The Belarus SIG has been successful in extracting and translating into English the entire remaining census forms for the Grodno gubernia. These records are located in fond 100 in the National Historical Archives of Belarus (Grodno). As far as we can discern, this is all that remain of the 1897 All Russian Census of 1897 for Belarus. While most of the records were destroyed, the remaining remnants provide valuable genealogical data for those who can find their families on the census records that we have accumulated. This census includes the place of birth, place of registration, along with the address and shtetl where people were living at the time of the census. In many instances these three locations are different for the same person in the census database. The information can provide insight on origination of families and help lead to other shtetls for you to research.
In addition to areas now in Belarus, the Grodno gubernia portion of the 1897 Census includes areas now in Poland - Bialystok, Bielsk, and Sokolka Uyezds. Among the three location columns referenced above, there are over 700 unique shtetls/towns, which can be viewed by clicking here. Please keep in mind that many of these shtetls are in locations throughout present-day Belarus, Poland, Lithuania, as well as other miscellaneous places. This data could be useful to people researching families outside of Grodno gubernia.
This database consists of 8,004 people with 1,800 unique surnames, extracted from the "All Russia Census" of 1897. You can see if your surnames are included by clicking here, If you have benefited from the translation of the 1897 All Russian census of 1897 in Belarus, we ask you to make a donation to the "Grodno Area Projects".
In 1895, the Imperial Russian government began planning a census of the entire Russian Empire. The actual count of individuals took place on January 28, 1897. Previously, tax registrations and draft registrations had been collected, but this census was different -- it was to be used only for statistical purposes. The primary purpose of the Census was to collect statistical information on the people of the Russian Empire. When the Census was set up, there was no intention to preserve the raw data relating to individual families and in most cases the original entry books were either destroyed, disposed of or simply not preserved, leaving the political turmoil and general upheaval of subsequent 20th century events to take their toll of this otherwise superb source. "The 1897 census had an ambitious intent: to document the entire population of the Empire and describe its associated characteristics on a single day. This [odnodnevnaya perepsis] would collect data on age, gender, literacy, nationality, place of birth, etc., for all residents irrespective of their social Estate or tax status. . . . Varying census forms were printed for what were considered the five principle groups of persons. Form [A] was for peasant households that resided on agricultural property; Form [B] was for landed Estates; Form [V] for urban populations; [another form] for the military population; and [the final form] for boarding students, clergy, wards of charitable organizations, etc." (Thomas K. Edlund, "The 1st National Census of the Russian Empire," FEEFHS Journal. volume VII, numbers 3-4, Fall/Winter 1999, Salt Lake City, Utah).
Latvia: The JewishGen Latvia SIG has translated some of the 1897 Census records for Latvia, at https://www.jewishgen.org/databases/Latvia/AllRussia.htm.
Lithuania: Howard Margol and Peggy Mosinger Freedman, for the American Fund for Lithuanian-Latvian Jews Inc., commissioned and donated translated 1897 census records at the Lithuanian State Archives in Vilnius, which can be found at https://www.jewishgen.org/databases/Lithuania/LithCensus1897.htm.
The entry fields are:
The database concentrates on the head of the family, his spouse and adult children, but does not record the full details of every family unit. Occasionally there is a record of younger children, but not all siblings are consistently extracted.
The original sources are in handwritten Cyrillic, although many of the names are clearly not Russian in origin. The movement of families within the Jewish communities can be seen in the wide range of names with obvious Polish, Russian and Yiddish origins. Spelling varies greatly, and transliteration of certain letters such as J, I and Y are often treated interchangeably. Also as H does not exist in the Cyrillic, it is translated as G.
Because the database includes information about where families originated, there are a wide range of geographic references. Where possible, we have endeavored to follow the JewishGen standard format of using the modern name of the shtetl or town, although it has not been possible to ensure that all place references reflect the most up-to-date names. When the transliterated name of the town did not fit any town in Where Once We Walked, or where there were only close matches, or where there were two towns that were spelled identically, no changes were made to the translator's original spelling. This was often the case of small localities. It was felt that without the original Cyrillic, it was best to put the translator's transliteration into the database. It is hoped the using the Daitch-Mokotoff system to search for names and towns, and alternative spellings, all records will match search inquiries. Researchers can investigate place name information further by using JewishGen's Communities, which provides a range of names, including the modern one, plus an online generated map.
The 1897 All Russian Census portion of the All Belarus Database currently contains a total of 8,005 records from the following locations in the Grondo gubernia:
|Uyezd||Town||Number of records|
|Kobryn||Vorotynska ( country)||2|
|Volkavysk||Maly Klepachy (country)||7|
© 2004 Belarus SIG