¶ 1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 I ended up with a total of some three hundred pages of well-structured record summaries as MS-Word documents, covering the period from 1604 to 1745. The percentage of missed records cannot be estimated. The translation from old German into current English introduced further noise. The degree of subjectivity, introduced by not having set criteria for the selection of records to be transcribed and by the act of summarizing, cannot be estimated. Similarly, it would have been preferable to separate the step of transcription from that of translation. For practical reasons, Mr. Wollmershäuser was not able to transcribe all the records in one continuous run. Instead, he sent a number of parcels, often months apart and not necessarily in chronological order, over a period of three and a half years, thus complicating numbering and the assembly of information. The amount of accumulating data precluded manual analysis by spreadsheet. It became necessary to develop proprietary software.
¶ 2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 The collected data listed a series of dated events and situations involving named individuals. Unfortunately, Social Insurance numbers had not yet been invented in the seventeenth century. Nor did most people carry distinctive family names for the first half of the investigated period. Even the common name for a given person varied greatly, depending on period and recorder. Jews spoke a dialect that differed from that of the local officials. While most Jews were literate in Hebrew, few could write or spell in German. The oral transmission of names added another complication; in the documentation Jewish names were largely spelled phonetically.5
5Mordstein, Selbstbewusste Untertänigkeit, 101.