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This is an umbrella project for all of the projects related to the Jews of Belarus, plus some links to closely related discussions. "Belarus was once a major center of European Jews, with 10% of the population being Jewish. But since the mid-20th century, the number of Jews has been reduced by the Holocaust, deportation, and emigration, so that today it is a very small minority of less than one percent." (Belarus, Wikipedia, 2016 Jun 14)

Links to projects and discussions at Geni are organized here into three broad categories: geography/administration, family surname, and other links. Project names are shown in bold. Some notes and a list of links to additional resources are at the bottom of the page. This page may not include every project at Geni related to Jews of Belarus, but please post to the Organizing Belarus discussion if you'd like to see one added.


Geographical/Administrative Regions of Belarus, c. 1900

Most Jews researching their ancestors from Belarus are descended from people who emigrated during the late 19th and early 20th century. The historical records of that time (e.g. passenger lists) will of course refer to the administrative areas that existed then. For this reason, the Belarus SIG (special interest group) at the JewishGen genealogy website has chosen to organize based on the historic administrative regions circa 1900. For the same reason, and to smooth cooperation between the projects, this page is also organized by those historic regions rather than the modern ones.

You can use the JewishGen Communities Database to search for specific towns, each of which has a page that indicates which region and district the town was assigned to then and later. Information about Jewish population numbers, nearby towns, and links to other resources may also be provided on that page. Other tools that may be useful are the Shtetls of Belarus search and the JewishGen Gazetteer. Region (gubernia or oblast) and district (raion or uyezd) names are written with the primary spelling from the Communities database.

The heading names of regions below link to the Belarus SIG at JewishGen page for that region. The districts within each region are listed, and if there is a district-specific project at Geni then that name is linked to the corresponding project. Because the districts are mostly named after significant cities, if there is a city-specific project with that name then the district name links to it. Note that although the Kovno region is shown on the map, it is usually considered as part of historic Lithuania for Jewish genealogy. Visit the Litvaks - ליטבאקים - Lithuanian Jewry Data page or the Jewish Lithuania Guide page for more information.

Belarus, 2009
Gubernias of the Russian Empire 1910, Byelorussian region
[left] A map of modern Belarus, c. 2009, with lines showing railways (black/white), rivers (light blue), and major highways (red or yellow). [right] This map shows the Byelorussian region of the 1910 Russian Empire, with 1910 borders for each gubernia/region and (in blue) their English names, but showing the modern city names.

Region of Grodno

Districts: Bialystok, Brest-Litovsk, Grodno, Kobrin, Pruzhany, Slonim, Sokolka, Volkovysk

Region of Minsk

Districts: Bobruysk, Borisov, Igumen/Cherven, Minsk, Mozyr, Novogroudok, Pinsk, Rechitsa, Slutsk

Region of Mogilev

Districts: Byhov, Chausy, Cherikov, Gomel, Gorki, Klimovichi, Mogilev, Mstislavl, Orsha, Rogachev, Senno

Region of Vilna

Regions: Disna, Lida, Oshmyany (Oshmiany), Vilejka, Novo-Aleksandrovsk, Augustov, Sventsyany

Region of Vitebsk

Districts: Drissa, Dvinsk, Gorodok, Lepel, Liutsin, Nevel, Polotsk, Rezhitsa (Rechitsa), Sebezh, Velizh, Vitebsk

Surname Projects for Jews of Belarus

Surname projects for specific locations are also duplicated above under the appropriate region.

Other "Jews of Belarus" Projects

Additional Notes

Soviet Belarus between 1938 and 1960 was divided into administrative regions called voblasts. At times some were divided or renamed. Voblast names were: Babruysk, Baranavichy, Belastok (Bialystok), Brest, Gomel, Grodno (Grodnenskaya), Maladzyechna, Mogilev, Molodechno, Minsk, Navahrudak, Pinsk, Polatsk (Polotsk), Polesia, Vitebsk, and Vileyka. (from Regions of Belarus @ Wikipedia)

In 2016, Belarus is divided into six oblast regions and the city of Minsk, which has a special status being the capital of Belarus. The regions are named Brest, Gomel, Grodno, Mogilev, Minsk, and Vitebsk.

Belarus voblasts, 1940-present
Three sketches showing the Byelorussian SSR voblast borders and English names in 1940, 1944, 1991, and in the bottom right a map of modern Belarus with Belorussian labels.

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