The following excellent advice is adapted from Yefim Kogan’s recent post to the JewishGen Discussion Groups. Yefim is the Director of Bessarabia Research for JewishGen:

I think that it is great that we have regions to research – Ukraine, Belarus, Bessarabia, etc., and we should continue regional research. But let’s not forget how we are also connected! 

I did a Unified Search by “Any Field” and entered Kishinev (main town in Bessarabia) and searched in **all** countries.

Of course, I received many thousands of records from all the Bessarabian Databases, but I also got almost 500 records from Ukrainian databases (birth, marriages, revision lists), many hundreds of records from Litvak databases, along with dozens of records from Belarus, Latvia, Poland, and many more.

You may ask: what does this mean?

Well, for example, using Unified Search for Kishinev will yield a birth record of a person born in Vilno whose father was listed from Kishinev — that information about the father is on the Vilno record.

I also did a search for Kovno, a famous town now in Lithuania (Kaunas), and found, in addition to records from Lithuania and Belarus, almost 100 records from Bessarabia databases, several hundred from Ukraine databases, and more.

My point is that you should use this new facility – Unified Search – and explore not only your region, but neighboring regions and some distant regions, as well.

The idea that Jews lived in a small shtetl and did not move is just a myth without any basis. To the contrary, Jews traveled short and long distances to get jobs, to marry, to study, or sometimes to get a new dress for the High Holidays, etc.

I hope you discover more in your genealogical research, and please do not be disappointed. There are many people at JewishGen who can help you!

Click here to access the Unified Search – and good luck!

Yefim Kogan
Director of Bessarabia Research