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Minsk 1889 Death Records

Donated to the JewishGen Belarus SIG by David M. Fox (source) and Vitaly Charny (translation)

· Introduction
· Record Format
· Acknowledgements
· Search the Database

This database contains information extracted from the 701 death records in the 1889 Jewish deaths register of the city of Minsk.


The original record book of the 1889 Minsk Death Records was found in a used book store in Minsk, Belarus.  The book was purchased by the JewishGen Belarus SIG's founder and former coordinator, David Fox.  He digitally photographed each page of the book and sent the images to Vitaly Charny, a SIG volunteer, who translated the Cyrillic portion of the record.

The Czarist Jewish death registers (as well as the birth, marriage, and divorce registers) were created by the official government rabbis ("crown rabbis") in two copies.  One copy was provided to the government, and the other was maintained by the Jewish community.

It was rumored that this 1889 death register was found in the attic of a building under renovation.  As with all Czarist-era Jewish metrical books, data was recorded in both the Russian language (using the Cyrillic alphabet) and in Hebrew (in the Hebrew alphabet).  The images that are linked to this file clearly show that the data was kept in both languages.  The Hebrew part of the records were not translated for this database.  It should be pointed out the given names on the Hebrew side may be different than the name recorded on the Russian side.

Record Format

The Czarist Jewish death records typically contain the following information:

  • Name of the deceased.  Surname and Given Name(s).
  • Father's Name.
  • Mother's Name.
  • Spouse — Given Name(s) and surname of surviving spouse, if listed.
  • Date of Death — Day, month and year of death, in dd/mon/ccyy format.
  • Hebrew Date — Day and month of death, according to the Jewish calendar.
  • Cause of Death.
  • Age of the deceased.
  • Place of death — Town, Uyezd (district) and Gubernia (province).
  • Place of residence — The town where the deceased resided.
  • Comments
  • Place Recorded — the town where the death was recorded.
  • Year — the year that the death was registered.
  • Record — the registration number of death (number is proceeded by "F" for female or "M" for male).
  • Microfilm / Item — the FHL microfilm number and microfilm item number, if a microfilmed record; or "Not Microfilmed" if not.

The column headings in the original czarist death registers (pictured above) are, from left-to-right:

  • Number — Sequential death number for this year.  Two columns: the first one is for females, the second for males.
  • Where died and buried.
  • Day and month (of death) — Two columns: Christian / Jewish.
    (Note that the "Christian" date refers to the Julian calendar).
  • Age (of the deceased).
  • Illness or cause of death.
  • Who died.

By clicking on the name of the person who died, you will be able to view the image of the original death record in the record book.


Thanks to Adar Belinkoff, Warren Blatt and Michael Tobias for formatting and creating the programming that allows users to link to the actual image of the record.

Searching the Database

This database is searchable via the JewishGen Belarus Database.

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Last updated: 27 Jan 2008, by WSB
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