Belarus SIG Newsletter

Issue No. 2 - February 1999

More Records Uncovered in Minsk Archive

by David M. Fox

I just received the latest issue of AVOTAYNU - the International Review of Jewish Genealogy" (Vol. XIV, Number 3, Fall 1998). There are a number of very informative articles of interest to the Belarus SIG members in this issue and I would strongly suggest you subscribe to this publication if you have not done so already.

In this message, I will only talk about the article by Vlad Soshnikov titled:

"About the Russian Archivist's Soul"

and only the portion that deals with the Belarus archives.

In July 1998, while Mr. Soshnikov was doing some work in the Belarus National Historical Archives in Minsk, he discovered some new records, which have not been previously made known to the Jewish genealogy community. Because of copyright restrictions, I can not duplicate the list, but will try and summarize what he found in some old big volumes which only had a "general description" of the volumes.

Among the records that Mr. Soshnikov found in Collection #2151 of the Mogilev Treasury were Revision (census) Lists and alphabetical lists of Jewish town dwellers in a number of gubernia, districts, towns, and shtetls:

  • Mogilev Gubernia
  • Bykhov District
  • Gomel District
  • Rossasny, Goretzky District
  • Liadny, Goretzky District
  • Kopys, Kopys District
  • Klimovitchi & nearby towns, Klimovitch District
  • Mogilev and Mogilev District
  • Shklov, Mogilev District
  • Dubrovka, Orsha District
  • Goretsky & Savsky, Orsha District
  • Dubrovensky, Orsha District
  • Liadny, Orsha district
  • Bayevsky & Rossasinsky, Orsha District
  • Rogatchev District
  • Cherikov, Krichev & Molostovitchi, Cherikov District
  • Mstislavl and Mstislavl District
  • Khoslavitchi, Mstislavl District
  • Monastyrschinsk, Mstislavl District
  • Kasimirova Sloboda, Mstislavl District
  • Tatarsk, Mstislavl District
  • Kadin, Mstislavl District
  • Shomov, Mstislavl District
  • Zakharin, Mstislavl District

While not all locations noted above have lists for all years, the following years are represented:

  • 1816
  • 1831
  • 1852
  • 1858
  • 1867-69
  • 1873-79
  • 1881-86

In addition to the above Mr. Soshnikov also found Collection #330 of the Minsk City Government for Town Dwellers. It contains a family list of Jewish towndwellers of Minsk in 1894 (884 families). These names were translated from Russian to English and appeared in the RAGAS Report.

A recent breakthrough in my own personal family research has emphasized the importance of information that can be extracted from the Revision Lists. This past week I received a translation from the 1811 Minsk Revision List (this is one that has been filmed by the Mormons) with the entries for one of my surnames (TSIVIN). Although this Revision list only has males, it provided me with four new generations that I was able to link to by previous research. I now have the name of my ggggggg grandfather born about 1730. I would expect that Revision Lists from other years will provide additional names (male and female) to add to my tree.

As you can see from this message and previous postings, more and more records are being uncovered all the time.

For those of you who have reached a roadblock in your research: Never give up the search!

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