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Vilnius Household Registers

About

This database contains Jewish listings in household registers created in the city of Wilno (now Vilnius, Lithuania) from mid 1919 to early 1940. During this time period, the city and surrounding areas were under Polish control. Therefore, these are Polish rather than Lithuanian records, even though they were created on the territory of present-day Lithuania. The language of the registers is Polish. The registers are held by the Lithuanian Central State Archives in Vilnius. The registers have not been filmed. Indexing is being done from scans.

The Vilnius Household Registers project is funded and carried out entirely by LitvakSIG, an independent organization, whose database is hosted by JewishGen.org as a service to the community. VHR data appears in the LitvakSIG All-Lithuania database and is also searchable in the JewishGen Lithuania database.

Background

During the interwar years, civil registration in Vilnius was based on the place of residence. Each person over the age of 14, upon obtaining a place to live, was obliged to fill out a registration card giving various personal details and to present some form of personal identification to confirm these details. The building owner or manager would then create an entry in the building register based on the registration card. Children were listed on their parent's registration card, but were listed on their own lines in the register.  Within a day, the manager was supposed to bring the register, registration card, and personal ID to the neighborhood police station where the register was checked against the other documents, corrected if necessary, and stamped to indicate approval. A duplicate copy of the register was kept at the police station. A comparable process took place to close out the registration when the person moved on.

Record format

The record display includes the following fields:

  • Page #
  • Name of resident - includes surname and given name
  • Maiden name of resident
  • Name of resident's father
  • Name of resident's mother - includes the maiden name, if given
  • Date of Birth - may be the full date, the year of birth, or the age at registration
  • Town of birth - the district or gubernia, if given, is in the comment
  • Status - married, divorced, widowed, single, child
  • Address - street, building number, and apartment number
  • Register Dates - the dates of the earliest and latest registrations in the register
  • Comment - date of registration, most recent previous place of residence, date of departure (or death), destination. The previous place and destination can be an address in Wilno, another town, or another country. The comment may also include other information such as the occupation, visitor status (from 1931), or the district/gubernia of the birth town.
  • Archive/Fond/Inventory File - LCVA/64/6/xxxxx or Lithuanian State Central Archive, fond 64, inventory 6, file number xxxxx, where the file number is up to five digits in length. 

Here is a sample entry.

Sample 

Translation (only items in BOLD are regularly included in the index)

  • Column 1: line #201
  • 2: Name, Oszer HERMAJZE
  • 3: Parents' names Szewel (mother's name was omitted in this case)
  • 4: Apt. 10
  • 5: Date of birth, 1873
  • 6: Place of birth, Wilno
  • 7: Status, married
  • 8: Nationality, Israelite
  • 9: Religion, Jewish
  • 10: Occupation, merchant (Translators were not asked to translate the occupation. Some who were able to do so, did.)
  • 11: Previous residence, Rumunia [Romania]
  • 12: Date of registration, 12-May-1929
  • 13: Details of identity document, passport for foreign travel #104/27, Wilno
  • 14: Registration stamp dated 13-May-1929 (The registration stamp date was indexed only if the registration date in column 12 was missing or unreadable. They were generally within a day or two.)
  • 15: Departure destination: Polowa 4
  • 16: Departure date stamp dated 23-Jun-1930

 Source: LCVA/64/6/11002, page 17. The address was Subocz 8.

Notes

  1. Most individuals appear multiple times in the registers and thus in the index, even if they never move to a new residence. The reasons for this include new registrations following temporary absence for business or leisure travel, hospitalization, military service, imprisonment, or seasonal relocation; issuance of a new personal identification document; a woman's surname change following marriage; and administrative reregistrations (see note 4 below).
  2. From around February 1931, a modified register template was used. In the modified template, neither maiden names nor place of birth nor family status was requested. A space was added to indicate if the person was registering as a visitor. The same index fields are used for both the original and modified register templates.
  3. Unlike a census or family list, the household registers do not include the relationship of each person to the head of the household. Nonetheless, search results are displayed in suggested family groupings. These groupings are based on LitvakSIG's analysis of the data and should be viewed as tentative.
  4. In 1931 (coincident with the inauguration of the new register format) and also around the end of 1926, house managers started over with a fresh list of everyone then in residence. These administrative registrations, involving no change in the circumstances of the residents, are labeled as "reregistrations" in the index. Details are given in the comment.

Scope of the project

There are more than 13,000 registers at LCVA. The final tally of Jewish data appears certain to exceed 250,000 lines and could reach 500,000 lines.  To learn more or to support the project, visit the project home page on the LitvakSIG website, https://tinyurl.com/VHR-home or email the project coordinator at vhrproject@litvaksig.org.

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