Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen on behalf of JRI-Poland
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s ancestral search, told in a new episode of NBC’s “Who Do You Think You Are?”, might not have happened if not for Jewish Records Indexing-Poland (hosted by www.JewishGen.org).
The next episode of the documentary series features Academy Award-winner Paltrow’s search. The U.S. born daughter of producer Bruce Paltrow ("St. Elsewhere," "The White Shadow"), her roots go back to a long line of rabbis named Paltrowicz from northeastern Poland and the towns of Suwalki, Lomza and nearby shtetls.
The show’s researchers were able to tap into JRI-Poland’s online database as the starting point in documenting Paltrow's ancestry. The website has 90 record entries for Paltrow's ancestors and the WDYTYA team said "JRI Poland is a wonderful resource for anyone researching Jewish Polish ancestry and was invaluable during the research for the Gwyneth Paltrow episode."
Founded in 1995, JRI-Poland was an outgrowth of Montrealer Stanley Diamond's need for access to Jewish vital records of the former Lomza Gubernia area of Poland for research into his family’s genetic history. Diamond is Executive Director and the organization has a global board, hundreds of volunteers serving thousands of researchers, funded by groups and genealogists around the world.
JRI-Poland is creating searchable on-line indices of Jewish records from current and former territories of Poland. The vast database of records going back to the late 18th century belies the misleading notion all the Jewish records of Poland were destroyed in World War II.
The searchable database has indices to 4.2 million records from more than 550 towns, with thousands added every month, vital records and censuses from the Polish State Archives and other sources both inside and outside of Poland. The database also includes army draft lists, cemetery burial indices, ghetto death records, birth, marriage and death announcements in newspapers in Poland, and more.
JRI-Poland has been recognized by the medical and scientific communities for the potential benefit for Ashkenazic families trying to trace medical histories, particularly those at increased risk for hereditary conditions and diseases. As a result of statistical analyses indicating a high incidence of medical and genetic abnormalities in individuals of Polish-Jewish descent, JRI - Poland is creating a finding aid for those who may need answers to medical-related questions or require bone marrow or other transplants. Because of this, JRI-Poland has received commendations from the Gift of Life Foundation and the National Marrow Donor Program.
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