful to you.

Research

The Research Menu has 1 submenu and several other sections:
  • 'Bessarabia-SIG Searchable Databases' has three sub-menus.
    • 'Master Index of Projects' was discussed above.
    • Bessarabia SIG Master Index of Document Collections was discussed previously.
    • JewishGen Database, is intended as a master index for all datasets concerning the geographical scope of our SIG. It is a work-in-progress. Our SIG is actively developing datasets for inclusion in the Database.
  • 'Links to other Online Research Resources' is a structured, annotated list of resources available on JewishGen, our SIG and on other important external websites. Be sure to browse through the list. Some of the material under this item was carried over from the old website and will be moved to KehilaLinks websites and town pages.
  • 'SIG's Discussion List Archive' includes all messages posted to all JewishGen Discussion Lists since May 1998. It includes an advanced search form that allows you to select any or all Discussion Lists.
  • 'InfoSheets' are brief (1 to 3 pages) documents that provide information about key issues relating to Bessarabia SIG as well as tutorials that teach you how to initiate and carry out specific types of projects.

Photos, Travel, and More

Everything on this menu is pretty standard and intuitive. No special instruction is needed. The submenus are: Photo Gallery, Travel Reports, Stories, People, Recipes, Book Reviews, and Other Articles. Items under Other Articles that relate to towns, districts or provinces also are listed on the relevant geographic pages of our website.

About Us

The contents of this menu item also are pretty standard and straightforward. Sub-menus include:

  • Names, contact information, responsibilities and biographies of our SIG's 'Board of Directors; '
  • A list of our SIG's 'Key People', Town Leaders and KehilaLinks Owners with their contact information;
  • Our SIG's 'News Archive' and 'Newsletters' contain important previous communications with the Discussion List. It may be useful for you to browse through these submenu items.
  • 'Subscribe to our SIG Mailing Lists' gives you instructions for subscribing to our discussion list, one of the primary ways we communicate with you.
  • 'Our SIG on Facebook' takes you to our Facebook page where you can read previous posts, subscribe, and post your own messages... and, of course, 'Like' us.

Donate/Contribute

'Donate' tells you how you can make a monetary contribution to JewishGen and our SIG. You can designate your donation for general use or for specific towns or projects.

'Contribute' identifies some of the primary ways you can contribute your time and skills to assist our work.

'Town Leaders Needed' lists the towns in our concerned geographical area that currently lack town leaders. Since we have more than 100 towns in our database, and fewer Town Leaders, there are many opportunities for you to contribute to the SIG while advancing your own family history research.

'Acknowledgements' is a work-in-progress. It is here that we recognize the outstanding efforts of our volunteers.

We hope Bessarabia SIG's website will help you further your research. For many of us, working with Bessarabia SIG is a way to 'give back' for all the assistance we received with our own research. If you need help, please call upon us. If you can help move the SIG forward, please contact us. We take our tag line seriously... Bessarabia SIG, where Jewish genealogy is personal.

Best wishes,

Inna Vayner, Bessarabia SIG Coordinator
www.jewishgen.org/bessarabia
where Jewish genealogy is personal

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  • Last Modified: 03-12-2017
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