Allen Halberstadt, We Salute You!
January 2012 - Allen's interest in documenting Jewish cemeteries was first motivated by his search to find the burial place of his infant twin sister, a sister he didn't know about for most of his life. He used what he learned from that experience to ensure that genealogists across the globe are able to access their ancestors' Toronto burial
For several years, Allen volunteered on the Cemetery Committee of JGS Toronto, indexing and photographing tombstones. When he began, he discovered that frequently no records existed, cemetery maps were inaccurate, and cemetery staff had no time to assist him.
Starting with minimum information, he walked the cemeteries, row by row, collecting tombstone data and taking photographs. He recorded the information in his database, and labeled and organized the photographs. He used the data to create maps of several cemeteries, and trained other volunteers. He checks the daily obituaries for information to keep the databases up to date.
As of this writing, Allen has documented all burials at two Toronto cemeteries and is personally responsible for uploading data on 40,000 burials to JOWBR. To date, JGS Toronto has uploaded 70,000 records to JOWBR, as a result of Allen's leadership.
As the chair of the Cemetery Committee and a member of the Executive Committee, Allen has been instrumental in developing a master plan for documenting all of Toronto's Jewish cemeteries.
We enthusiastically salute Allen for his dedicated work, as this information is invaluable to researchers and families who are seeking the whereabouts of their deceased relatives in the Toronto area.
We encourage other member organizations to replicate Allen's work for the benefit of the greater Jewish genealogical community.
Bill Israel, Chair IAJGS Salutes Committee
with Nolan Altman and Doris Nabel
Nominated by The Jewish Genealogical Society of Canada (Toronto)