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Bessarabia Vital Records Database

Birth Records
Marriage & Divorce Records
Death Records
Acknowledgements
Recommendations
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This database contains Jewish birth, marriage, death and divorce records from the former Russian Gubernia of Bessarabia.

The original records are at the National Archives of the Republic of Moldova (NARM) in Chisinau, Moldova.  These records were microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, and provided to JewishGen on CD-ROMs.  These microfilms are available through the LDS Family History Library and all LDS Family History Centers.

These records were originally created by the Jewish Congregations of the various towns where the records were recorded, i.e. the Jewish Congregation of Kishinev (Chisinau), etc.  The text is both in Russian (Cyrillic alphabet) and Hebrew script, although some records are in Russian only.

This database currently contains more than 163,500 records — those records where the transliteration is listed as being "Complete" in the four tables below.  The vast majority of the records are for the city of Kishinev (now Chisinau, Moldova), with some records from Kaushany (now Causeni, Moldova), Beltsy (now Balti, Moldova), Bendery (now Bender, Moldova), Gancheshty (now Hîncesti, Moldova), Soroki (now Soroca, Moldova), Izmail (now Izmayil, Ukraine), Novoselitsa (now Novoselytsia, Ukraine), and a few from Chimishliya (now Cimislia, Moldova), Komrat (now Comrat, Moldova), Manzyr (now Lisne, Ukraine), Petrovka (now Petrovca, Moldova), and Romanovka (now Basarabeasca, Moldova).

Birth Records

The Register of Births records may contain the following information:

  • * FHL microfilm number
  • * Item number on microfilm
  • * Image number on microfilm, if available, or the page number located at the top right on the record itself (this will enable you to locate the record on the film)
  • * The place and year that the record was registered
  • * Registration number of birth (number is proceeded by "F" for female or "M" for male)
  • * Surname (no surname is given if mother is not married)
  • * Given name
  • * Father
  • Paternal grandfather
  • Mother
  • Maternal grandfather
  • Mother’s maiden surname (usually given if mother is not married)
  • * Day, month, and year of birth, according to the Julian calendar
  • Day and month of birth, according to the Jewish calendar
  • * Place of birth
  • Comments, which may include the status of the father and who performed the circumcision if a boy.  In the early years three people performed the circumcision - Mohel (cutting), Porea (tearing) and Motzetz (sucking a drop of blood).  Today these functions are usually but not always performed by one person.
  • * The archive where this original record is located, along with the fond, list and item number where the record is stored.

* The "Alphabetical Book of Births" contains only the items marked above with an asterisk *.

Illustrations of sample pages of the birth registers.  Click on each image for a larger view.

1829 Register of Births
The Cyrillic is on the left side and the Hebrew is on the right side.  No headings are printed on the form as they are in later years.  In the third column from the left is the listing of the three people who performed at the Bris.
1891 Register of Births
On the first record there are two notations in Romanian.  The first one is a marriage record from October 23, 1930 and the second one is a death notice from December 31, 1939 and recorded January 23, 1940.
Alphabetical Book of Births 1885-1888
This is from a listing of births for the letter F.  On the left side is the end on the male births.  On the right side are female births.  Male and female listings in this book were written by two different people.

A complete inventory of Birth Records can be accessed by clicking here.

Marriage records

The Register of Marriages and Divorces may contain the following information:

  • * FHL microfilm number
  • * Item number on microfilm
  • * Image number on microfilm, if available, or the page number located at the top right on the record itself (this will enable you to locate the record on the film)
  • * The place and year that the record was registered
  • * Record number of marriage or divorce
  • * Day, month, and year of marriage or divorce, according to the Julian calendar
  • * Day and month of event, according to the Jewish calendar
  • Groom or husband’s place
  • * Groom or husband’s surname
  • * Groom or husband’s given name
  • * Groom or husband’s father’s name
  • Groom or husband’s age
  • Bride or wife’s place
  • * Bride or wife’s surname
  • * Bride or wife’s given name
  • * Bride or wife’s father’s name
  • Bride or wife’s age
  • Rabbi
  • Witnesses
  • * Comments
  • * The archive where this original record is located, along with the fond, list and item number where the record is stored.

* The Alphabetical Book of Marriages many contain only the items marked with an asterisk. *

1891 Register of Marriages
The last entry on the page is for the marriage of Moshe FRENK to Raizel MESHMAN.  She was a widow by divorce.  There was a dowry of 24 rubles since she was married before.  If she was not married before the dowry would have been 48 rubles.  He was 25 and she was 23.
Alphabetical Book of Marriages 1887-1900
The fourth entry on the right page is the listing in the book for the same marriage of Moshe FRENK to Raizel MESHMAN.  Note that the entry only lists the marriage number, year of marriage and the names of the people married.
1897 Register of Divorces
The first entry records the divorce of Moshe FRENK and Raizel MESHMAN.  They were divorced on January 17, 1897.  He was 31 and she 29.  They were both members of the Kishinev petty bourgeois/middle class.  We also know that she was married and divorced at least two times.

A complete inventory of Marriage Records can be accessed by clicking here.

Divorce records

A complete inventory of Divorce Records can be accessed by clicking here.

Death records

The Register of Deaths may contain the following information:

  • * FHL microfilm number
  • * Item number on microfilm
  • * Image number on microfilm, if available, or the page number located at the top right on the record itself (this will enable you to locate the record on the film)
  • * The place and year that the record was registered
  • * Record number of death
  • * Surname
  • * Given name
  • * Father’s name
  • Mother’s name
  • Spouse’s name
  • Spouse’s surname
  • * Day, month, and year of death, according to the Julian calendar
  • Day and month of death, according to the Jewish calendar
  • * Town of death
  • * Place of residence
  • * Comments
  • * The archive where this original record is located, along with the fond, list and item number where the record is stored.

* The Alphabetical Book of Deaths contains only the items marked with an asterisk. *

1904 Register of Deaths
The first entry records the death of a female 2 days old.  The other deaths were a female stillborn who was not named, a 75 year old man, a 42 year old woman and a 60 year old woman.  The last 3 people died in the Hebrew Hospital.
Alphabetical Book of Deaths 1901-1914
The fourth entry on the left page is the listing of the death of the 2 day old female listed in the 1904 Register of Deaths.  The entry list the record number of the death, the names of the people who died and the date of death.

A complete inventory of Death Records can be accessed by clicking here.


Acknowledgements

People worked very hard and long hours to make this project possible.  Some records are extremely hard to read.  The transliterators and validators did their very best to be as accurate as possible.

Transliterators and validators: David Price, Rebecca Gerber, Esriel Sternbuch, Nurit Bassett, Helena Krupitsky, Malcolm Singer, Dov Rubin, Claire Stuart, Monica Talmor, Eli Schachar, Yefim Kogan, Lancy Spalter, Greg Fedner and Yana Pelikan.  Also Omri Arnon, Miriam Yagur, Shmuel Kehati, Alexander Kopelberg, Batia Mathov-Preiger, Galina Antonova, Olga Potap, Terry Lasky, Tatsiana Ginzburg, Mark Chulsky, Ekatrina Kazinova, Herbert Lazerow, Mark Kaplan, Yula Prokop-Zakharina, Zygi Boxer, Vladimer Reznik, Elan Caspi, Zigi Boxer, Paola Khalili, Naftali Shani, Noam Silberberg, Yoni Kupchik, Alan Levine, Orit Lavi, Shiran Tesler, Shlomo Katz, Yair Itzhaky-Sokolka, Ilana Voloshin.

David Price dedicates the work that he is doing to the memory of the late Harold Nissenthall, a member of the Board of the JGS of Canada (Toronto) and a member of the Executive Committee of the 2002 IAJGS Conference in Toronto and its indispensible technical wizard.  Harold always helped others with great joy and generosity.  He was an inspiration and made genealogy a pleasure for everyone who met him.

Yana Pelikan dedicates the work that she is doing on the Beltsy records to the memory of her parents Liuba and Monia (Mordekhai) Wishniak, who inspired her interest in genealogy with their great stories.

Data entry: Arlene Radansky.

Support: Rosanne Leeson, Paula Zieselman, Joyce Field, Warren Blatt and Michael Tobias.

Bob Wascou (z”l) was the Project Coordinator for many years.  If you have any questions, please contact Yefim Kogan at yefimk@verizon.net.

If you are able to transliterate / translate Russian (Cyrillic) or Hebrew script and you wish to help in this project, or if you can work with Cyrillic-Romanian, German or Romanian in Romanian projects please contact Yefim Kogan or Inna Vainer.


Recommendations

Search the records using Beider-Morse Phonetic Matching (BMPM) and Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex (DM), as well as the exact name, due to variations in spelling and because some records were transliterated from the Russian side only and not from the Hebrew side.

Search these records even if you know your relatives came from a different town.  One of the transliterators found the birth record of his great-aunt who born in Kishinev and was from Grodno.  We have also found that some people came from as far away as Greece and Holland.  Our relatives moved around quite a lot, so the records that you are searching for could be in any database.


Search the Database

The Bessarabia Vital Records database can be searched via both the JewishGen Romania Database and the JewishGen Ukraine Database.


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