What geographic areas does the SIG cover?
The Belarus SIG toolbar marked Communities section covers more than modern day Belarus. National boundaries in this part of the world have shifted over time. To recognize this reality, JewishGen assigns some areas that are in modern Lithuania and modern Latvia to Belarus. This includes parts of Vilna Gubernia and Vitebsk.
The dotted line is the modern boundaries. Note that Grodno, Vilno and Vitebsk and a small part of Polesie in Minsk are now in other Countries. Clearly marked are large parts of Grodno, Vilna and Vitebsk that are split off from modern Belarus. Smaller sections of Minsk and Mogilev are also shown. The modern Belarus map (right) shows the Region of Brest and Gomel (Homel).
Information about your Region and Town can be found on the Jewish Communities Database. Smaller villages and shtetls that do not appear in the Communities Database can sometimes be found in the JewishGen Gazetteer. The BSIG Communities pages list the Region/District divisions and major shtetl names. If you are curious, please watch this screencast (takes a few minutes to load). The Belarus SIG’s job is to identify towns that belong to modern Belarus. To enhance the ability of all researchers to find relevant data and to handle the problems of overlapping areas/borders, certain Belarus regions are included in the multiple JewishGen databases. For example, many bordering area records in Vitebsk and Vilna now apply to families in Belarus. In addition, JewishGen encourages SIGs to work together cooperatively. JewishGen’s objective is to generate databases that will be useful for all JewishGen researchers.