26 May 2008

Hebrew translators needed for Iasi project

If you can read Hebrew fluently, here's a challenge that can help many researchers worldwide.

Bob Wascou (Sacramento, California) of ROM-SIG has informed me about the Iasi, Romania Burial Records Project. ROM-SIG is the special interest group for Romania and it is involved in several interesting projects.

Bob has asked for help from Tracing the Tribe's readers for this important project.

Reuven Singer heads up the Iasi Burial Records Project; he obtained some 3,600 pages of the Iasi Jewish community burial records 1883-2005. The records were photographed at Singer's expense during 2006-2007, following negotiations with the Bucharest Jewish Federation, aided by JewishGen, Inc.

The photographer missed some files on the first go-around, but these have now been obtained and he believes the set for this period is now complete. So far, a substantial amount has been done. However, more remains to be completed.

Records are in various formats. Records were kept only in Hebrew from 1883-1917. A somewhat overlapping set, 1915-1943, was started in Romanian. From 1939-1966, a third set was kept - also in Romanian.

There are also records from 1966-2005, but they'll be ignored for the present, says Bob, who adds, "It will be interesting to evaluate the overlapped records to see if there is material in one set which is duplicated in the other or not, but this has not been completed to date."

For 1939-1966, the men's records are done, the women's records partially completed. Of some 276 pages, 200 have been completed for men from 1915-43; the women's records not yet begun. Records were kept separately for men and women during 1915-1966, but older Hebrew records are not gender-separated.

Here's where Tracing the Tribe's readers can help:

The Hebrew records are the most interesting genealogically because they provide the most information; some 140 pages have been completed. However there are about 1,900 pages overall in the Hebrew section - not even 10% has been completed. The 140 pages completed generally include 1883, 1884, and January-March 1885.

Experts originally recruited by JewishGen claimed the Hebrew script was almost unreadable. Singer, however, has demonstrated - by finding an Israeli genealogist with experience in Hebrew handwriting - that the vast majority of text can be read. With a little experience, he has found it can be read fairly rapidly and fluently with only a few uncertain words present.

Singer is hoping with that more people can be recruited to work on this very interesting Hebrew material - which may provide names, names of parents, dates, causes of death, where an individual died and always the age, Later Romanian files include only names and dates, no ages.

Can you read the old Hebrew records? Would you would like to work on the Romanian records with a minimal amount of Romanian and Hebrew? If you are up to the challenge, contact Bob Wascou at robertw252(AT)aol(DOT)com for more information; he can send sample records to interested readers.

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