Background

Russia began compiling Revizskie Skazki (singular is Revizskaya Skazka or Revision List) in 1719. These censuses, which were used to levy poll taxes, continued intermittently through the 18th and 19th centuries. The first list was created in the years 1719-1721. Subsequent Lists were in 1743-1747, 1761-1767, 1781-1782, 1794-1795, 1811, 1833-1834, 1850-1851, and 1857-1859. Supplements were taken in intermediate years, most notably 1806, 1816- 1817, and 1874. These censuses were compiled on a district (uyezd or powiat)-wide basis.

They include records for residents of the major towns (and many minor towns) of the
district.

When Poland was partitioned in the 1790s, parts of western Ukraine became part of the Russian Empire. In these areas Revision List activity began with the 5th Revision of 1794- 1795 and its 1806 Supplement. Each 5th Revision List record in the formerly Polish areas is recorded in Polish and in old Russian. Many revision lists survived through the years. They may be stored in regional State Archives and/or in historical museums. They are accessible to researchers.


The Mormons have microfilmed many Revision Lists for districts throughout Ukraine.
Search the LDS Family History Library Catalog to learn whether or not there are revision list microfilms for your town’s district. Here is a typical catalog entry for Revision Lists from the Kremenets district in Volhynia province, which are stored in the Ternopil State Archives. It is for 54 microfilm reels containing data from the Lists and Supplements between 1811 and 1874. Reels:

Record group 37, series 2, files 149-151, 156-199. 54 microfilm reels.
Revision lists (census lists used to levy a poll tax) (7th-10th revision) for Kremenets district, Volhynia province, Russia; later in Ternopil oblast, Ukraine. The lists contain the names of all taxable persons from each city, town, village or estate arranged by household, giving the relationship to the head of house and ages. Many of the lists also include supplemental lists made in years following the initial revision (e.g. revision lists for 1816 may include supplemental lists dating from between 1817 and 1834). Text in Russian.


The Lists for each year are arranged successively by town name, social/economic class, and the order in which households were recorded. Each town usually begins with a title page and ends with an “attestation” or “end of section” page that may be a single paragraph.

Each “social/economic class” usually is indicated clearly, written larger than the
surrounding text and centered in the record. Each double page (household males on the left page, females on the right page) is numbered. Most revision lists I’ve seen typically have 3 to 6 records per page (sometimes 10 or more). Each record typically has 3 to 6 names, often more. Some pages will be duplicates. Some will be text. Some will be short pages with “attestations” that the recorded information is accurate. Those attestations usually include signatures of town leaders and/or rabbis. The first microfilm reel sometimes includes an “index” that identifies which social classes are on the reel. There is no other index to the Lists or the microfilms.

Identifying and Obtaining the Jewish Records

Obviously, these records are invaluable to our genealogical activities. The problem for us is that the revision lists record both Jews and non-Jews. The good news is that the Jewish records usually are in coherent groups rather than scattered individually. To identify the Jewish records it is necessary to scroll through the microfilms, frame-by-frame. It helps to start with the Index (if there is one) on the first reel of microfilm to identify which reels contain data for social classes that might include Jews. We know that Jews were not nobility, gentry, clergy, cossacks, native peoples, or peasants.

The most likely social classes are merchants (kupetsiy), bourgeois (meshchaniniy), artisans (remeslennikiy), and, of course, Jews (Yevreyskii). They also might be in the agriculturist (zemledel’ cheskiy), citizens (grazhdoniy), or honorary citizens (pochetnyy grazhdaniniy) classes. Next you have to browse through each of the selected microfilm reels, identifying the page numbers that contain Jewish households in the “most likely” social classes.

It is fairly easy to identify a Jewish household. If you see given names like Peter, Pavel, Ivan, Anton, etc, the household most likely was not Jewish. If the names were Yakov, Abrum, Menachem, Itsko, etc. the household probably was Jewish (although the name Yakov appears in non-Jewish households as well.).

Records Inventory

As of January 2020, there are 51,420 records in the database. Click here to view the inventory. 

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