25 July 2008

Poland: Bialystoker Yahrzeit Card Index

Bialystok, Poland is one of my family towns. Mark Halpern - coordinator of BIALYGen - the Bialystok Region Jewish Genealogy Group - shares this interest.

More specifically, my mother's paternal grandmother - Rebecca Halpern Fink - was born in Skom Bobel, part of Bialystok. Her father was named Leizer, and one of her sons was named Leo after him.

While Mark and I have not yet discovered a connection, there are Halpern names (including a Leizer) on the new online Bialystoker Center Yahrzeit Card Index, with nearly 4,000 names from the Center on New York's Lower East Side, which provided help and permission for this project. The index runs from about 1880-1994.

The Yahrzeit Card was a record of the person's death and also served as an administrative reference enabling the Center's office to send notifications of upcoming memorial dates to relatives and friends of the deceased. Many Jews memorialized relatives and friends with plaques at the Center. The database has been provided to JewishGen to develop an online searchable index.

It is now online here for more information on the database, the project, card samples and Center history.

The database may be downloaded as an Excel file.

Index fields are:

Surname of Deceased
Given Names of Deceased
Date of Death (Secular)
Hebrew Given Name
Hebrew Name of Father
Other Surnames from Card (relatives notified of Yahrzeit date)
US States/Countries (of relatives)
Those who find family members' cards may obtain JPEG images. Send the individuals' full names and death date to bialystoker@comcast.net; write "Yahrzeit" in the subject line.

Volunteers who helped create the index were Tilford Bartman, Steve Denker, Stephanie Carson Feldman, Lynn Franklin, Bobby Furst, J. Michael Gilbreath, Henry Kaplan, Barbara Meyers, Gary Mokotoff, Greg Stone, Kathryn Wallach, and Sid Zabludoff.

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