11 November 2007

Bessarabia project: Volunteers needed

Does Bessarabia figure into your ancestral history? Are the towns of Kishinev (Chisnau) or Balti (Beltsy) familiar? Can you read and transliterate accurately from Hebrew and Cyrillic?

A project is underway to transcribe information from vital records (birth, marriage, death) for Kishinev and Balti in the former Russian gubernia of Bessarabia; data is being placed in the JewishGen Romania Database.

According to Romanian Special Interest Group (Rom SIG) coordinator Bob Wascou of Sacramento, CA, the original records are at the National Archives of the Republic of Moldova (NARM) in Chisnau, Moldova. The records were microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, and provided to JewishGen on CD-ROMs. The microfilms are available through the LDS Family History Library and all LDS Family History Centers.

Created by the Jewish communities in the towns where events took place, the text is in both Russian (Cyrillic) and Hebrew script; some are in Russian only.

The database currently contains more than 103,000 records, says Wascou, and the majority of remaining records are for Kishinev (today Chisnau, Moldova) and Beltsy (today Balti, Moldova).

This is where you may be able to help: Wascou seeks more volunteers to input data into an Excel template or quality control records that others input.

Volunteers must have the ability to read Hebrew or Cyrillic as required; to view JPG images as email attachments; knowledge of Excel and ability to input data into Excel template; have a high degree of accurate data entry. All entries will be made in Latin letters; transliterated as necessary from Hebrew or Russian according to standardized guidelines.

If this sounds like something you can and want to do, and thereby assist researchers around the world without your language skills, here's a chance to do your good deed for genealogy. Additionally, if your family comes from the area, you might uncover interesting family records while helping global Jewish genealogists to access this information.

To volunteer for the project, write Bob Wascou at robertw252@aol.com and tell him about your language skills. For more information, click here.

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