To the Beginner...

From a message sent by Stanley Diamond to The JRI Email Exchange Forum, 23 Nov 1998.

Dear JRI-Poland list subscriber:

To assist you in your personal research, we have prepared the following guide. We hope you will find it useful:

 Familiarize yourself with all aspects of JewishGen
For general Jewish genealogical information, the place to start is with JewishGen, the home of Jewish genealogy on the world wide web. The address is: Next, download or print out the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) file::
Check out the JewishGen Family Finder

 It is important to understand the value of connecting to and working with others interested in the same SURNAME or town. Don't duplicate work! Check to see if there are researchers with a common interest to yours who may have already done some of the research you are aiming to do. It can make your own work much easier. So, one of the first steps is to check the JewishGen Family Finder:
The "family finder" features on-line search and/or entry. It grows day-day-by-day so frequent visits to the site should be an ongoing strategy.

 Understand the JRI - Poland project... what it can do! Jewish Records Indexing - Poland at can help you locate shtetls where your ancestral names were found in birth, marriage or death registrations... including variant spellings that are the same phonetic name. This is the real strength (some call it magic) of the JRI-Poland project... to identify the places where surnames appeared and your families lived -- including towns you may have never known before. Look at the vital records you have uncovered.

 If a JRI-Poland database search uncovers towns with your family surnames, order the LDS microfilms or copies of the records, and view them yourself.
For Information on the LDS microfilms, read the "Source of the Data" paragraph in the JRI-Poland Frequently Asked Questions.
If you have an uncommon surname, these records may connect you to other branches of your family in nearby towns. Seeing the actual records may be the only way to verify that the index entries in the JRI-Poland database are or could be for the family you are seeking. They can help direct your future research

 Read the JRI-Poland "InfoFiles" first; direct your questions to the right place.
It is imperative to read the JRI-Poland InfoFiles; they will answer many of your questions. Queries to the JRI-Poland list should not be for material that is available in the InfoFiles. Personal research questions not directly related to the project, such as: "I am searching for <SURNAME> posts, should be made to the JewishGen list. For general research information, read the JewishGen InfoFiles at:

Know the limitations: JRI-Poland cannot do everything!This indexing project is a huge ongoing one and is totally volunteer driven. Realize that the JRI-Poland database does not have all of the Jewish vital records of Poland! And, your ancestors may be from an area whose records are not yet part of our database. Or, the years that your family lived in a certain town have not yet been indexed. Read on, there is something you can do about this. After the search when you get your JRI-Poland search output, read the explanatory notes at the bottom; they will tell you how the data is helpful, what its limitations are, and then you'll be on your way. Also, remember, the JRI-Poland database was created by human beings; there could be errors. We explain how errors may occur, and how you can report them, on the home page of Jewish Records Indexing - Poland.

 Be a volunteer - form your own or join a Shtetl CO-OP If you don't find your family in your initial searches, read about the JRI-Poland Shtetl CO-OP initiative and join in at:
Make sure one of the next shtetls to be indexed is the one with YOUR family records. Every individual can make a difference in the project.

 One last hint Experienced researchers will tell you of the benefits of having a mentor in or networking with someone close to home, perhaps in your city or town. Join the nearest Jewish Genealogical Society... (the list is on the International Association of Jewish Jewish Genealogical Societies page on the JewishGen site: If there's no society nearby, ask around your town, at the synagogues, the Jewish Community Center, put up a notice, post a message on JewishGen.... Try everything! Form your own little study group! You will be glad you did."

The Board of Jewish Records Indexing - Poland

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