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!