Belarus Jewish Records
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Maps of Belarus
- To view present-day Belarus at Google Maps, click here.
- For a map showing the percentage of Jews in the Pale of Settlement and Congress Poland, c. 1905, click here.
- To view an additional historical map showing the historical percentage of Jews in governments, click here.
Definition of "Pale of Settlement" from Wikipedia.org:
The Pale of Settlement (Russian: Черта́ осе́длости, chertá osédlosti, Yiddish: דער תּחום-המושבֿ, der tkhum-ha-moyshəv, Hebrew: תְּחוּם הַמּוֹשָב, tḥùm ha-mosháv) was the term given to a region of Imperial Russia in which permanent residency by Jews was allowed and beyond which Jewish permanent residency was generally prohibited. It extended from the eastern pale, or demarcation line, to the western Russian border with the Kingdom of Prussia (later the German Empire) and with Austria-Hungary. The English term "pale" is derived from the Latin word "palus", a stake, extended to mean the area enclosed by a fence or boundary.
Gazetteer of Belarus
Use the JewishGen Communities Database by clicking here.
Jewish History in Belarus
- Lithuanian Jews inhabited what is present-day Belarus. To learn of their history, read the Wikipedia.org article Lithuanian Jews, by clicking here.
- Explore this Jewish genealogy site dedicated to the memory of the Jews exterminated and displaced from the Belarusian Shtetls by the Nazis.
- Explore The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe by clicking here.
JewishGen.org Family Finder
Find others, possibly cousins, searching for your family name in the same countries, cities, and villages. Search by clicking JewishGen Family Finder. Free registration required.
The JewishGen Belarus Database
- More than 650,000 records from many different sources: vital records, voter lists, business directories, ghetto records. Requires free registration. To search, click here.
Types of Records
- Civil registration. Jews can be found in civil registration. See Belarus Civil Registration to learn more.
Miriam Weiner Routes to Roots Foundation
Data regarding locations of Belarusian and Lithuanian Jewish records originally published in books by Miriam Weiner is now on this website with periodic updates. Contains articles, essays, maps, archivist insights, and archival inventory for Jewish research in Belarus. The website also contains a database of documents that is searchable by town. The search for documents in Eastern Europe ancestral towns is complicated, partly because of the destruction of documents during the Holocaust and changing borders and names. Only the first few letters of the town needs to be known, as all towns beginning with those letters will appear in the list. Some towns will even be cross-referenced with spelling variations or name changes. However, to determine the current spelling of a town, consult Where Once We Walked by Mokotoff and Sack (Avotaynu, 1991). The database will note the types of documents that has survived for that town, including army lists, Jewish vital records, family lists, census records, voter and tax lists, immigration documents, Holocaust material, school records, occupational lists, and more. The span of years covered by these documents and where to find them will also be provided. Records in the archives can be accessed on various websites or databases (such as JewishGen) in person at the archives, by writing to the archives directly, or by hiring a professional researcher to do the work. By consolidating data from five Eastern European countries, researchers can easily determine which records are kept by which archives or repositories.
- See Routes to Roots Foundation and hover over Belarus for a Genealogical and Family History guide to Jewish and civil records in Eastern Europe
- See also the book, Jewish roots in Ukraine and Moldova by Miriam Weiner (FamilySearch Catalog call no. 947.71 F2w 1999)
Archives of Belarus
- View the Archives of Belarus home page by clicking here. Includes a "Contacts" link.
- Discover over 50 web pages of Jewish information available online at the Archives of Belarus by clicking here to search. Follow up by starting a search for the word "Jewish" and clicking the "Search" button.
Help with Belarus Jewish Research
- JewishGen Belarus SIG promotes Jewish genealogy research in Grodno, Minsk, Mogilev and Vitebsk Gubernias as well as the Lida and Vileika uyzeds (districts) of Vilna Gubernia. Visit this page by clicking here.
- Jewish Heritage Research Group In Belarus is a professional researchers who can help with Jewish research in Belarus. Visit this page by clicking here.
- Jewish Family History Research Guide (Courtesy of the Ackman & Ziff Family Genealogy Institute - Revised July 2012)
- Jewish Heritage Research Group in Belarus this site has a blog that gives valuable information such as specific charts.
- Weiner, Miriam. "Eastern European Archival Database Planned". AVOTAYNU XVII no. 3 (Fall 2001): 3-5.