Rzeszow research group meeting in Chicago

Continuing to focus on interactions at the conference directly relevant to our search (as opposed to sessions and discussions that were merely interesting), I'll mention the Tuesday morning meeting of the Rzeszow Research Group.

First of all, 20 lashes with a wet noodle — I need to work on my Polish pronounciation. It is voiced something like zhe-shov—there is not 'R' sound at all. Marian Rubin, the helpful leader of the group who had recently supplied me with photocopies of some of our Ringel birth records, teased me good-naturedly about my typical newbie's error.

She introduced me to Eden Joachim, a leader of the JRI-Poland SIG (later I learned also of the Litvak SIG) who was JRI-P's liaison to the Rzeszow group. Also in attendance were a dozen or so others with family from the town, including several members of the extended Reich family who produced famous relations both in Rzeszow and in the U.S. (one example is former Cabinet secretary Robert Reich).

Also in the meeting was Logan Kleinwaks, whom I wrote about in an earlier post. In conversation, Logan said he had some Ringel members from a nearby town in his family, so I will want to follow that up later. Also, on the Reich thing, I didn't remember until later that Schija Ringel's mother had the maiden name Reichman. I wonder if there is a connection.

The meat of the meeting was Marian's report, with frequent amplifications from Eden, on the status of Rzeszow records availability. The gist is this: I probably have all the birth and death records that are available, but there is a slew of census data from various 18th, 19th and 20th century years that should contain Ringel family information.

There is a very formal process for obtaining the census data supplied usefully in the from of Excel spreadsheets, and it involves money—$180 to be precise—to be paid to JRI to fund the various indexing projects that it manages. That is separate from a mandatory contribution of $150 to obtain 20th century vital records that are available but are of limited interest to us at this time.

I certainly don't begrudge JRI's contribution policy and completely understand the logic behind it. I'll just note that of all the SIGs I have encountered, JRI is the most formal and organized in its pay to play policy. It should be said that it is also the biggest and probably most accomplished of all the JewishGen SIGs.

And, yes, I do want to get my hands on that spreadsheet. I guess my $180 check will be on the way soon.