Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Opening a Time Capsule

We spent a week looking for our grandmother's birth record. We know she must have been born, but there does not seem to be any evidence of the event. Our grandmother had always told us that her birth was never registered. It's a woman's prerogative to not reveal her age, but eliminating all evidence of her birth from her town records seems to be going too far. We were excited when the Jewish records from her town in Galicia were indexed and the index and records were placed online. We searched the index, hoping that her story was wrong and that there was a record of her birth. We found her siblings, but no grandmother. We went a step further and manually searched the online records, page by page, for the possible years of her birth. Our grandmother was still absent. Instead of finding her, we found a time capsule version of the world she was born into. Names, occupations, places, signatures, handwriting, and language all tell us a lot about her neighbors. Compared to some of the other towns we've researched, there was more variety in the last names. That tells us that it was a larger town with more mobility. Occupations included a lot of doctors and lawyers. People in the records came from many towns, telling us that this was a growing town. Signatures were mostly in the Latin alphabet, compared to Yiddish. That shows a level of assimilation. The handwritings of the records keepers were ornate. The records were written in Polish. This gave us a feel for the cosmopolitan city she grew up in. We have not found her record yet, but we haven't given up. We did learn more about her childhood, an excellent addition to all of the stories we heard growing up.

Jacobson and Jacobson Genealogy Researchers
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