Monday, November 27, 2006

Really bad news...

Seemingly out of the blue, the new director of the Polish State Archives (PSA) has unilaterally canceled the contract with Jewish Records Indexing - Poland (JRI) meaning no more indexing of records and no more on-line ordering of record copies.


Oy vey. The JRI-PSA partnership revolutionized the process for finding lost relatives. A person could sit in front of their computer and search indexes ten ways to Tuesday for names of interest, often making important discoveries just from the parental information in the index. If you wanted to dig deeper, you could then order copies of the actual records which might contain even more lost treasures. Over the past 5 years, I would guess that I've found 6 of my direct ancestors and 100+ aunts and uncles through JRI. There is simply no way these people would ever have been named without them.

JRI's Executive Director, Stan Diamond, and the Order Coordinator, Mark Halperin, are terrific and hard-working people, and doubtless are doing everything they can to either restore or restrike the deal with PSA. Every Jew researching roots in Poland owes them and everyone at JRI a huge debt.
As bad as this news is, everyone should remember that JRI's millions of records will continue to be available on-line. And keep in mind that the PSA records are only a fraction of the genealogically useful information out there. JRI will continue to index the copious non-PSA information that's available, adding to the database for years to come. JRI is still THE place to research for your Polish roots.
Please $upport JRI. This GREAT organization needs your help - now, more than ever.

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