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The Rechitsa 1906 Duma Voters Database

Second Duma - 1906: Rechitsa uezd Voters List, Minsk Guberniya

Donated to the JewishGen Belarus SIG by Gladys Friedman Paulin

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This database contains a transliteration of the 1906 Voters List - Second Duma, which appeared in the Russian givernment newspaper Gubernskie Vedomostie in 1906.  It consists of 2,910 entries from Rechitsa uezd (district), in what was Minsk guberniya (province) of the Russian Empire.  Today, this area is in southeastern Belarus.

For more information on the Duma Voter Lists and the Gubernskie Vedomostie, see the JewishGen Belarus SIG's Duma Voter List FAQ.

This list, which the donor obtained from a private source, has been transliterated, double checked and donated to the JewishGen Belarus SIG.  The database contains all the information that is on the original list itself.  There is no additional information available.

Database Columns

The column headings in this database are:

  • Surname: Last name (family name).
  • Given name: First name, or if hyphenate, then first and middle name.
  • Patronymic: Father’s given name, with the suffix '-ov' or '-ovich', both of which mean 'son of'.
  • Value (Roubles): The value of their property, apartment taxes or commercial documents, in rubles.
  • Location / Category: the location of real property, or category of eligibility.
  • List #: The voters on the list were labeled in numerical order, from 1 to 2910.

Locations:   Categories included real property owners in the town of Rechitsa (Riechetsy), or a smaller town (mestechko) in the district.  Those towns listed were: Narovli [Narowlya], Kolenkovitch [Kalinkavichy], Komarina [Komarin], Gorvol [Gorval'], Khoinik [Khoyniki], Khomecha, Loeva, Bragina [Brahin], and Iurevich [Yurevichi].  All voters were registered in the Rechitsa district (uezd).

Categories:   There are five different categories of voters on this list.  The first category is those holding real property and they are listed by the town or hamlet (mestechko) in which such property was held.  Other categories are: persons paying apartment taxes; those with commercial documents; employees (white-collar) of the railroad; and those connected with the Government, either as employees or pensioners.  There are few Jewish names in the last two categories.  The value listed is in rubles and represents the appraised real estate value, the amount of apartment taxes, or the value of commercial documents.  No values were listed for the last two categories.


The names were transliterated from Russian using the Modified Library of Congress System.  Two letters in this system vary from that used by Alexander Beider in his A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Russian Empire (Avotaynu, 1993): an old Cyrillic letter which is not in the modern Russian alphabet, which this system transliterates as 'ie' when Beider seems to have transliterated this letter with just an 'e'; a Russian i with an diacritic, which Beider transliterates as 'j' and this system uses an 'i'.  Therefore, the common toponymic surname ending in English as '-ski', or '-sky', transliterated by Beider as '-skij', are '-skii' in this database.

First name and patronymic are in separate columns in the database, rather than using a comma after the first name.  In some cases, it appears that businesses and heirs have been listed, rather than individuals.  If there is an apparent partnership with two different surnames, the second one will appear in the patronymic column.  So double-check this if you do not find someone.  The abbreviation used for heir(s) is 'enas.' or 'enasl'.  Sometimes the patronymic is abbreviated, as shown by a period at the end of a seeming first name.  This is not a middle name, but a patronymic with the '-ov' or '-ovich' omitted due to line length.  All middle names are shown after a hyphen.  The only other noted abbreviation is 'sviash', which stands for priest.

About 25% of the entries on this list do not have Yiddish first names and/or patronymics.  However, some Jews took Russian names for business purposes.  For example, the surname Abramovich — sometimes there were Russian first names and patronymics and sometimes Yiddish.  I counted them as non-Jewish, but that might be incorrect.  Some names were used by both Jews and Russians.  Usually the Jews used the Yiddish version of a name, but maybe not always.  But I counted as NON-Jewish when the Russian form was used.  For example, 'Yakov' or 'Yacob' vs. 'Iankele'; or 'Iosif' or 'Iosip' instead of 'Iosele'; or 'Mikhail' instead of 'Mikhel'.  If these were Jews with Russian names, then the Jewish count is higher than 75%.

Most of the non-Jews are in the town of Rechitsa (Riechetsy) in the real property list as railway or government staff.  The other towns were all labeled "M." which stands for mestechko — which my dictionary calls a hamlet but my translator (a Russian native who teaches Russian) calls a Jewish settlement.  And almost all the merchants (those with commercial documents) as well as the apartment taxpayers appeared to be Jewish also.

There were typographical errors in the original list, and no attempt has been made to correct any spelling errors, although obvious ones in the numbering of the list have been corrected.  The original list was numbered from one to 2910.  At one point the numbers were: 837, 838, 939, 840.  The 939 was changed to 839.  This happened a number of times, and one might assume that there are also errors in some names.  However, the names have been transliterated exactly as they appear on the list, with no attempt to correct any possible typographical errors.  (In 1906, the type was most likely hand-set and hand-dismantled, and it appears as though some letters probably got in the wrong case, or the adjacent letter may have been grabbed by mistake.)

Spelling.  There is much inconsistency in the spelling of first names, surnames and patronymics.  Note that there is no 'h', 'j' or 'w' in the Cyrillic alphabet.  The letter 'g' is used here one might expect an 'h'; 'i' in place of a 'j', and 'v' is used where there might otherwise be a 'w'.  Further, the Russian spelling may not be what you expect.  My Minovitz/vitch/witz family is spelled Menevich... sort of like trying to find a familiar spelling in the U. S. census!

Legibility of the original.  This copy was made from an old newspaper which had been typeset and possibly inked by hand.  It had faded and yellowed before being copied.  Therefore, some letters may have been read incorrectly, despite being transliterated twice and the results compared.  Where they were different, a third reading was done.  However, if you look at the letters of the Cyrillic alphabet, note the letters equivalent to 'i', 'n' and 'p'.  The 'p' looks identical to the Greek letter 'pi'.  The 'i' has a slanted crossbar, and the 'n' has a horizontal crossbar so it looks like the English letter 'H'.  With fading and poor inking, these crossbars were not always clear and sometimes not even visible.  It was usually clear when a vowel was needed, but in order to determine if an 'n' or 'p' was called for, a surname was verified by checking Alexander Beider’s A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Russian Empire.  First names were usually clear, but occasionally they were checked using Boris Feldblyum’s Russian-Jewish Given Names.  (Both books are published by Avotaynu, Inc.).

My paternal family comes from Rechitsa uezd and my father was born there.  I had the pleasure of finding a number of my relatives on the list including my great great-grandfather whose date of death was only known to be before 1915.  With this list it is clear that he was still alive in 1906, so the period has been narrowed considerably.

So enjoy,
Gladys Friedman Paulin
Winter Park, FL
June 1999

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