Friday 2 August 2002
About a genetic disease of
Forverts (Yiddish Forward)
This is an English translation of the original article. Please click on
view the original.
The family photo (New York
City, 1925) includes many carriers of the Beta-Thalassemia
trait, descendants of the earliest known carrier, Herzk Tsvi
Widelec born 1785 in Ostrow Mazowiecka, Poland.
Toronto: Seven years ago, a businessman from Montreal, Stan Diamond, made an index from the Jewish records from the shtetl Ostrova (Ostrów Mazowiecka) in Poland, because he wanted to find the origin of a certain genetic trait passed to his family by his ancestors.BACK TO FEATURED ARTICLES
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Diamond's goal was a medical one, as well as a genealogical because he wanted to warn those who have the trait "Beta Thalassemia" about the risks; the children of a couple who have the same gene have a 25% change of inheriting the blood disease which results in death before the child is 20 years old.
Diamond traced his ancestors back to 1760 and warned even distant relatives who have the gene, about this disease. Then he decided to work on behalf of the Jewish population in general, originating in Poland.
With the help of genealogists Steven Zedeck from Nashua, NH and Michael Tobias from Glasgow, Scotland, he became the coordinator of the Jewish Records Indexing project for Poland. This project to date has already gathered 1,800,000 Jewish index entries from the 19th century.
The index is available on the Internet and is used by hundreds every day. The work of many volunteers is what makes this project available.
The records are all handwritten in Polish until 1868 and in Russian afterwards.
The computerized Jewish genealogical family catalogue (Family Finder) encompasses a list of family names and cities and is a result of the recent interest and popularity of Jewish genealogy. In the first (of 14) years of existence, there were 3,200 names on the list. The list in the last few years has grown to 60,000 people.
From the 4th to 9th of August, there will be an international conference about Jewish genealogy in Toronto with 800 to 1000 participants.
Copyright © 2002 by
Stanley M. Diamond.
All rights reserved.
Date revised: August 14, 2002