Your Quick Tips

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This week’s tips include using the Ranked Search usng only a given name, help for large photo-scanning projects and the benefits of searching Jewish bulletins online. Thanks to all of this week’s contributors! 


Try Ranked Search Using Given Name Only
You have tried Ranked Search with the Soundex option on and still can’t get a hit. Try omitting the last name from a single record search. You may be surprised. I have found ancestors that were indexed in error as Rucks and other similar names.

Jack Lucks
Fort Worth, TX

Scanning Large Groups of Photos
We have just completed two separate projects of scanning snapshots from albums and envelopes that spanned more than 100 years. The objective was to produce slide shows where the pictures can be displayed on TV as read by a DVD player. This necessitates sorting them into date sequence in order to assemble them in a meaningful manner and zero in on any given period desired. The difficult part was that there were various books sometimes covering the same dates. The key to success is how each picture is named. Each picture becomes a separate file and each file must have a unique name. The name uses this format: 1949-10-15+123.

“1949″ = year 
“10″ = the month (October)
“15″ = the day of the month
“+” proclaims the end of the date sequence
“123″ is a sequential number to differentiate between any other picture that may have been taken on 1949-10-15.

Scanner software requires that you assign a name to the documents being scanned. Most software would likely expect multiple documents so they automatically should index the sequential number after each document is scanned. Thus, if you start with a name of 1949-10-15+123, the next picture will be suffixed as 124, then 125, etc. We set up folders for all the years involved. As the pictures were scanned they were directed to be saved in the proper year’s folder. This way it is not necessary to physically sort the pictures before scanning; they fall into sequence automatically. So pictures that are added from a different album or another envelope days later still seek and find their correct position. Viewing the folder for any given year finds that all the pictures are in date sequence, which provides a chronological sequence of events in your life!

Sylvia Jardine

Search Jewish Bulletins Online
Many synagogue bulletins, Jewish Community Center bulletins, and Jewish newspapers are online and list life-cycle events such as yahrzeit anniversaries, baby namings, bar and bat mitzvah announcements, and wedding announcements. At least once a month I do a general search for the names of my ancestors. This is how I connected with a distant cousin who lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A baby announcement in the Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle mentioned that her granddaughter was named in memory of her maternal great-grandmother, Viola Nius. I have also discovered the date and place of death and place of burial of her grandmother, Fannie Nius, who was also my grandfather’s sister-in-law, because of the announcement of Fannie Nius’ yahrzeit in the bulletin of a synagogue in Pennsylvania. Because Fannie Nius died when her own children were very young, the only thing this cousin had known about her grandmother was her name.  

Beverly Cohen
Atlanta, GA

6 thoughts on “Your Quick Tips

  1. Given name searches can also be used to find possible spouses for female ancestors. For example, searching for a given name in census records for the same or nearby county where the person was last recorded reveals possible married names. That information may lead you to the supporting documention you need.

  2. Good suggestion for scanning and labeling large groups of photos. I use a date-oriented system like Sylvia, but I put a name or description after the date and number, so that there is some identification of the picture other than just when it was taken.

  3. A given name search may also reveal something completely unexpected, knocking down a brick wall in the process! In my case, searching for a family of seven people, it revealed a complete change of surname between 1851 and 1861, which I have since found much other supporting evidence for — and looks like it explains the lack of a burial record for my gggrandfather, because it now seems he was probably buried under his baptismal name and not the one he was going by at the time!

  4. Am I missing something from J Lucks’ comment? Omitting the first letter of the last name or the whole last name?

  5. im looking for jack b berry .birth record .1937 he mearried my mother in1958 in pensaocla fla firforce.he got out in gabriellie berry he my father i need help. my email thank you

  6. answer for Pamela H’s query:

    leave out the entire last name (leave the surname field blank)
    only fill in the first/given name field

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