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Gesher Galicia Interactive Data Maps Project

Nadwórna 1847 house 341
Data for two successive owners of house 341 on the 1847 data map of Nadwórna, revealing its transfer from private hands to the town's Jewish community.
This section of the Gesher Galicia Map Room brings together data from several separate Gesher Galicia research projects into interactive historical maps which combine archival records – both graphical and textual – to help family historians locate their ancestors' houses and businesses during the Austro-Hungarian era in the former Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria. Each of the historical maps presented here is overlaid on a high-resolution current satellite image of the same place, so that approximate locations of past buildings and land parcels can be identified in the modern settlements.

The project is the result of a multi-year collaboration between Gesher Galicia and skilled genealogists working individually or as part of historical research groups focused on specific towns in Galicia. More information is given below about what is presented in the data maps, how to use them, and the origins of the project.

Data Maps

The maps linked here are the result of the pilot phase of the Data Maps Project:

Summary of the Project Elements

Each of the data maps in this project brings together three kinds of data:

Skała 1862 historical and satellite maps
Comparing the 1862 cadastral map of Skała (left) and the modern Bing satellite image (right), aligned and overlaid in the Skała 1862 data map.
The historical maps are part of Gesher Galicia's long-term Map Room project to digitize and assemble high-scale Austrian imperial cadastral maps of Galician places relevant to Jewish and other family historians. For more information about Galician cadastral maps, see the Reference section in the Map Room and browse the hundreds of assembled maps on this website. The historical paper maps, some of which are nearly 200 years old, are preserved in archives in the lands of historical Galicia, i.e. southeastern Poland and western Ukraine.

Modern aerial (satellite) images of former Galician villages, towns, and cities from web mapping services are shown here as a background onto which the historical map is scaled and aligned, using persistent natural and manmade features such as rivers, roads, and significant buildings which have survived largely unchanged over one to two hundred years. The Bing web mapping service (part of a Microsoft service framework) was used in the pilot project due to the high quality of aerial images covering former Galicia and because of relatively simple use rules for non-commercial purposes. The opacity of the historical map layer can be varied using a slider in the map window to reveal the modern settlement below, which enables locating past buildings and more in the modern place, and also permits a visual evaluation of stability and change in the settlement during the many years since the place was surveyed for the map.

Chyrów 1853 property data
1853 Chyrów property data for Feige Rottmann in the All Galicia Database.
Place-focused individual and team family history researchers gathered historical text records data from a variety of archival and other sources, then indexed the data and organized it by location – either house number (an address) or building parcel number (a tax identification number). Many of the records used in this project can be searched using Gesher Galicia's large All Galicia Database (AGD), but other data can be found in inventories and indexes of records held at national and regional archives and libraries, in family and personal files, and through ordinary internet searches. The essential record feature for these interactive maps is that all data must be tied to a place (a private home, or a community building or land parcel) through some form of number or annotation which appears on the historical map.

The data map then uses JavaScript programming elements to import the tabulated geographical and records data and place color-coded dots at identified locations on both the historical map and the satellite image base layer. Each dot can be clicked to reveal historical records data associated with a place, and the entire data set can be searched for matching information such as a name or house number. Searches can be broad or narrowed by category such as family event (birth, marriage, death), property ownership, year, etc. While browsing the map or searching and studying, the map can be panned and zoomed to focus the area of study. The following section describes using the data maps in more detail.

How to Use the Data Maps

Skała 1862 data map zoom and opacity
Two views of the zoom-in and zoom-out buttons at upper right of the view window on the Skała 1862 data map, and with the opacity slider in two different positions.
Even before exploring the linked historical records information, the data maps are useful for their interactivity (panning and zooming) and their scaled and aligned placement over a modern satellite image, which is revealed using a control slider for variable map opacity. These common web map controls are similar to those found on other web maps (Google, Bing, OpenStreetMaps), so a little experimentation will reveal which of the optional control methods work best for you:

Chyrów 1853 dot colors
Some of the location dot colors seen in and around a Jewish cemetery on the Chyrów 1853 data map.
Many map locations with recognized house numbers and/or parcel numbers (for private or community buildings, and for community land, i.e. cemeteries) are identified with a small dot. The colors of the dots represent the type of place:

Skała 1862 data map zoom and opacity
Clicking the green dot at building number 324 on the Skała 1862 data map shows its approximate GPS location and reveals that it is owned by the Skała Jewish Community, perhaps as a synagogue or for a related purpose.
The known records linked to a specific place on the historical map can be revealed by clicking on the dot at that location. Clicking a dot enlarges the dot to confirm which place is selected, and launches a pop-up window which lists all the known records tied to that place. Typically the header of the records window reports the location's house number, building parcel number (if known), and the approximate GPS coordinates of the dot (which is usually slightly offset from the center of the place so that the house or parcel number can be read). Linked records are then listed in chronological order, by records type and with available indexed data on the following lines.

In many cases the records window can be large, and will cover areas of the historical map which may be important to the researcher. The records window can be click-dragged around the map view window to reveal other areas of the map, or (when there are many records linked to the selected place) more of the records list. If you wish to copy part of the records data for pasting into another application, you can click the "Drag" button at the upper left corner of the records window to turn off dragging and fix the window in place, and then highlight sections of records text to copy. Releasing the records window so it can be dragged again is also easy: just click the "Drag" button at the upper left corner to return to the normal "On" mode. The records window can be cleared by clicking the X at the upper right corner of the window, or by clicking a different dot on the map to select another location.

search bar
The map search bar, simple (top) and with categories (bottom).
At the upper left of the map view window, there is a search tool tailored for genealogy records research with a focus on geographical location. Simply entering a term in the search bar without specifying a search category will return all matching entries in the linked data; text terms primarily return names, and number terms primarily return house and parcel numbers. This is a simple search engine which ignores letter case ("A" and "a" are equivalent), and it does not allow wild cards; a search for "stein" will return both "Rothstein" and "Steinmetz" if both are in the linked data.

Clicking the "Search category ▼" button reveals more than a dozen filters which can be applied to search terms to narrow the returned results of the search. You can select more than one simultaneous search category. Clicking a selected category again will clear it, and you can clear all selections by clicking "All" twice. As for any search engine, trying different search terms and filters can help find the results you are looking for.

The results of a search are listed in a box below the search bar; if no matching records are found in the linked data, the results box says "NO MATCHES". Matching records are reported as hyperlinks to locations on the historical map. Clicking any listed record centers the map in the view window on the dot which represents the location of the data, enlarges the dot to highlight it on the map, and attaches all of the linked data for that location to a pop-up window for review.

An important note: Sometimes the search results can seem confusing, because the search tool cannot intuit what the records mean – it only reports what is listed in the records data, so users must explore and analyze the data themselves to understand the meaning. Normally, a search for a surname will return every mention of that name in the data, tied to the houses where the records were documented and the types of records where the name appears. But sometimes (and for some kinds of records, often) the record type and the discovered surname don't seem to match. Even so, clicking on the house number link in the search results will usually explain how the data does in fact match.

Skała 1862 map search results
Search results (left) and the pop-up data window (right) on the Skała 1862 data map.
For example, in the first image at right, a search was made in the interactive data map of Skała (1862) for the surname Krentner. In the search results box, we see a single result and link for house number 64, with the notation: Birth 1886 Henie Krentner. This doesn't mean that Henie Krentner was born in 1886 in Skała; it only means that Henie Krentner is listed in an 1886 birth record in Skała. Clicking the house number link in the search results will provide the relevant record data to explain what this is. As seen in the second image at right, in the pop-up window there is geographical data about the house followed by four records tied to that location. The last of these shows how Henie Krentner is linked to this house: she was the mother of Srul Aron born there in 1886, and she was the wife of Dawid Nagler; if the birth was recorded in the civil registry, Srul Aron would be given the surname Nagler, but that surname was not listed in the birth record. The key result here is that a search for the surname Krentner found Henie and brought us to this record which links the Krentner and Nagler families.

If you are looking closely, you will also see that the Krentner family had been associated with house # 64 in Skała for at least six decades. The name is noted in records beginning in 1828 as Kraytner, Krantner, Kreuntner, and Krentner, all normal variants of the name as was common in Galician records for more than a century.

A brief illustrated example (below) may help explain the search, click, and discovery process, but users are encouraged to experiment with any map which interests them. If at any time you get "lost" in the map or in a search effort, you can restart simply by refreshing the map page with your browser controls, which will clear all settings and selections and recenter the map zoomed out to the overview.

A Search and Discovery Example

original Glanzberg property record
A sample original property record for this example; this data is indexed on the All Galicia Database.
This process example uses the Rohatyn 1846 interactive data map; you can follow the process using the same map or any of the current data maps. Here, we will search for the surname "Glanzberg"; the Glanzberg family was known to have been resident in Rohatyn in the 19th and 20th centuries, and there are Glanzberg descendants today who trace their roots to Rohatyn. The research questions are:

In the first screenshot below, the search category of "Surname" has been selected, and the name "Glanzberg" has been entered as a search term. Clicking the Search button gives the results listed in the box below the search tool. The results include property records, vital (metrical) records, and voter records, all linked to locations on the historical map. The notation "H#" represents house numbers, and "BP#" represents building parcel (property tax ID) numbers; on this field sketch map, building parcel numbers are not shown, but a property register acquired by Gesher Galicia includes the data which links house numbers to building parcel numbers for the 1846 survey year, and that data is linked to this map.

search bar
The results of the initial search for the surname "Glanzberg" in Rohatyn records data.

The blue house numbers and building numbers in the search results box above are hyperlinks; clicking any one will focus the map on the selected location. In the second screenshot below, the first entry in the search results has been clicked, centering the map on house 45 in Rohatyn. Anker Glanzberg is listed as the house owner in 1846, but other records tied to the place suggest that Glanzberg families may have owned house 45 for only one generation, or less.

search bar
House 45 highlighted on the Rohatyn map, with a long list of indexed records data for that location presented in the pop-up window.

What about other Glanzbergs; where did they live? Clicking the different search results hyperlinks shows that Glanzberg families lived in several houses not far from each other on the west side of the market square in Rohatyn; two of the houses were in fact next door to each other. Clicking the dots on nearby houses reveals who the Glanzbergs' neighbors were at different points in time. As seen, the chronological listing of records data also gives clues to the mobility of families in this town across the span of time which the linked records cover.

Other searches will lead to different kinds of discoveries, and as for any genealogical research, also to new questions and puzzles. By focusing on place as a research tool, the data maps can create new avenues of research, and give a perspective not available from text records alone.

About the Project

original Glanzberg property record
Pamela Weisberger, z"l.
Cadastral maps and their related property registers were a particular passion of Gesher Galicia's past president, Pamela Weisberger. Pamela realized before many others that cadastral maps could provide genealogists with new kinds of information and new ways to look at the past through the medium of historical geography, which placed ancestors not only in time but also in place, sometimes very precisely. She also appreciated and promoted historical cadastral maps as the beautiful face on highly refined Austro-Hungarian survey science and administration. During her term as president, she developed cadastral maps and records as a significant research arm of Gesher Galicia, spurred the creation and development of the free online Map Room, and personally directed the organization's historical maps research for several years.

Unfortunately, Pamela passed away before her dream of integrating many types of family records with cadastral maps could be realized, mostly due to technical limitations within Gesher Galicia's research budget. In a partnership between her family, individual donors, and Gesher Galicia, the Pamela Weisberger Memorial Fund was created to fund projects in her memory, particularly those in which she had a special interest. Software development for the Gesher Galicia Data Maps Project was one of the first initiatives to be funded to support contract specialists and volunteers through a pilot phase of four data maps.

The data maps project builds on ongoing relationships between Gesher Galicia and historical archives in Poland and Ukraine, as well as the Map Room's current preparation and assembly processes for scanned original archival cadastral map sheets, including many of the software tools which create the Map Room functionality plus some specially created to search and present data on the maps:

The following people worked through the development and pilot phases of the data maps project, either as contractors (programming) or as volunteers (programming and all else):

See the individual map project pages (linked in the data map descriptions) for more information about the specific graphical and text data in each map, known issues, and the town research team which created the linked data for each map.

Gesher Galicia is a non-profit organization carrying out Jewish genealogical and historical research on Galicia, formerly a province of Austria-Hungary and today divided between southeastern Poland and western Ukraine. The research work includes the indexing of archival vital records and census books, Holocaust-period records, Josephine and Franciscan cadastral surveys, lists of Jewish taxpayers, and records of Galician medical students and doctors - all added to our searchable online database. In addition, we reproduce regional and cadastral maps for our online Map Room. We conduct educational research and publish a quarterly research journal, the Galitzianer. Gesher Galicia is also organized for the purpose of maintaining networking and online discussion groups and to promote and support Jewish heritage preservation work in the areas of the former Galicia.

You can search our free All Galicia Database, Map Room, and archival inventories, and read about member benefits starting at $50 per year. You can also join online.

Our general contact address: info@geshergalicia.org