Volunteers of the JGSCO have provided online access to over 22,000 Jewish burials in 19 cemeteries throughout Colorado; 18,000 include a photograph of the gravestone. Entered into the JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry, JOWBR is a database of names and other identifying information from Jewish cemeteries and burial records worldwide. JOWBR's aim is to catalog extant data about Jewish cemeteries and burial records worldwide. Some photographs of the gravestones (matzevot) are included in the database.
The database entries usually consist of the cemetery name, surname, given name, date of death and/or burial and when available, plot location, birth date, birth place, death place, Jewish date of death, age, Jewish name, spouse’s name, father’s name, mother’s name and any other genealogically relevant data available.
The Colorado portion of the project was begun in 2003 by Ellen Shindelman Kowitt. She began by documenting information from the Golden Hill Cemetery in west suburban Denver. Terry Lasky took over the project in 2004 and completed the documentation of all Jewish cemeteries and Jewish sections of non-sectarian cemeteries in the state of Colorado. The information for the Colorado burials consisted of plot location, surname, given name, death date, and when available, Jewish name, Jewish date of death, age, spouse’s name and parents names. A picture of the gravestone also accompanied each Colorado burial entry.
The information was collected in a variety of ways. The cemetery or synagogue in charge was contacted in order to provide a written listing of all burials. This was supplied in computerized form, handwritten on paper or on 3x5 cards. A few cemeteries had no recorded information at all. The data was taken from these records and entered into a master Excel spreadsheet. Each cemetery was visited in person where photographs were taken of every gravestone. The visibly inscribed information on gravestones was combined with the written cemetery records and entered into the master spreadsheet. Volunteers then translated Hebrew or Russian inscriptions and incorporated that into the record as well. The final spreadsheet and gravestone photos were submitted to JewishGen for inclusion in JOWBR.
The project was then expanded to include Jewish burials in neighboring states where additional volunteers were enlisted. The project was completed in 2009 when all Jewish burials in Utah, New Mexico, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Kansas, North Dakota and South Dakota were added to the database. The final total completed by volunteers of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Colorado was over 90 cemeteries with 60,000 burials and 35,000 gravestone photos.
Read a 2006 Intermountain Jewish News article about this project.
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