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Minsk Surnames Database

Index of Surnames appearing in the Jewish Vital Records of the city of Minsk, microfilmed by the LDS Family History Library

Compiled by Vitaly Charny

The Jewish vital records for the city of Minsk, currently stored in the Minsk Archives in Belarus, are just a small part of the records that were originally created.  During the 20th century, Minsk suffered from wars and revolutions.  During WWII, the city was almost totally destroyed by bombardment and fire.  The limited Jewish vital records that did survive the devastation were microfilmed by the Mormons (LDS) and are available at the LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and via all LDS Family History Centers.  They can be found on the following LDS microfilms:

        Town       Record Types  Years          Microfilm #
        ~~~~       ~~~~~~~~~~~~  ~~~~~          ~~~~~~~~~~~
        Minsk      B             1840, 1847     #1,920,793
        Minsk      B             1852/1869      #1,920,794
        Minsk      B             1882, 1895     #1,920,795
        Minsk      B Doc         1899-1907      #1,920,793
        Minsk      BMD           1836/1839      #1,920,792
        Minsk      D             1840, 1846     #1,920,793
        Minsk      D             1861           #1,920,793
        Minsk      D             1861           #1,920,794
        Minsk      M             1857           #1,920,794
        Minsk      School        1906-1916      #1,920,793
        Minsk      V             1840           #1,920,793

        B = Births,  D = Deaths,  M = Marriages,  V = Divorces.

The birth records of 1836-1838 appeared as one set with visible division; however, only part of the 1836 records is included.  Death records of 1861 appear as two copies on two different microfilms.  The records of 1900-1917 are just small sets of birth certificates and school report cards.  For more information see the InfoFile on Belarus microfilms and David Fox's article Existing Records for Shtetls in Belarus, which appeared in Issue 1 - November 1998 of the Belarus SIG Online Newsletter.

What I have attempted to do is identify all the surnames that appear in the microfilmed Minsk vital records, and to show which record set(s) they appear.  During my research of the origin and evolution of Jewish surnames from Minsk and Minsk gubernia, I marked an "X" if records for a particular surname appear in the record set I reviewed.  If I found more than one record for the surname in a set of records, I marked it as "XX".  Some surnames from Minsk appear so often that I marked them by an "XXX" and by "XXXX" when the surname appeared in more than 10 records in a particular set.

However, I would like to warn you that some mistakes are possible in this database.  Records were written by hand (sometimes with very poor handwriting) in the Old Russian alphabet.  Some of the original pages were of poor quality (fading, worm-eaten, etc.) and the microfilming made the legibility even more difficult.  Several records could not be read at all.  Some of the names have spelling errors from the people who originally recorded the record.  This is my first attempt to so this type of work and I am certain that my ability to do this will gradually improve.

The vital records on the above microfilms also have their information recorded in Hebrew and well as Russian, on the opposite page.  While this is usually a repetition of the names and dates, there are sometime differences in what is written in the two languages.

I hope that this database will serve you as a starting point and simple guide to genealogical research of the Minsk Jewish vital records.  If you find your surname in this database and you know you had family from Minsk city, there is a good likelihood that you will find family records on the microfilms.  Once you determine which set (year and type record) your surname appears, you can then identify the microfilm number where that set is located.  Assuming you can read old Russian or Hebrew, you should go to your local FHC and order the microfilm to view the record(s).

The data in this index is not perfect and I welcome your suggestions for improvements and corrections as well as how the members of the JewishGen Belarus SIG can work together for the creation of similar and better databases.

My deepest appreciation to David Fox, JewishGen Belarus SIG coordinator as well as good friend, adviser and editor; and to Michael Tobias the great computer specialist and member of the JewishGen Belarus SIG who put this database online and made it searchable.

Vitaly Charny
January, 1999

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