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December 27, 2002 - Image 28

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-12-27

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Yecheil Nisselbaum from Bereza (in
Belarus today), on a 1912 Russian voter
list transcribed by JewishGen.
"They have extensive databases
where volunteers are busy transcribing
data from vital records of countries in
Eastern Europe; researchers, in some
cases, are transcribing Russian Cyrillic
to English Roman letters," Sloan said.
Seven-year genealogist Manson said
he's grateful to the JewishGen volun-
teers who have transcribed the moun-
tains of microfilm records. These
records helped him locate his great-
grandfather Meyer Dovid Mac (pro-
nounced "Matz").
"He was born in 1872 in Skaryszew,
Poland, and the birth record is in
Russian," Manson said. "From that doc-
ument, I was also able to identify the
names and ages of his father, mother
and his mother's father, who was listed
as a witness. Also listed as a witness was
his future father-in-law."
JGSMI President Fred Apel of West
Bloomfield has been using JewishGen
in his 12-year genealogical quest. Now
he assists other researchers three to four
hours daily.
As project manager for the site's
ShtetLinks database, he is "responsible
worldwide for anyone wanting to place
information about a shtetl (village) on
the JewishGen Web site. There are cur:.
rendy 348 shtetls online and 27 in
process," Apel said. He sees this as a
way to share the stories and histories of
places where ancestors lived.
Bisel, whose earliest-known relative is
. her sixth great-grandfather Abram
Hoffman (born in 1719), volunteers on
the site's JRI (Jewish Records Indexing)-
Poland Project.
"I transcribe birth, marriage and
death indices, which are put up on the
Web site for others to search," Bisel
said. "I have helped to index-the towns
of Piotrkow Trybunalski, Rozprza,
Tuszyn, Mogielnica and Grojec, all
places my ancestors came from. I am
also helping to index towns for the K-R
SIG (Kielce-Radom Special Interest
Another project she assisted with is
the JewishGen Online Worldwide
Burial Registry, a grassroots effort to
document and record cemetery and
burial information throughout the
"I indexed burials in two local ceme-
teries, which were contributed to the
international project," she said. "They
are Temple Beth El's Woodmere
Cemetery and B'nai Moshe's Oakview

Jewish Gen,Inc.

Marc Manson of Farmington

Hills, JGSMI President Fred
Apel and officer Leah Jordan
Bisel of Farmington Hills pre-
pare for the group's recent hands-
on computer workshop.

Opening screen of the JewishGen
Web site

Contributions Needed

For all the value JewishGen provides,
Manson and other site visitors are con-
cerned it may not stay solvent.
"Of the over 60,000 people who use
JewishGen, less than 5 percent (under
3,000 people) make any kind of finan-
cial contribution,' Manson said. "If
more people don't support it,
JewishGen will not be able to continue
its growth."
One current project needing assis-
tance to continue is the JewishGen
Research Division's indexing of
120,000-plus Dachau German concen-
tration camp records, said JewishGen
Vice President Joyce Field.
Since November 2001, data entry
volunteers have completed close to
85,000 records. Approximately 37,000
are online.
But Field warned, "Until JewishGen
raises the required funds, additional

Dachau records may not be added to
the database."
Researchers could miss out on getting
other important files as well.
Explaining the appeal of JewishGen,
Bisel described it as a "family" of people
working worldwide to help each other.
"Strangers go out of their way to help
others who are traveling the road to the
same goal: finding their ancestors."
She and her fellow genealogists are
counting on JewishGen to keep that
process moving for generations to
come. ❑

For information on JewishGen,
visit the Web site
wvvw.jewishgen.org . For more on
the Jewish Genealogical Society
of Michigan, visit
www.jgsmi.org or call (248)

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