JewishGen Belarus Special Interest Group
Frequently Asked Questions

What is Belarus SIG and what are its goals?

The Belarus Special Interest Group (SIG) is part of JewishGen, Inc., an affiliate of the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.

The Belarus SIG was formed in 1998 by a group of JewishGen members with roots in Belarus in order to facilitate the gathering of resources and facilitate family research. Its continuing purpose is to combine the resources of time, expertise and money to aid Jewish genealogy researchers. As one of the oldest Special Interest Groups we have pioneered researcher interaction to bring about gathering resources, the translation of publications and microfilmed vital records, found record groups and the uploading of these documents to the JewishGen All Belarus Database.

In order to publicize the work of the Belarus SIG and to connect researchers the SIG assists people in the search for their Jewish family history in Belarus. Through the Belarus Discussion list serve, yearly Bird of a Feather meetings at the IAJGS Conferences, and assignment of town coordinators, encouragement through creation of Belarusian Kehila sites, we strive to open up the life and times of Jewish Belarus.

What areas of present-day Belarus does the SIG cover?

Belarus SIG covers all or part of the following provinces: gubernias (provinces) of Grodno, Minsk, Mogilev and Vitebsk, as well as in the Lida and Vileika uyezds (districts) of the Vilna gubernia. Please see “What geographic areas does the SIG cover?

How do I contribute information or volunteer to help?

Belarus SIG is run by volunteers. We need volunteers for a wide variety of tasks. Some work requires language skills. Other work requires just persistence and enthusiasm. If you would like to share your information, resources, skills, or time, please contact the Help Desk.

If you have technical problems with the website (broken links, etc.), please contact our Web Manager.

What is the Belarus SIG Mailing List, and how do I join it?

The Belarus-SIG Mailing List is one of many JewishGen Mailing Lists. Here is how you subscribe:

  1. You must first Login to JewishGen. If you are not yet registered with JewishGen, click the “new user” link under the sign in boxes. Once you are signed in you will be on JewishGen’s Mailing List page.
  2. On the Mailing List page, scroll down to Belarus SIG and click the Subscribe button.
  3. Fill out the subscription form.

You will have several choices for managing your subscription. For example, you can choose to receive messages as they are sent, or you can receive all messages for the day in a "digest" at the end of each day. You can change your choices at any time by editing your subscriptions.

JewishGen maintains Archives of past messages. If you wish, you can search the Archives to see if your question was asked and answered in the past. Search hints and a search form are available.

Where do I find the Donor and Volunteer Forms?

When you contribute data, images, stories, or time-and-effort to JewishGen, you must fill out a Donor or a Volunteer form. The JewishGen Donor Agreement can be used for all materials you send to Belarus SIG. It is a simple one page form that gives JewishGen non-exclusive rights to the material you submit.

The JewishGen Volunteer Agreement can be used for all projects organized by Belarus-SIG. One Volunteer Form will cover all of the projects you work on for us, so if you are ready to volunteer now, but still trying to figure out how you can help, just fill in First Assignment as “Volunteer for Belarus-SIG” and being supervised by the Belarus-SIG Coordinator. If you know a particular project that you’d like to work on, you can note that project and the name of the person running the project.

How can I create a KehilaLinks page for my ancestral town(s)?

JewishGen’s KehilaLinks Project provides a place where people can commemorate their ancestral towns. JewishGen has developed an InfoSheet, “How to create a KehilaLinks website”. JewishGen KehilaLinks Owners also may be Belarus SIG Town Leaders.

How do I know which Belarus SIG projects I should join?

Please go to Belarus SIG’s Projects page. There you will find a list of the many ways you can contribute to the SIG’s work.

Keep in mind that most of Belarus SIG’s projects are town-specific (or, more generally, geographic-specific). Check our Current Projects List. Select "All" for each option on the search form and leave the Keywords box blank. Also check the Gubernia for your town(s). If you do not see a Project that interests you, contact the Help Desk, who will work with you to find a project that matches your skills and interests.

I still have questions about Belarus-SIG. How do I proceed?

If you still have a question, contact the Help Desk, who will figure out the best way to help you.

I still have questions about JewishGen. How do I proceed?

The JewishGen FAQ will answer just about any question you have about JewishGen. If you still have questions after reading the FAQ, post a message on the Mailing List. Someone is sure to respond with the answer you need.

How can I contribute money to Belarus SIG?

You can donate money to Belarus SIG or to a specific Belarus SIG project on the Belarus SIG page at the JewishGen-erosity website.