Minsk City Homeowners List, 1889 and 1911
This database contains extracted information about nearly
9,000 homeowners in the city of Minsk, transliterated from two
Russian guidebooks to the city of Minsk, for 1889 and 1911:
The 1889 Minsk City Homeowners list that appeared in the book
Spravochnaya Kniga i Sputnik po Minskoy Gubernii
(Information Book and the Guide to Minsk Gubernia) issued in Minsk
in 1889 and compiled by Izrail Abramovich Bomshtein.
To see a sample page from the 1889 book,
The database contains 3,316 entries of homeowners in the town of Minsk,
both Jews and non-Jews. Approximately two-thirds of the entries are
Jewish names. On most streets in Minsk, both Jews and non-Jews lived
side by side.
The 1911 Minsk City Homeowners list that appeared in the book
Ves' Minsk ili Sputnik po g. Minsku (The Whole Minsk or Guide
to the City of Minsk), 1st edition, by S. M. Yakhimovich, published in
Minsk in 1911 by Electric Typography of S. A. Nekrasov.
To see a sample pages from the 1911 book, click the following:
Table of Contents,
Sample data page,
The 1911 list contains 5,608 entries of homeowners in the town of
Minsk, both Jews and non-Jews. The majority of entries are Jews,
but the percentage of Jews is less then in the 1889 list.
The later list reflects the population growth in Minsk because of the
development of industry and the railroads, as well as the expansion
of government jobs. This attracted masses of former peasants
searching for new opportunities.
During a visit to Minsk in August of 1999, David Fox purchased
copies of the pages (129 to 233) from the 1889 book, and pages from
the 1911 book, which included the Minsk Homeowner's Lists.
The books were located in the Minsk Public Library with the
assistance of the Minsk Historical Genealogy Group.
It is not known what information is contained in the other pages of
the 1889 book, but it is unlikely that they include homeowners from other
shtetls in Minsk gubernia. We will attempt to get the rest of
the pages of the book and incorporate the information in this database
at a later date. While pages for the 1911 book other then the
homeowners list were obtained, they were not translated nor included
in this database. These pages included narrative information
as well as business advertisements.
Column headings in the database are:
- Surname (All surnames are given in masculine singular
form, for better understanding).
- Given Name (Full name was recovered in most of the cases,
where they were shortened).
- Patronymic (Patronymics are given in masculine and feminine
forms, plural form changed to singular. Where they were shortened,
Vitaly expanded them in most cases, but the gender form remained:
- masculine: -ov/-ev or -ovich/-evich
- feminine: -ova/-eva or -ovna/-evna
Short form (-ov[a] type) and long form (-ovich/-ovna type) represented
the same name).
- Street or Neighborhood (Under term "neighborhood" there
are several Russian terms, not in use in modern administrative dividing)
- # (street or house number) when there was no number in
the source document, "##" was put in the column.
- Comments (sometimes indicates where there was a business
at the location or in some cases "heirs of").
- Year (to distingish the 1889 or 1911 list).
There are a few abbreviations that the translators cannot figure out yet:
"n. ya." and "k. k." It is possible that the beginning of the book,
which we donít have yet, may have explanations of these abbreviations.
However, they are included in the database.
In the "Comments" column there are some entries with
"heirs of person in first three columns".
In this situation, it indicates the unnamed heirs of the person is
living in the house and the person in the first three columns was
likely to have been deceased by 1889.
Other entries of the name of the person living in the house indicated
in the first three columns have the name of the deceased person in the
The 1889 data uses the term "neighborhood" in place of several Russian
terms, not used in the modern division of administrative land areas.
"Urochshche" – is a place different or separated to some extent
from the surrounding landscape. "Sloboda" – a quarter in
suburb, mainly with population occupied in the same trade, etc.
All these conglomerations were included in the growing town of Minsk,
but they didn't get street names by 1889. Vitaly checked with
1911 Minsk Homeowners List and the number of streets doubled.
There were several streets with the same name. For them Vitaly
added chast # (chast &ndash part of the city – refers to the
same Police Office). If the streets were in the same chast –
he added (1st), (2nd), etc. It is especially confusing for
Bezymyanny Street, which means "Nameless Street".
The house numbers as used in this database are different from the
way house numbers are generally used today. In 1889, the number
was not the real mail address of the home, but just a number in order
of how houses stood. Some of them match home the number of the
1911 Minsk Homeowners List. Vitaly compared with 1889 List with
the 1911 List, when home numbers were already in place and one side
of the street had even numbers and another odd numbers (again not always,
but in most cases).
Real home numbers were in the same sequence and direction as numbers
of 1889. However, looking ahead – some of houses had
no number at all in 1911. They had "-" instead of a number.
Vitaly first thought that it referred to the previous home number in
the list (big house with several apartments may belong to several people),
but there were cases when the list for a street began with several
entries where home number is "-".
Based on Vitalyís experience in philately, he knows that home numbers
were not in use in most cases for mail delivery in the beginning of 20th
century and weren't mentioned on mail addresses on cards and envelopes.
Only big apartment houses (that were absent in Minsk) used it on regular
basis. In most cases, addresses was written like this:
"Minsk [gubernskiy], Moskovskaya Str. House of Rabinovich, to
Mr. A. B. Tsivin".
To get the most benefit from this database, users should search on
the surname first and determine the street or neighborhood.
You should then do a search on the street or neighborhood to find
other surnames of people who lived there. This may provide
information on family members with different surnames due to name changes
caused by the marriage of female children. When doing a search
on a street, you may notice that Jews and non-Jews owned property
on the same street.
The JewishGen Belarus SIG is very appreciative of the efforts of
Vitaly Charny to organize and edit the transliteration of this database,
and to Vitalyís parents, Josif and Fira Charny, who transliterated
the data and entered it into a spreadsheet. The SIG would like
to thank Warren Blatt for editing the database introduction, and
Michael Tobias for providing the search engine for this and other
databases. We would also like to thank JewishGen for providing
the server that makes this database available to genealogists.