Over the years I’ve spend researching Homestead’s Jewish residents and businesses, I’ve collected an enormous amount of data about this community. I’ve transcribed synagogue records from the Rauh Jewish Archives, read through miles of newspaper microfilm, and pinned thousands of genealogy records to my tree. I’ve collected real estate records from downtown Pittsburgh, tax records from Harrisburg, business records from the Library of Congress, bankruptcy records from Philadelphia, and on and on and on.
I created Homestead Hebrew Data not only to organize all this data in one place, but also to make it possible to analyze it to answer questions about the community for which there is no other historical source to rely upon.
Currently the database includes tens of thousands of records that I have collected, carefully tagged by me with the thousands of Jewish Homesteaders they mention. But more than my gonzo efforts at data wrangling, I am most proud of the unique software I created from scratch to manage all these people and all their records.
I presented an early version of this project to the Family History Technology Workshop in 2017. After a couple more years of data collection and processing, I’m ready to starting presenting some of the insights I’ve gained into the community. I’ll be presenting my initial findings at the Personal Digital Archiving Conference in May and the Internal Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies Conference in August.
You can read more about my ultimate goals for the database and my reflections on the first few years of the project.