I have a vague idea where the family came from, but do not know the name of the town. What can I do?
The Belarus SIG website has information at various levels.
At the highest level is the gubernia, or province. The website has information on five gubernia: Grodno, Minsk, Mogilev, Vilna, and Vitebsk. Each gubernia has its own web page, and contains the following information:
- Links to websites with information related to the gubernia
- A list of the uyezds (districts) within the gubernia
- Links to websites with information related to each uyezd
- Links to “Belarus City” Information on current towns in the districts of Belarus
- A link to JewishGen’s Jewish Communities for major towns within a District
If you know the name of the uyezd and the gubernia, then search the appropriate gubernia page, looking for shtetl names that may sound familiar.
If you know the name of the uyezd, but do not know which gubernia it was in, then use the JewishGen Communities. On the left side of the page is a column labeled “uyezd”. Click on the first letter of your uyezds name, and you will then see an alphabetical list of all uyezds that start with this letter, and also an alphabetical list of shtetls within each uyezd. Search for your uyezd, and then look at the shtetl names for one that may sound familiar.
The shtetl was the home of our Jewish ancestors. If it was a Jewish village, it might be called a Shtetlach. The JewishGen Communities Database contains information on over 2000 shtetls.
Once you have located your shtetl, and enter its name, you will see a web page that has the following information:
- The name of the shtetl, its uyezd, gubernia, latitude, and longitude.
- Links to the JewishGen Family Finder for this town.
- A map, as well as other shtetls in the vicinity.
- A link to the JewishGen Belarus Database for this shtetl.
- A link to the Routes to Roots Foundation Archive Database, which contains a comprehensive list of archival holdings for Belarus, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, and the Ukraine.
- A link to the United States Holocaust Museum Research for this town.
- Links to a list of available Yizkor books for this town, and also links to translated Yizkor books.
- Links to information about this shtetl.
- Links to information about the uyezd (district) that the shtetl is in.
- Links to information about the gubernia (province) that the shtetl is in.
As you can see, there is a considerable amount of information available for each shtetl.