Belarus SIG Newsletter

Issue No. 3 - May 1999

David M. Fox, the Belarus SIG Coordinator

Letter from the Belarus SIG Coordinator

David M. Fox

At the beginning of June, The Belarus SIG had more than 600 members, an increase of more than 130 new members since January, that is an increase of more than 25%! The more members - the more we will be able to achieve. So please tell your family and fellow researchers about our SIG and suggest that they join: JewishGen Special Interest Groups (SIGs) - Subscription Form.

The discussion group activity has been increasing and we are fortunate to have so many knowledgeable participants who are able to help some of the newcomers. One example: At present there is an interesting thread about the routes out of Belarus that might give some new clues as to where to look for the point of departure from Europe for ancestors.

Our Belarus SIG website is still growing - thanks to our webmaster, Risa Heywood, and our many volunteers, who are doing a magnificent job.

New on the website is:

  • Mogilev Birth Index for Boys, 1864-1894
  • New Holocaust Section - see Belarus Resources
  • Minsk Gubernia Adminstrative Divisions - 1901
  • and much, much more...

So if you have research interests in Belarus, you should explore the Belarus SIG website as well as the JewishGen website. You might find answers to many of your questions by following the many links of these websites.

Translation of the Senno 1861-64 Birth Records: Bernard Dickman is still looking for some more people with research interests in Senno to help fund this project.

Our Belarus SIG online newsletters (BNL) have been receiving rave reviews and I want to thank Elsebeth Paikin and Bryan Polikoff for making this newsletter such a success. In addition, I would like to thank all the people who contributed material for the BNL.

In an effort to make the BNL available to Belarus researchers, who do not have access the web, Elsebeth and Mario Kampel have found a way that allows those of you with web access to print out the newsletters (including the back issues) using Acrobat Reader, which is available at no cost (link to URL). The option will be available very soon, and Elsebeth Paikin will send a message to the discussion group, when it is ready.

Please take a few minutes to print out copies to bring to your local JGS meetings and share them with those who are not online.


The 19th Annual Conference on Jewish Genealogy - August 8th - 13th, 1999, in New York City

First of all don't miss:

Monday, August 9 (schedules are subject to change):

  • 9:30 - 10:45: Oleg Perzashkevitch of the Minsk Historical Genealogy Group speaks on Jewish Genealogical Records in Belarus
  • 12:30 - 1:45: 2nd Annual Meeting of the Belarus SIG.
    I hope to get the opportunity of meeting many of our members - both those who attended the meeting last year in Los Angeles, and many of our new members. It is important for the future of the Belarus SIG to get feedback, new ideas, suggestions etc. So do come!

These conferences provide an excellent opportunity to learn more about genealogy research, to research records in the numerous archives and libraries in New York, and most import to network with fellow researchers. Please check out the conference website and make your reservations now to attend this wonderful happening.


ShtetlSchleppers Trip

August 12, 1999 - following the New York Conference - I will be leading a ShtetlSchleppers Trip to Belarus. And in September Risa Heywood, our webmaster, will be leading another trip. The trips will provide an opportunity to visit your ancestral shtetls, take photographs, visit the archives, and gather genealogical data.

It will be exciting even thrilling, certainly with a strong emotional component, very probably heart wrenching and heartbreaking, but culminating in a feeling of accomplishment, satisfaction, and perhaps even a sense of peace. That which the holocaust destroyed for so many of us, will to some degree live again because of what we will be doing together.... Preserving our history for future generations.

The ShtetlSchleppers Trips are JewishGen projects requiring the cooperation and collective energy of JewishGenners as we all embark on this journey of a lifetime.

Remember, the central purpose of these research trips is to focus on record acquisition and the creation of a photographic means for the benefit of JewishGen and which can make information available worldwide. Because this is an educational trip with donation of information gathered going to JewishGen, a 503 (c) (3) organization, most of the expenses for the trip may be tax deductible according to some tax advisors.

I hope that on the return from this trip to Belarus in August, we will be able to share with you a lot of acquired information, photos and travel experiences.

Information about travel in Belarus can be found in Frank Swartz' letter.

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