Beltsy Cemetery Project

Project Name: Beltsy Cemetery Project

Project Leaders:

Arkadiy Verzub, Yefim Kogan

JewishGen Liaison/Advisor:

Nolan Altman

Project Synopsis

The approximately 6,000 tombstones are in the new Jewish Cemetery of Beltsy, Moldova. All of them will be photographed and mapped by a team of Beltsy, Moldova specialists. About 25-30% of the gravestones will need some cleaning or/and painting of the inscription in order for the inscriptions to be readable.

Volunteers in the US and Israel will index all the graves and translate the text into English and the data entered into the template for JewishGen's Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR). The images and inscriptions will be provided to JewishGen so that researchers can obtain the information free of charge on JOWBR website.

Key Audiences

This project will allow Bessarabia family history researchers to create or fill gaps in their family trees and learn something about their families' Jewish heritage. Where vital records may no longer exist, cemetery records are often the only remaining evidence of a person's life.

Project Importance

The JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) is a searchable database comprised of individual burial records, tombstone photographs, and descriptions of individual cemeteries. At its launch in July 2003, JOWBR featured 643 cemeteries in 25 countries, with more than 300,000 burial records, and 11,000 tombstone photographs. New cemetery records are added to JOWBR on a regular basis. This project will expand the JOWBR database by approximately 6,000 tombstones.

Jewish cemeteries throughout the world are threatened with vandalism and even extinction. It is vitally important to preserve information about existing Jewish cemeteries so future generations will have the benefit of this aspect of our cultural heritage. In addition, for many Jews, knowledge of their family history perished in the Holocaust. In the 19th and 20th century Beltsy had a very vibrant and prominent Jewish community. Beltsy was known for its rabbinical families. Recently at the Beltsy Jewish Cemetery was found a grave of a prominent Rabbi Israel Ioffe, a tsadik and a grandson of Reb Shneur Zalman of Liadi.

Project Description

First the team will prepare the headstones to obtain the best images. Some of the headstones inscription will need cleaning and painting. Next the team will photograph the existing stones and map the location of each stone. After that all the mapping and photographs will be translated (by the volunteers) and entered into JOWBR template and finally integrated with the JOWBR database at

Estimated Cost

$450 for the phase 1, that includes $63 for money transfer from Beltsy Fund organization to a team which will work in Beltsy Moldova. ($45 takes Chase bank for wire transfer and $18 takes Beltsy bank in Moldova)


Photos from Beltsy Cemetery

Normal grave inscriptions
Normal inscription
Grave which need cleaning and re-painting
of the letters in dark or white color
before re-photographing again



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Updated 1 Dec 2011 by LA