May I add a dedication to my ancestor?
What is the cost to add a dedication?
You may add as many dedications as you want, at no cost -- within reason, our resources are very limited. Contact the webmaster.
How do I contact the webmaster?
Click on the contact link in the Masthead, at upper left of each page.
Where is my favorite page?
Why did you re-arrange the web site and make <something> harder to find?
A: You are probably asking about Version 1.0 of the site. It was replaced by Version 2.0, which included a cross-reference from the old site. That's all ancient history, so the copies of the Version 1.0 pages cross-reference have all been deleted.
What happened to the Guest Book that was on the old web site?
A: It has been deleted as secondary to the goals of our Group. If there is a strong reason to reinstate it, we can.
What happened to the page for Pinsk (or another town) that was on the old web site?
A: Some found places mentioned on the old web site were simply far outside the Brest region. We would rather do a better job on fewer communities closer to Brest City, so we've eliminated some of our former coverage. In every case, we've made an effort to make certain no material was lost.
Don't you know that the plural of shtetl is shtetlech?
A: Yes. It is clear that shtetls is a neologism that forms the plural of a Yiddish word with an English suffix. With apologies, this coined word is commonly used and universally understood in the English-speaking world. On this site, we'll try to use the proper Yiddish significantly more often than the common term. In some cases, shtetls simply works better, even if it is incorrect and/or informal. One reason for using shtetls is technical: there is no easy way to italicize this word in some places -- specifically, in the navigation menu.
Don't you know that the plural of Landsman is Landsleit?
A: The plural of landsman is landsleit, and both words ought to be italicized as Yiddish words inserted in English text. There are currently technical limitations that discourage using italicization in some places. It is clear that Landsmen is a neologism that forms the plural of a Yiddish word with an English suffix. With apologies, this coined word is commonly used and universally understood in the English-speaking world. On this site, we'll try to use the proper Yiddish significantly more often than the common term. In some cases, Landsmen simply works better, even if it is incorrect and/or informal.
Where are the quotation marks?
A: Using quotation marks on web pages is somewhat discouraged, so we often use italics instead.
Why are the maps and photographs so small?
A: Most of the graphics immediately visible on this web site are thumbnail images, intentionally small so they don't overwhelm the textual material. Smaller images are also quicker to download to your computer. Visitors using slower Internet connections will benefit. The site includes larger sizes of almost all images, which you can view by clicking on the smaller thumbnails. Visitors using a slow connection can use the site without paying for the transfer of large images, except those they specifically request to see.
How do I recognize that I can see a larger size of an image?
A: We've placed a thick blue border around all images which can be enlarged simply by clicking on the thumbnail image. Your browser may add additional cues, such as changing the cursor when it is over such an image. For example, the default cursor on the current Firefox browser is an arrow, which changes to a pointer-finger when you place it anywhere on an expandable graphic.
Why don't you remind me to click on the thumbnails to see a larger version?
A: Placing a note like Click on any image to a large version near every image complicates the pages without adding much value. If this is a problem for a significant number of viewers, we'll try to figure out a better alternative.
Why can't I see a larger version of <this photo>?
Why does a new window open with a photo that's the same size?
Unfortunately some photos were supplied only in the thumbnail size. You can't see larger versions of some photos because none are available.
Why do some larger versions of photos open in a new window, and others don't?
A: Our intention is that all larger versions you may want to study in context of the original page will open in a new window. If this hasn't been accomplished consistently, it's because it's a tedious job to adjust this correctly for something like 500 small+large pairs on the site. Also because it isn't always easy to distinguish what should open in a new window, and what need not.
Why do some pages open in a new window, and others don't?
What happened to the old site's method of opening every new page in a new window?
A: Our intention is that all pages on our site open in the same window. We found the method used in the prior site of opening every page in a new window confusing. On the other hand, off-site references --pages on other web sites-- should open in new windows, as a way of reinforcing the fact that they are elsewhere. If this hasn't been accomplished consistently, it's because it's a tedious job to adjust all the links on the site.
Why is the regular text used on the pages pages so small?
A: We've chosen a compromise size that's large enough for many visitors. Today's browsers provide the means for expanding the size of ordinary text on any web page, and that's the best method for supporting the widest variety of visual abilities. Check the Help for your browser. If you can't make sense of that, contact us, letting us know the name and version of the browser you are using, also the operating system you are using (e.g. MacOS 10.4 or Windows XP). We'll do our best to help you, but we can't guarantee a happy outcome, especially with older or less-known browsers.
Why is <this page> all messed up?
Why didn't you make certain all pages display properly on my browser?
A: It's difficult to know unless you tell us the identity of the page, the name and version of the browser you are using, and also the operating system you are using (e.g. MacOS 10.4 or Windows XP). Browsers often display web pages differently. One browser may display a specific page perfectly, while a different version of the same browser may display a distorted page. Commercial web sites have the resources to test web pages on many different browsers. In our case, there's just one person doing all the web work, so extensive testing is just not possible.
Why is <this text> all messed up?
A: At present, this site is written primarily in English. Text in other languages (for example, Polish or Russian) may not be displayed correctly because we don't understand fully how to present multiple languages on the same web page, because of settings or problems in your browser or operating system, or some combination of these.
What's all this stuff about version or release?
It's just a tekkie (technical expert's) way of distinguishing new from old. The materials making up this web site are surprisingly extensive. Without some technical means of organization, it would be easy to get really confused. Most of that is hidden from visitors to the site.
Why did you remove direct email links from the entire site?
What's with the email form?
This is a privacy and anti-spam measure. (See this introductory article about spam; and another article from the makers of the canned meat product of similar name.) Web sites such as ours are incessantly scanned by spammers looking for usable email addresses. They harvest email addresses from web sites and then send spam messages to them; they also sell the addresses to other spammers. As a result of this, the Internet is flooded with spam. The email links on the V1.0 site are completely unprotected from being harvested. In addition, visitors contacting you can see your email address, which may be a privacy concern to some of you.
I am not receiving much spam these days. Why make life more difficult for me?
You might not actually receive much spam today, but spammers are constantly adjusting their methods. If spammers are unusually clever tonight, your in-box may be filled tomorrow. The spam messages you don't see still consume resources and may be keeping the cost of your Internet service unnecessarily high.
Will the new method for handling email stop all the spam I'm receiving?
No such measures provide absolute security. In general, the more drastic measures usually involve more inconvenience for ordinary users. The new measures are intended to make life a little more difficult for spammers and privacy-violators, while having a minimal impact on people doing genealogy work on our site.
Why are some of the Random Photos distorted?
Because your webmaster hasn't taken the time to adjust those images to the small size you see. Use the Contact link at top left to remind the webmaster -- be sure to record the caption below the picture and send that along.
Why are some captions below the Random Photos so strange?
Each photograph is referenced behind-the-scenes by the name of the computer file that contains the image. The caption you see is derived from that name -- some technical stuff is automatically eliminated before you see it. In many cases the file names are quite informative about the content, and so the caption is, too. In other cases, the file names aren't really very helpful. Yes, probably, these should be revised, but it that will require a significant amount of effort. If you feel strongly about this, volunteer to help! No technical skills necessary.
Can I see a larger, clear version of a particular Random Photo?
Why are there two web sites?
Sure, but you'll have to find it yourself. Yes, there should be a way to view full-sized images of each randomly-displayed photo, but making that possible will require a significant amount of effort. If you feel strongly about this, volunteer to help! No technical skills necessary.
What is the difference between brest-belarus.org and the Brest-Belarus Yahoo Group?
When this organization was started, there was no easy way of maintaining an ordinary web site and a mailing list on the same web site. Yahoo offered mailing list services, plus a private web site with built-in security, which provided a method of keep some material private within the group membership. Now, years later, this can all be done on one web site, but it is difficult to consolidate the material from the Yahoo Group, specifically, the large message archive: some 1800 messages dating back to mid-2004.
Why is there interest in keeping some material private, within the group?
First, to protect personal privacy of members and living descendents. Material on ordinary web sites is visible to essentially everyone in the world. That is wonderful for our visibility, but some people might not want their names or information they consider private quite so visible. Second, on a restricted-access site, we can share material that is protected by copyright. There's no restriction on sharing material privately.
What is the Brest-Belarus SIG?
SIG stands for Special Interest Group. It seems that was adopted early in the history of the group, but an additional designation wasn't needed. Our name is simply Brest-Belarus Group.
Are these question really frequently-asked?