Bessarabian Newspapers from 1850s to 1940

Project Leader:

Yefim Kogan

JewishGen Liaison/Advisor:

Nolan Altman


Project Synopsis

There are a number of newspapers which were published in Bessarabia, Russian Empire in the 19th century through 1917, and in Romania from 1917 to 1940, which contain information about Jewish life in the province.

Here is a list of newspapers from which we could derive information: Bessarabian Provincial Gazette, Universal Illustration, Bessarabian Men, Bessarabian Life, Southern Region, The Friend, The Banner, Free Bessarabia, and many more. Most of the newspapers are written in Russian, with some in Romanian or Yiddish.

Many records could be derived from these newspapers. For example: a list of Kishinev Jews subjected to conscription, published in Bessarabian Provincial Gazette of 1884; articles about famous Rabbi Abram Katlovker, hereditary honorary citizen who died in 1907. There are many business articles in each newspaper, with information on Jewish business, Jewish theaters, actors traveling to the region from other part of Russia and Europe, etc. Newspapers also contain death announcements, marriages, etc.

Alla Chastina, a genealogist from Kishinev who presented at the 2014 IAJGS Conference in Salt Lake City, brought some samples to the conference and presented to a group of researchers there.


Key Audiences

This project will allow Bessarabia family history researchers to fill gaps in their family trees and learn something about their families' Jewish heritage. The newspapers will provide an important additional resource.


Project Importance

The project will provide many new records, such as: conscription records, lists of students in Jewish schools, merchants in different towns, Rabbis, etc. It will also open a new sphere of understanding Jewish life in Bessarabia, with cultural information about Jewish theaters, actors, etc.


Project Description

The copies of the newspapers will be ordered at the National Archive of Republic of Moldova, and Alla Chastina is helping to facilitate this.

After the images of the newspapers arrive, the JewishGen Bessarabia SIG will create teams of translators with strong Russian language skills, who will go through newspapers creating excerpts from articles, filling tables with Jewish records of any kind. We will start with Russian newspapers, and with the oldest papers published in the 1850s.

The resulting data will be added to the JewishGen Romania Database and JewishGen Ukraine Database, and be searchable via those databases.


Estimated Cost

The cost of a newspaper for one full year is going to be $30-$35. That may include between 700 and 1,000 images.

The first orders will go for several years for a number of newspapers – a total of 5 years – at a cost of $150-$175.

Depending on the speed of translation, we will order more newspapers, probably every year or so.



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Updated 6 Nov 2014 by LA