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Courland-Kherson Jewish Relocation, 1837-1840
This database contains information about 5,872 Jews who relocated from towns in Courland to agricultural colonies in Kherson Gubernia in 1837 and 1840.
The documents were handwritten in Russian, and reference the years 1837 and 1840. The documents cover all the major towns in Courland Gubernia — Bausk, Friedrichstadt, Gazenpot, Goldingen, Grobin, Jakobshtat, Libava, Mitava, Pilten, Polangen, Tuckum, and Vindava. Unfortunately, these documents do not specify to which of the Kherson colonies these Jews relocated.
These records were photocopied by the Latvian National Archives (Latvijas Nacionālais Arhīvs) at the request of the JewishGen Ukraine SIG. The Latvian National Archives are located at Šķūņu Street 11, Rīga, LV-1050, Latvia. The records are all from Fond 412, Office of Courland Governor. To see the originals, please contact the archives directly — JewishGen does not have permission to circulate the copies.
In 1836 the Russian Czar issued an order granting land for colonization by Jews. The first requests came from Jewish families in Mitau in Courland, who wanted to settle in Ekaterinoslav Gubernia. Other Jews from Courland applied for land in Siberia. The latter never occurred. What did happen was that ultimately by 1845, Jews were settled in 15 agricultural colonies in Kherson Gubernia, and others in Ekaterinoslav Gubernia.
These lists for 1837 and 1840 are the only lists of this type which the Latvian National Archives has. Hence, no future work on this project is planned. It is probably that these two years were the years when the most applications were submitted for relocation.
There have been several articles printed in Avotaynu about the Kherson agricultural colonies, too numerous to mention here. In 2013, Martha Lev Zion (z”l) wrote in “History and Geography as Crucial Factors in Determining where to Look for Baltic-Area Archival Records — with Emphasis on Latvia” (Avotaynu, XXIX:3, Fall 2013) about the experience of Jews in Courland:
Information about the Jewish Agricultural Colonies in Kherson Gubernia can be found at the "Jewish Agricultural Colonies" KehilaLinks site, particularly the pages on Kherson Colonies, Kherson - First Colonies, and the Agricultural Colonies List.
This database contains the following information for each individual:
All family members are grouped together in the displayed output.
Two sample pages of the records are below — 1837 on the left, 1840 on the right:
The Project Director was Sylvia Walowitz; the records were translated from the Russian by Yana Golubitskiy and Pamela Lucas; and the data was proofread by Lisa Wanderman, Lara Diamond, Janette Silverman. This introduction was edited by Warren Blatt.
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Last Update: 19 May 2015