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Belarus Compiled Genealogies

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Belarusian Genealogy Tips[edit | edit source]

Without Having to move out of their homes or leave their villages, your Belarusian ancestors born before 1900 were citizens/subjects of several nations and governments during their lifetimes.

So, while most researchers have one country's records to research, your search for records, depending upon the town where your ancestor's were from, will require you to find genealogical records for Poland, Lithuania, the Russian Empire, Austrian Empire, Belarus and maybe even the Ukraine.

If you are starting out with very little family information, you may definitely be in for a challenge. As you begin your search, below are some tips that you may find helpful as you search for your Belarusian ancestors.

Consult other the pages in this Wiki and FamilySearch for specific references for help with maps, governates and voivodeships, church records, shtetls, gazetteers etc.

Helpful article from Ancestry Magazine- entitled "Research in Russia" covers some Belarusian genealogical research ideas.

Names, Names Names[edit | edit source]

If you speak or read Belarusian, Russian or Polish, names will not be as much of an obstacle to you. However, if you don't, be aware that the spelling of the names of people and places will have variants. Make a list of these variants. It will make your search easier.

What do I mean by variants?[edit | edit source]

Take for example the surname: Nowak.

You may find Nowak spelled or written as: Nowak, Nowack, Novak, Novack, Novik, Nowik, Nowakowski, Nowiki etc.

Take for example the city Vilnius

I have seen it spelled: Vilna, Vilno, Wilno, Vil'na

Make a List[edit | edit source]

The way to help conquer variants, multiple languages and differences in spellings is to make a list of all of the surnames and places that you are researching. This list should have all names and places written in Russian (cyrillic), Belarusian (cyrillic), Polish, and if applicable; Yiddish and Ukranian. It sounds like a lot to do. But, trust me, it will make your research much easier.

Civil Records[edit | edit source]

To find civil records you need to know the Administrative Divisions of your ancestor's:

Voivodeship>Powiat>Gmina>Wies (Province>District>Town>Village)

or

Gubernia>Uezd>Gmina>Wies (Province>District>Town>Village)

Ecclesiastical Church and Synagogue Records[edit | edit source]

Jewish Synagogue Records [edit | edit source]

To find records you need to know the name of your ancestor's shtetl (town).

Records for shtetls have been well documented and can be found on line through various sources.

Roman Catholic Church Records[edit | edit source]

To find church records you need to know the name of your ancestor's nearest large town where their parish church was located, the diocese and deanery.

Diocese>Deanery>Town where Parish Church was/is located> Parish Church Name*

The church ecclesiastical divisions are unlikely to be the same as the civil Administrative Divisions.*

The Chuch records page of Wiki FamilySearch Belarus has some links that may help you determine the correct diocese and deanery.

Orthodox Church Records [edit | edit source]

The church divisions are not likely to be the same as the civil Administrative Divisions.*

see Belarus Church Records page

Changing Borders[edit | edit source]

Genealogical investigations can be challenging enough without the addition of the ever-changing political boundaries.There are many maps of Belarus, Poland, Lithuania and the Ukraine that can help in the understanding of how to locate the Voivodeship>Powiat>Gmina>Wies (Province>District>Town>Village) you need for civil records or for church records the shtetl or Diocese>Deanery> ParishTown.

Languages [edit | edit source]

Belarus has areas that were once a part of Poland, Lithuania, Russia and Ukraine. So, create a key to use that has the name of towns and villages that you are seeking written in Belarusian, Russian, Polish and English.-An online translator that will translate from and to cyrillic text will help with Belarusian and Russian translaions.

If you are a shtetl seeker, translate your town's name into Yiddish.

Maps[edit | edit source]

Many maps that you will need for your research will be in Belarusian or Russian

Reference Texts[edit | edit source]

Helpful reference text will likely not be found in English. The most helpful texts that I found were written in Polish, Russian and Belarusian. An online translator and a lot of patience is essential. Also, several references are availabe in a pdf or djvu format which allow for download and then text searches.

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Most of the records that you find will be in Russian, Polish or Belarusian. So, create a key with the spelling of the surname and given name (and all the variants) that you are researching. The names for your key should be in Cyrillic for Russian and Belarusian and in Polish using the Polish alphabet.


Janenowak 00:41, 3 January 2015 (UTC)

Compiled Genealogies[edit | edit source]

Research use: Provide the results of previous research such as pedigree lineage information and may lead to the original sources of documentation. Often provide information from record types, areas, and time periods where we have not yet been able to acquire the original records.

Record type: Compiled genealogies, organized collections of lineage data, family histories, pedigrees, family and community genealogies, whether manuscript or published.

Time period: Varies.

Contents: Names of individuals; dates and places of birth, marriage, and death; names of parents and children. Many include histories and illustrations of ancestors and ancestral homes. Community genealogies list families of a specific place. May provide source citations or copies of documents. Many are indexed.

Location: Varies; public and private libraries, archives, and other repositories.[1]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Belarus,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 2002.