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Extracts of the Jewish records in the 1897 All Russian Census

Grodno Gubernia Uyezds (Districts)
Slonim - Volkavysk - Kobryn - Pruzhany - Grodno
Brest - Bialystok - Bielsk - Sokolka

Funded by Donations to the Belarus SIG & BIALYGen

The Belarus SIG has been successful in extracting and translating into English the entire remaining census forms for the Grodno gubernia. These records are located in fond 100 in the National Historical Archives of Belarus (Grodno). As far as we can discern, this is all that remain of the 1897 All Russian Census of 1897 for Belarus. While most of the records were destroyed, the remaining remnants provide valuable genealogical data for those who can find their families on the census records that we have accumulated. This census includes the place of birth, place of registration, along with the address and shtetl where people were living at the time of the census. In many instances these three locations are different for the same person in the census database. The information can provide insight on origination of families and help lead to other shtetls for you to research.

In addition to areas now in Belarus, the Grodno gubernia portion of the 1897 Census includes areas now in Poland - Bialystok, Bielsk, and Sokolka Uyezds.  Among the three location columns referenced above, there are over 700 unique shtetls/towns, which can be viewed by clicking here. Please keep in mind that many of these shtetls are in locations throughout present-day Belarus, Poland, Lithuania, as well as other miscellaneous places. This data could be useful to people researching families outside of Grodno gubernia.

This database consists of 8,004 people with 1,800 unique surnames, extracted from the "All Russia Census" of 1897.  You can see if your surnames are included by clicking here, If you have benefited from the translation of the 1897 All Russian census of 1897 in Belarus, we ask you to make a donation to the "Grodno Area Projects".

Historical Background

In 1895, the Imperial Russian government began planning a census of the entire Russian Empire.  The actual count of individuals took place on January 28, 1897.  Previously, tax registrations and draft registrations had been collected, but this census was different -- it was to be used only for statistical purposes.  The primary purpose of the Census was to collect statistical information on the people of the Russian Empire.  When the Census was set up, there was no intention to preserve the raw data relating to individual families and in most cases the original entry books were either destroyed, disposed of or simply not preserved, leaving the political turmoil and general upheaval of subsequent 20th century events to take their toll of this otherwise superb source.  "The 1897 census had an ambitious intent: to document the entire population of the Empire and describe its associated characteristics on a single day. This [odnodnevnaya perepsis] would collect data on age, gender, literacy, nationality, place of birth, etc., for all residents irrespective of their social Estate or tax status. . . . Varying census forms were printed for what were considered the five principle groups of persons. Form [A] was for peasant households that resided on agricultural property; Form [B] was for landed Estates; Form [V] for urban populations; [another form] for the military population; and [the final form] for boarding students, clergy, wards of charitable organizations, etc." (Thomas K. Edlund, "The 1st National Census of the Russian Empire," FEEFHS Journal. volume VII, numbers 3-4, Fall/Winter 1999, Salt Lake City, Utah).

Format of the 1897 Census

1897 Census Records for other Areas

Latvia: The JewishGen Latvia SIG has translated some of the 1897 Census records for Latvia, at http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/Latvia/AllRussia.htm.

Lithuania: Howard Margol and Peggy Mosinger Freedman, for the American Fund for Lithuanian-Latvian Jews Inc., commissioned and donated translated 1897 census records at the Lithuanian State Archives in Vilnius, which can be found at http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/Lithuania/LithCensus1897.htm.

Understanding the Entry Fields

The entry fields are:

  1. Street: This gives the registered street address for each individual, and generally the owner or principal householder at the address. If information is from Form [A] or Form [B], this is the name of the rural Estate or Village where the family lived. If information is from Form [V], this is the name of the Street where the family lived. Russian nouns have endings based on their declension -- the street names have been transliterated with these endings. (i.e. What we would call in English ovna Street is ovenskaia Street). The address can give details as to family groups [indicated by those living together]. The addresses allow you to trace where the family lived and to obtain further information from maps or other sources.
  2. House of: The name of the person owning the property on which the family lived. On Estates this is usually the owner of the Estate. In Villages and Towns, it is often, but not always, the resident. It is used in place of a street number to identify an address.
    If two families lived at the same address, they will both be displayed if you search for one of them.
  3. Number: of people living in the household
  4. Relationship: to the head of the household. Population units were counted by Household, not by individual, in the Russian Empire in 1897. Usually (but not always), the Head of Household was the oldest man living in the household. This column identifies each individual's relationship to the Head of Household.
  5. Surname: Transliterated from Cyrillic. These were left as the translator transliterated them.
  6. Other Names: Transliterated from Cyrillic. These were left as the translator transliterated them.
  7. Name: Given Name(s): Transliterated from Cyrillic. These were left as the translator transliterated them.
  8. Father's Name: Patronymic (Father's Given Name): In virtually every case a patronymic is given. This patronymic (the father's given name) is part of the Russian naming convention. Patronymics are usually included with the individual's given name and surname. For example "Khaim Berkovitz Satyr" means "Khaim, son of Berko, surname Satyr". The fathers' given names have been extracted from the patronymic and put into their own column for this database. The 'ovich' has been removed by the translator. This immediately provides names of two generations of the same family.
  9. Age: Age on the day of the census taking, January 28, 1897. This census in particular has been criticized by demographers for age heaping, the tendency to prefer or avoid certain ages when taking the reports. Where ages are given that depart from this format it is because the original list was amended; such changes are clearly indicated.
  10. Birthplace and Place of Origin: The Russian Empire distinguished between the place of birth, which was a matter of fact, and "Place of Origin", which represented the place with which the family was legally associated and first registered. For many individuals represented in the database, the "Place of Birth" and "Place of Origin" are different.
  11. Registration Place: The town where an event was registered.  Most events (births, marriages, etc.) were registered in the town in which they occurred in.  However, sometimes the events were registered in different towns.
  12. Living Place
  13. Occupation: The original list does not record this information for every family or individual, but where the information is given, it is included in this database. Occupation can give some idea of social standing, educational attainment, economic position and the skills that they brought with them on emigration.
  14. Note: This information made by the census taker includes relationships between individuals and occasional other personal details.
  15. Town: If this entry is from Form [V], the name of the town is listed.
  16. Volost / District / Gubernia: Russian administrative designations on the Census forms. A volost (county) is a subdivision of an uyezd (district), which is a subdivision of a gubernia (province).
  17. Source: The fond, series, and file number at the Grodno State Historical Archives in Grodno, Belarus.

What is in the Database and What is Not

The database concentrates on the head of the family, his spouse and adult children, but does not record the full details of every family unit. Occasionally there is a record of younger children, but not all siblings are consistently extracted.

Transliteration and Town Naming Conventions

The original sources are in handwritten Cyrillic, although many of the names are clearly not Russian in origin. The movement of families within the Jewish communities can be seen in the wide range of names with obvious Polish, Russian and Yiddish origins. Spelling varies greatly, and transliteration of certain letters such as J, I and Y are often treated interchangeably. Also as H does not exist in the Cyrillic, it is translated as G.

Because the database includes information about where families originated, there are a wide range of geographic references. Where possible, we have endeavored to follow the JewishGen standard format of using the modern name of the shtetl or town, although it has not been possible to ensure that all place references reflect the most up-to-date names. When the transliterated name of the town did not fit any town in Where Once We Walked, or where there were only close matches, or where there were two towns that were spelled identically, no changes were made to the translator's original spelling. This was often the case of small localities. It was felt that without the original Cyrillic, it was best to put the translator's transliteration into the database. It is hoped the using the Daitch-Mokotoff system to search for names and towns, and alternative spellings, all records will match search inquiries. Researchers can investigate place name information further by using JewishGen's ShtetlSeeker, which provides a range of names, including the modern one, plus an online generated map.

Contents of the Database

The 1897 All Russian Census portion of the All Belarus Database currently contains a total of 8,005 records from the following locations in the Grondo gubernia:

UyezdTownNumber of records
BelskBotski699
BelskKaleichytsy(country)14
BelskKnarozy13
BelskKoily8
BelskLubin-Kastselny3
BelskMelnik87
BelskNovakorni8
BelskTsekhanavets18
BielskBielsk179
BielskOrlya14
BielskSiemyatsichy72
BialystokBialystok2032
BialystokGoniodze11
BrestAtoki (country)5
BrestBradyatsin32
BrestBrest294
BrestKorchma-Brod14
BrestLeonava (country)1
BrestMarusyn (country)7
BrestPadburie (country)7
BrestPerkavichy (country)1
BrestPrakhod (country)2
BrestRadvanichy Tsarkovny(country)9
BrestRadvanichy Tsarkovny16
BrestRakavitsy (country)5
BrestRasna79
BrestValkovichy54
BrestVolchyn354
BrestVyaliki Les10
BrestVysoka-Litovsk4
BrestZarechie (country)10
BrestZbunin (country)2
GrodnaAleksandrava(country)8
GrodnaBabrovniki12
GrodnaBaranava4
GrodnaBayary (country)5
GrodnaDamanavshchyzna (country)2
GrodnaDemidkava15
GrodnaDruskeniki162
GrodnaGalynka(country)10
GrodnaGanusavka8
GrodnaGrodna877
GrodnaIvashkavtsy (country)14
GrodnaKavali-Novaradtsy(country)9
GrodnaKhamutovtsy14
GrodnaKruglany (country)6
GrodnaLeanchyki (country)6
GrodnaLikhachy6
GrodnaMeshtuny6
GrodnaNeporozhevtsy8
GrodnaPachuiki20
GrodnaPadrybnitsa14
GrodnaRotnitsa29
GrodnaRudava7
GrodnaRudavlany7
GrodnaShchepets7
GrodnaSmalarnya4
GrodnaSukhary9
GrodnaTeterevna22
GrodnaYaskavichy17
GrodnaZarubichy (country)15
GrodnaZyaliona2
KobrynAdamava7
KobrynBoguslavtsy (country).21
KobrynBurmaki5
KobrynChekhovtsy (country)3
KobrynCherevachytsy4
KobrynGrusheva (folvark)14
KobrynIvanava34
KobrynKamyan-Karalevski43
KobrynKamyan-Shlakhetski39
KobrynKlementsinava5
KobrynKoznitsa7
KobrynKrystynava (country)6
KobrynKrystynava7
KobrynOsavtsy (folfark)10
KobrynOzychy (country)4
KobrynPadrechie34
KobrynPeredzel (country).6
KobrynPerespa5
KobrynPorazava1
KobrynRepyshcha156
KobrynVaratsevichy4
KobrynVezhna (country)8
KobrynVorotynska ( country)2
PruzhanyBakuny12
PruzhanyBuzuny2
PruzhanyGorech8
PruzhanyKarolin(country)2
PruzhanyKhoreva27
PruzhanyKuplin (country)17
PruzhanyNarevka13
PruzhanyPaprotna (country)6
PruzhanyParaslany5
PruzhanyPruzhany43
PruzhanyRassokhy17
PruzhanySelishche10
PruzhanySheni14
PruzhanyZdzitava (country)7
PruzhanyZhadeny6
SakolkaBelany11
SlonimAgarodniki13
SlonimAlsheva4
SlonimBalagany(country)11
SlonimBartochyki(country)9
SlonimDukrava8
SlonimDzyatlava17
SlonimGorbava24
SlonimGuta(country)13
SlonimKaralin(country)12
SlonimKosava15
SlonimKoziki26
SlonimKrasny Krest12
SlonimLotvichy8
SlonimMezhy(country)11
SlonimNebaiki(country)15
SlonimNevracha(country)10
SlonimPerkhavichy24
SlonimRechytsa8
SlonimRudnya7
SlonimSakalova5
SlonimSerebritsa22
SlonimSkareodzishchy(country)10
SlonimSporava64
SlonimStaraves5
SlonimStuderovshchyna6
SlonimSutski13
SlonimSvirany3
SlonimVishneva(country)7
SlonimVysotsk60
SlonimZdzitava22
VolkavyskArantsy1
VolkavyskAsavlany (country)4
VolkavyskDabravola4
VolkavyskDubavtsy3
VolkavyskGlednyavichy4
VolkavyskIaganava (country)2
VolkavyskKachki7
VolkavyskKanabak(country)5
VolkavyskKarali (country)7
VolkavyskKarchy(country)7
VolkavyskKremyanitsa25
VolkavyskLeanovichy (country)2
VolkavyskLoshny (country)29
VolkavyskLyskava46
VolkavyskMalaya Ragoznitsa(country)17
VolkavyskMalinavka (country)11
VolkavyskMaly Klepachy (country)7
VolkavyskMantsyaki10
VolkavyskPalonka (country)9
VolkavyskPeski263
VolkavyskPetsevichy(country)14
VolkavyskRos31
VolkavyskRudavka (country)4
VolkavyskShandury2
VolkavyskStoki9
VolkavyskSvislach43
VolkavyskTserekhavichy7
VolkavyskVolkavysk453
VolkavyskVygoda (country)2
VolkavyskYalavka268
VolkavyskZameshany14
VolkavyskZelva217

For details about the 1897 Census, see:


© 2004 Belarus SIG