07 March 2008

Genealogy research proposals sought

The International Institute for Jewish Genealogy (Jerusalem) is inviting serious research proposals for ground-breaking research in six preferred areas of Jewish genealogy from qualified individuals and/or relevant organizations in those areas.

The research is to be carried out in the 2008-09 academic year; successful applicants will receive grants of up to $10,000. The deadline for proposal submission is May 31, 2008, for review according to the highest standards of academic excellence by July 31, 2008.

Six preferred research areas include Jewish history from a genealogical perspective; rabbinical genealogy; onomastics; inter-disciplinary aspects of Jewish genealogy; Jewish genealogy and computer sciences; sources and resources for Jewish genealogy. Proposals in other areas are not excluded.

An overview of topic possibilities follows. For an extensive example listing, examples, go to the IIJG site, click Projects -> Upcoming Projects -> Call for Projects.

History: Researches that re-visit and re-shape the historical narrative (or parts thereof) through a genealogical lens; studies that offer a broader perspective on specific genealogical topics; integrative studies placing Jewish genealogical researches into context of the wider historical narrative, both Jewish and non-Jewish.

Rabbinics: A “holistic” (rather than particularist) and critical approach to rabbinical genealogies.

Onomastics: Application of recently developed tools for the classification and analysis of Jewish names to regions/communities where little or no scholarly work has been done.

Jewish genealogy's interdisciplinary aspects: Jewish genealogy and sociology; Jewish genealogy and migration studies; Jewish genealogy and genetics; Jewish genealogy and demography; Jewish genealogy and statistics;

Jewish genealogy and computer science (technologies): Also, large scale statistical studies of family groups, emigrations/ immigrations, with detailed analyses of family structures (age differences of spouses; including frequency of consanguinity; infant mortality; life expectancy; medical issues; hereditary diseases; given names; name changes; etc.); and development of research tools of fundamental importance to Jewish genealogy.

Sources: Studies aimed at the systematic identification and documentation of new/under-utilized/previously inaccessible sources and resources for Jewish genealogy.

Although previous awards are not listed at the IIJG site - I suggested that it would be helpful to list the individuals, their projects and the abstracts - director Neville Lamdan has kindly provided information on previously accepted projects:

Professor Eric L. Goldstein, Associate Professor of History and Jewish Studies (Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia) for "The Ties that Bind: Jewish Kinship Networks and Modernization in Darbenai and its Diaspora." He has also extensively researched the history (1760s-1941) of the Jewish community (Darbenai/Dorbian, Lithuania). Using hundreds of documents culled from Lithuanian, Russian, American and Israeli archives, he is writing a scholarly portrait of Lithuanian shtetl life, viewed through the lens of this small community.

An international team (Dr. K. Klauzinska (Poland), Prof. H. Daniel Wagner (Israel) and Dr. J. Zajdel (Poland), received a grant for "Strategies for the Integration of Genealogical Datasets." The objective is to integrate details about individuals in different databases relevant to a single town (Zdunska Wola, Poland) to increase knowledge and eventually reconstruct family trees. Algorithms/software will be developed for full data extraction from genealogical/Jewish-oriented databases and for processing data to merge databases and reconstruct trees. A pilot project will merge metrical death data and cemetery listings for the town. Long-term, the project will develop currently non-existent integration tools for merging large Jewish genealogical databases to eventually permit virtual reconstruction of entire Jewish family trees of a town or region, including families that vanished in the Holocaust.

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