The Importance of Using Tools

I know I’m fortunate in that I have access to lots of databases through subscriptions, databases that I’ve purchased or for which I’ve made contributions to obtain,  and also because of a lot of volunteer work which I do.  I just wanted to get that out of the way.

One of the databases I have from a European city, came with an index.  That’s right, someone made a handwritten index of all the vital records over a 75 year period listing the page and record number for births, marriages and deaths.  I have pored over that index countless time, finding lots of birth, marriage and death records, which included the deaths of my great-great-grandparents, and my great-grandfather; and the births of my grandfather and many of his siblings.

A lot of these records have now been translated, transcribed and indexed and are searchable through the JewishGen databases.  On the heels of the excitement of finding my great-grandmother’s sister in Montreal, I decided to give the digitized index, which for this city is pretty new, a look.

Amazing stuff.  The original index is organized by the name of the person who was born, married, divorced or died.  It is not indexed or cross-referenced by any other names which might appear in a record.  Major reason to consult on-line resources IN ADDITION TO, definitely not instead of, original documents.

Today I found some pretty interesting stuff.  One of my great-grandmothers’ sisters was divorced after the birth of her first child, remarried and had 3 more children.  Her ex-husband also remarried and had several children with his new wife.  Then, in May 1891, he left Europe for Montreal.  I don’t know if he returned, or if he stayed in Canada.  Still researching that.  That’s of interest because I now know that another sister of my great-grandmother’s went to Montreal.

All of this caused me, once again, to go back and examine documents I haven’t reviewed in a long time.  In 1956, one of my great-grandmother’s nephews in Israel wrote to my grandparents in New York, referring to his two children who were still in Romania!

Obviously, there is more work to be done!

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