For example: on a death certificate, the date, time, and cause of death are all likely to be reliable. Or at least as reliable as the medical profession was at the time. The reliability of the date and place of birth, or information such as the names of the deceased's parents, depends entirely on the informant.
The Central Database of Shoah Victims Names draws its names from three sources:
1.Pages of Testimony. These are one-page forms, submitted to Yad Vashem by survivors, remaining family members or friends in commemoration of people who perished in the Holocaust. The first 800,000 of them were collected in the 1950s, and the rest since. There are currently some 2,600,000 names on Pages of Testimony, written in about thirty languages and four alphabets.In my searches, most of the results appear to come from pages of testimony. How reliable are these? Well, consider the circumstances. You are a survivor of the Holocaust. A decade, two, three, or four afterwards you feel compelled to memorialize the names of your relatives and fellow members of your community who perished. The names you are likely to remember well. Names of parents? If its for a sibling, you will likely get that right. But for a cousin? It might depend upon how old you were at the time. Dates and Places of birth?
2.Historical documentation from the archives, such as the correspondence of the Nazi bureaucrats and their counterparts throughout Europe; personal documents of the Jews such as letters, passports, diaries and memoirs, as well as the documentation of the Jewish organs and institutions; lists detailing confiscation of assets, deportation lists or lists of victims; legal documentation from proceedings against Nazi criminals and collaborators, and much more. The documentation is in all European languages.
3. Local commemoration projects: There are dozens of local initiatives to record the names of the Jews from a specific region, country, or camp. Yad Vashem has joined efforts with these projects, and their results are integrated into the central database.
In some cases, all the record really provides for certainty is a name. But that is a name you can take to other websites such as JewishGen and see if you can find records to confirm the other pieces of information.
After looking at the records of Almasu/Varalmas I decided to do a search on some paternal ancestors. In particular, the Cantkerts (pronounced: Tsantkerts).
My second great grandparents Samuel and Rose (Cantkert) Newmark lived in Warka, Poland - on the outskirts of Warsaw. They left Poland in 1893 and after spending 15 years in England, finally settled in America. All I know for certain about Rose's parents are the names that appear on her death certificate: Hirsch and Bryna. How well did her son recall the names of his grandparents? He didn't get Rose's maiden name correct - he wrote it down as Sundberg. Luckily, the London birth records of his younger siblings led me to Cantkert. Are the first names correct?
I conducted a search at the Central Database for anyone with the name Cantkert. There were only slightly over 60 results, and I created an Excel spreadsheet of information from the records. Here's a table:
|Cantker||Feiga||Holtzman||Nisan||Pesa||1913||Siedlce Poland||Mendel||Yeshayahu Holtzman||Brother|
|Cantker||Noakh||Menashe||Braindel||1910||Warka, Poland||None||Yekhiel Vafel||Cousin|
|Cantkert||Fayga||1895||Warsaw, Poland||Deportation List|
|Cantkert||Frida||1939||Paris, France||Deportation List|
|Cantkert||Ita||1927||Paris, France||Deportation List|
|Cantkert||Paul||1933||Paris, France||Deportation List|
|Cantkert||Suzanne||1935||Paris, France||Deportation List|
|Cantkier||Yankiel||Meir||Hudes||1905||Warka, Poland||Tauba||George Cantkier||Son|
|Cantkier||Symcha||1919||Wolomin, Poland||Teiblum||Yerakhmiel Zholt||Cousin|
|Cantkier||Leja||Teblum||Leib||Ester||1919||Wegrow, Poland||Simkha||Yerakhmiel Zhulti||Cousin|
|Cantkier||Unknown||Symcha||Leja||1939||Wolomin, Poland||Yerakhmiel Zholt||Cousin|
|Feder||Reizl||Tzantker||Hersh||Breina||1885||Warka, Poland||Mordekhai||Tzipora Haus||Niece|
|Tantker||Josif||Shmuel||Riza||1921||Warsaw, Poland||Tzipora Haus||Cousin|
|Tantker||Sara||Hersh||Breina||1918||Warsaw, Poland||Tzipora Haus||Cousin|
|Tantker||Bronia||Khaim||Reizil||1913||Warsaw, Poland||Tzipora Haus||Cousin|
|Tantker||Khaim||Hersh||Breina||1892||Warsaw, Poland||Khaia||Tzipora Haus||Cousin|
|Tantker||Tzipora||Hersh||Breina||1920||Warsaw, Poland||Tzipora Haus||Cousin|
|Tantker||Neha||Khaim Shmuel||Khaia||1917||Warsaw, Poland||Tzipora Haus||Cousin|
|Tantker||Sofia||Khaim Shmuel||Khaia Roza||1915||Warsaw, Poland||Tzipora Haus||Cousin|
|Tantker||Yokheved||1910||Warsaw, Poland||Yaakov||Tzipora Haus||Cousin|
|Tantker||Yaakov||Hersh||Breina||1875||Warsaw, Poland||Tzipora Haus||Cousin|
|Tantker||Yaakov||Hersh||Breina||1910||Warsaw, Poland||Yokheved||Tzipora Haus||Cousin|
|Tantker||Reizl||Hersh||Breina||1923||Warsaw, Poland||Tzipora Haus||Cousin|
|Tantker||Zelig||Khaim Shmuel||Khaia Roza||1919||Warsaw, Poland||Tzipora Haus||Cousin|
|Tantker||Khaia Reizl||1897||Warsaw, Poland||Khaim Shmuel||Tzipora Haus||Cousin|
|Tantker||Zelda||Khaim Shmuel||Khaia Roza||1912||Warsaw, Poland||Tzipora Haus||Cousin|
|Zantker||Frida||Khaim Shmuel||Khaia||1918||Warsaw, Poland||Tzipora Haus||Cousin|
|Zantker||Sara||Lange||Khaim Barukh||Tzina||Bialobrzegi, Poland||Efraim Shafranski||Nephew|
|Zantker||Wolf||Bialobrzegi, Poland||Sara Lange||Efraim Shafranski||Relative|
|Zantker||Abraham||Warka, Poland||Efraim Shafranski||Acquaintance|
|Zantker||Nukha||Wolf||Sara||1930||Bialobrzegi, Poland||Efraim Shafranski|
|Tzandker||Yisrael||Yosef||Miriam||1907||Stanislawow, Poland||Hendel Ishlakh||Brother|
|Tzandker||Ester||Beniamin||Khava||1906||Stanislawow, Poland||Hendel Ishlakh|
|Tzandker||Khaia Sara||Yosef||Miriam||1908||Wolomin, Poland||Hendel Ishlakh|
|Tzandker||Dvora||Yosef||Miriam||1923||Stanislawow, Poland||Hendel Ishlakh|
|Tzandker||Asher||Yosef||Miriam||1920||Stanislawow, Poland||Hendel Ishlakh|
|Tzandker||Meier||Yosef||Miriam||1900||Stanislawow, Poland||Hendel Ishlakh||Sister|
|Tzandker||Tzipora||Yosef||Miriam||1900||Stanislawow, Poland||Hendel Ishlakh||Sister|
|Tzandker||Sabina||1915||Warsaw, Poland||Hendel Ishlakh||Sister-in-Law|
|Tzandker||Simkha||Yosef||Miriam||1923||Stanislawow, Poland||Hendel Ishlakh|
|Tzandker||Miriam||Khaim David||Rivka Matilda||1880||Stanislawow, Poland||Hendel Ishlakh||Daughter|
|Tzantker||Sara Khaia||Asher||Feiga||1927||Wyszkow, Poland||Ester Shmit||Sister|
|Tzantker||Miriam Doba||Yosef||60||Wyszkow, Poland||Ester Shmit||Granddaughter|
|Tzantker||Yisrael||Yosef Leib||Miriam Doba||50||Warsaw, Poland||Ester Shmit||Niece|
|Tzantker||Dvora||Yosef Leib||Miriam Doba||Warsaw, Poland||Ester Shmit||Niece|
|Tzantker||Asher||Yosef Leib||Miriam Doba||1890||Wyszkow, Poland||Feiga Vengosh||Ester Shmit||Daughter|
|Tzantker||Sara Khaia||Yosef Leib||Marise Doba||Warsaw, Poland||Ester Shmit||Aunt|
|Tzantker||Meir Yekhiel||Yosef||Miriam Doba||Wolomin, Poland||Ester Shmit||Niece|
|Tzantker||Simkha||Yosef Leib||Miriam Doba||Warsaw, Poland||Ester Shmit||Niece|
|Tzantker||Khana Lea||Asher||Feiga||1920||Vishkov, Poland||Ester Shmit||Sister|
|Tzantker||Levi||1907||Otwock, Poland||Tzipora Zilbershtein||Ofra Shaltiel||Daughter|
|Tzantker||1890||Otwock, Poland||Ofra Shaltiel||Granddaughter|
|Tzantker||Asher||Yosef||Miriam||1897||Stanislawow, Poland||Feiga Vengosh||Ester Shmit||Daughter|
|Tzantker||Sara Khaia||Asher||Feiga||1921||Wyszkow, Poland||Shmuel Shmit||Sister|
|Tzantker||Khana Lea||Asher||Feiga||1918||Wyszkow, Poland||Ester Shmit||Sister|
Survivor, Tzipora Haus, remembered several cousins with parents named Hersh and Breina. However, the birth years ranged from 1875 to 1923. This is unlikely, unless there were at least two couples with the same names. This isn't impossible. My second great grandmother is thought to have been born in 1865, so only Yaakov (1875) is a likely sibling. [And Tzipora submitted two pages of testimony for a Yaakov son of Hersh and Breina. The other had him born in 1910. Which recollection of hers was correct, or were there two Yaakovs?]
One thing this search revealed is that most of the names don't have a final 't'. Even though I conducted the search on "Cantkert" the database was smart enough to realize that "Cantker" and its phonetic variants were synonyms.
When I checked at JewishGen I learned their search engine wasn't that flexible, and a search on Cantker revealed a few more entries my earlier searches missed. Including a Rajzla (Rose?) Cantker born in Warka in 1870. If my second great grandmother was actually born in 1870, she would only have been 13 when her eldest child was said to have been born in 1883. That borders on the unlikely, but we don't have a birth certificate for her eldest child. Her second child is supposed to have been born three years later in 1886, and her third child is supposed to have been born in 1889. There is certainly some flexibility here to allow for an 1870 birth. [Especially if that's just an 1870 registration of birth, and the family waited to register her, as was sometimes the case.] So this is a record I am definitely going to try to obtain.