Writings and Photos > Genealogy

Many [genealogy researchers] have expressed confusion regarding whether a description of a vital record is an index entry, an extract, or a translation. An index entry simply identifies the principal party or parties of the event and the record (akta) number. In very rare cases, the index will identify other information about the people involved. Typically the vital event registers were indexed at the end of each year.

An extract consists of certain important fields of information extracted from the original record. Typical fields for extraction include name(s), parents, ages, towns of origin, occupations.

Translations are word for word translations of the original record from one language to another, preserving every detail described in the original document.

The birth record of Feiga Dobra Rutman, from the Jewish Civil Register of Radom, Poland, 1862 akta #321, illustrates these three issues.

321 Rutman, Feiga Dobra

father: Sumer Josek RUTMAN, teacher age 22
mother: Szandla MANELA, age 18
child: Feiga Dobra

It happened in Radom on the sixteenth/twenty eighth of October in the year eighteen sixty two at three o’clock in the afternoon. Appeared Sumer Josek Rutman, teacher, of the village of Zamlynie, municipality of Radom, twenty two years of age, in the presence of the witnesses Chil Abrament, forty five years in age, and Mosek Finkielsztejn, sixty years in age, both assistant melamdim residing in Radom. And he showed us a male child born on the fifth/seventeenth day of September of this year at eight o’clock in the morning, of his wife named Szandla Manela, eighteen years in age, whom in religious ritual was given the name Feiga Dobra. The delay in registering the child was caused by the father, in order to obtain evidence of marriage. This document was read to those present and signed. The father was incapable of writing.
/Signed/ Chil Abrament (Polish signature)
Mosiek Finkielsztejn (Polish signature)
President of the Office of Vital Statistics (Polish signature)

The translation of the full document provides additional information. Not included on the extract are: date and time of birth, witnesses, description of the delay in reporting the birth, etc.

Additional notes:
• The mother’s age is erroneous. Her birth was recorded in 1852 in Checiny, making her 20 years old. This is quite common.
• The document is in error. Really it was a female child.
• Sumer Josek Rutman was not illiterate, just not secularly educated. He signed his 1859 Checiny marriage registration, in Yiddish, but at this time in Radom a Polish signature was required.

Index vs. Extract vs. Translation

Methodology article on Polish Jewish genealogy
Published in The Kielce-Radom Special Interest Group Journal, Autumn 1998