Dick and I joined 20 other members of the Fairfax Genealogical Society for a research trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City November 10-15, 2013. It's reputed to be the largest genealogical repository in the world.
There were several reasons that I was interested in the trip:
- The library staff includes records experts who can speak Polish, German, Swedish and Norwegian. Their assistance in finding and interpreting non-English language records is free.
- The library houses images of Polish Jewish birth, marriage and death records that can be found only here and at their original site in Poland (See jri-poland.org for indexes and more information.)
- Many New York City birth, marriage and death record images are here, available for free rather than the $15 vital records fee from the New York City Municipal Archives
- It's fun and motivating to pursue one's genealogy goals, share information and research tips with like-minded researchers. We know that we're a tad bit obsessed; there's comfort in like-minded company!
1. 2nd great grandfather Isaac Helburn's 1868 naturalization document from New York. Genealogists always prize an original signature.
4. Polish Records: Zweighaft and Sachs/Saxe/Sax
Napoleon implemented extensive civil registration of births, marriages and deaths in the Duchy of Warsaw in 1808, after his conquest of this area. These wonderful narratives, written in Polish, are rich in content often listing occupations in addition to parents' and witness's names.
My initial intent was to locate Polish birth and marriage records for great grandfather Simon Zweighaft. However, after extensive searching both at Salt Lake and afterwards, the very helpful Polish researcher, Maria, was unable to find anything for Simon from Pilica or Gostynin. One Zweighaft record we found was for Abram Maier Zweighaft, b. 1845 in Kozienice, the same year as Simon's birth, but the relationship to our family is not established. It's quite interesting as the index record, shown first, lists the Germanic spelling of the name, Zweighaft, whereas the full record uses the Polish spelling, Cwajghaft.
The researcher explained that the father would come to report the birth of the child, bringing the child with him. She marveled at the detail of the record and provided this translation (11 Nov 2013):