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:

  1. Links to websites with information related to the gubernia
  2. A list of the uyezds (districts) within the gubernia
  3. Links to websites with information related to each uyezd
  4. Links to “Belarus City” Information on current towns in the districts of Belarus
  5. A link to JewishGen’s Jewish Communities for major towns within a District


Within each gubernia were several uyezd, or districts. A list of all of the uyezds within a gubernia can be found on the individual gubernia pages (Grodno, Minsk, Mogilev, Vilna, and Vitebsk).

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:

As you can see, there is a considerable amount of information available for each shtetl.