The BMPM Soundex is a method for deciphering all the varied spellings of Eastern European names – for towns and for people. Obviously, I’m a novice researcher, but it’s already clear to me that archivists need to codify all these different spellings so they can effectively manage the data of the various lists and databases they use.
According to the BMPM Soundex, the name Schwarz (German) could also appear as:
- Schwartz (German alt spelling)
- Schwartz, Schvartz, Schvarts (Anglicized)
- Szwarc (Polish)
- Szwartz (German-Polish)
- Svart (Romanian)
- Svarc (Hungarian)
- Chvarts (French)
- Chvartz (French-German)
There is also the Russell Soundex (NARA) system of codification. In this, as in the Daitch-Mokotoff, it assigns number codes to letters so that, for archiving purposes, names such as Scherman, Schurman, Sherman and Shireman and Shurman are indexed together as NARA Soundex Code “S655”.
The Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex is a phoenetic algorithm created by genealogists, which is a refinement of the Russell Soundex. It is complicated. Ack.
Obviously, I have a lot to learn about soundex’ and algorithms. But back to Bischoff/Bushof, Bushoff/Bischof, Poland.
According to the Miriam Weiner Foundation Town search, the winners of the Bischof sound-alike contest are as follows:
- Bischofsburg (Present-day Biskupiec region of Poland) According to Wikipedia, from 1862 until 1945, it was the seat of Landkreis Rößel, from 1871 part of the German Empire.
- Bishev/Byshev/Byszow/Byszew (Present-day Makarov region of Ukraine) According to jewua.org, it is a historic town that became part of Russia in 1793.
Backing up, characterizing Bishof as part of Poland is fuzzy thinking. I should probably forget about ‘Poland’ and just look at the town name. Having little to go on, I’m guessing Byshov is the winner, for the following reasons:
- Strong Jewish community, 780 Jews in 1864, around the time Nana Esther’s parents were born
- Documented pogroms in 1919! Nana spoke of pogroms threatening her hometown and this approximate date sounds about right, as she would have been 17 at the time, her sisters a bit older. I do not know her actual birthplace, but I don’t believe it was Czernowitz. She told me that she was born in Poland, so I’m guessing she lived in Bischof