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Lithuania 1897 Census Database

Extracts of the Jewish records in the 1897 Russian Census
Translated by the Lithuanian State Historical Archives

Commissioned and donated by Howard Margol and Peggy Mosinger Freedman for the American Fund for Lithuanian-Latvian Jews, Inc.

· Historical Background
· About This Database
· Data Fields
· Obtaining Originals
· Bibliography
· Place Names in the Data
· Search the Database

Names of 13,465 Jewish individuals (2,475 families) residing in Kovna and Vilna Gubernya, extracted from the first official census of the Russian Empire.  Information includes name, patronymic, age, relationship to head of household, place of birth, place of residence, place of registration and some occupations.  This material was translated from the remaining fragments of the original 1897 census documents which are stored in the Lithuanian State Historical Archives in Vilnius, Lithuania.

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 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).

To see an example of these forms, click on the image at the right.

All individuals were listed together, but nationality (including "Jewish") was identified.

After the census was taken, a second copy of every return was made. Both copies were sent to the provincial census commission.  The provincial census commission sent one of copy to the central commission in St. Petersburg.  After the central commission tabulated statistical results, their copy of the information was destroyed. † However, some of the original returns were saved in local and provincial archives.

About this database

This database is a translation of the remaining fragments of the 1897 Census records, extracting only Jewish persons, from Kovno and Vilna gubernias.  † Please note that there are many qualifications in this statement:

  1. Only records in the Lithuanian State Historical Archives (LVIA) in Vilnius, Lithuania were examined.
    (The JewishGen Latvia SIG has translated some of the 1897 Census records for Latvia, at http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/Latvia/AllRussia.htm;
    The JewishGen Belarus SIG has translated some of the 1897 Census records for Grodno gubernia, at http://www.jewishgen.org/Belarus/intro_1897_russian_census.htm).
  2. Only Jewish records were translated (the records include data on "religion").
  3. The majority of the original records were destroyed, and are not available today.  The following table shows the number of individuals (total population and Jewish population) recorded in the original statistical summary of the Lithuanian districts, and the number of records in the translated remnants.  As you can see, most records have been lost.  All records found in the Lithuanian State Historical Archives in Vilnius as of November 2002 have been translated for this database.

Uezd / District Gubernia Total Population * Total # of Jews * Jews as a % of Population # of Jews in Remaining Records # of Jewish Families in Remaining Records % of Jewish Records Remaining
Kovna (Kaunas) Kovno 227,431 45,353 20% 0 0 0
Vilkomir (Ukmergė) Kovno 229,118 30,153 13% 4,291 834 14%
Novo-Alexandrovsk (Zarasai) Kovno 208,487 26,463 13% 3,646 637 14%
Ponevezh (Panevėžys) Kovno 222,881 27,207 12% 1,397 251 5%
Rossieny (Raseiniai) Kovno 235,362 26,447 11% 1,083 194 4%
Telz (Telšiai) Kovno 183,351 22,695 12% 607 82 3%
Shavl (Šiauliai) Kovno 237,934 34,348 14% 713 161 2%
Kovno Gubernia Total 1,544,564 212,666 13.7% 11,737 2,159 5.5%
Vilna (Vilnius)
(not including city of Vilna)
Vilna


1,728 316

* From the Statistical Summaries published by the Imperial Russian government in 1905, available on LDS microfilm.

How this translation was obtained

In 1999, Howard Margol finalized an agreement with the Lithuanian State Historical Archives in Vilnius, for the Archives to translate the information from the 1897 census records into English, key the data into a computer, and send the data to him on diskettes.  The entire project was completed in February 2000.  Peggy Freedman helped co-ordinate the data collected for the project.  The translated data was moved from Word documents into a database, and now, thanks to the JewishGen wizards, is searchable by name, place, soundex value and keyword.

Howard donated the Word documents for the entire translation of existing Jewish records from the 1897 census to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.  The FHL re-produced this document on microfiche.  The title on the microfiche is "1897 census extracts from Lithuania".  The Family History Library Catalogue (FHLC) description is: "Filming: 459 exposures on 10 microfiches (105 mm.), GS6001828".  You can order in a copy of the microfiche through your local LDS Family History Center (FHC).  The microfiche ordering number is 6,001,828.

Data Fields

Town If this entry is from Form [V], the name of the town is listed.
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).  In this database, the gubernia will be either Kovno (Kaunas) or Vilna (Vilnius).  See list of districts, below.
Address
  1. If information is from Form [A] or Form [B], this is the name of the rural Estate or Village where the family lived.
  2. 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 "Kovna Street" is "Kovenskaia Street").
Landowner /
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.  They may or may not be related, but we felt that the information that they lived together was important.

Name Surname and Given Name(s) of each individual. Transliterated from Cyrillic.
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.
Father A patronymic — the father's given name — is part of the Russian naming convention.  Patronymics are usually included with the individualís given name and surname, for example "Peisakh Abramovich Katz" means "Peisakh, son of Abram, surname Katz".  The fathers' given names have been extracted from the patronymic and put into their own column for this database.
Relationship 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 individualís relationship to the Head of Household.
Comments Any notes made by the census taker.
Born / Registered / Living

Place of Birth, Place of Registration, and Place Living.  These three location columns give some of the most interesting information in the Census.  It was common that a person lived in one place, but was officially registered in another place.  These columns give an idea of how our ancestors moved, and why we canít find them in the places that we expect to find them!

Because many of these locations are so small that they are not included on the commonly used genealogical lists of places, they are included in this database just as they were transliterated from the original.

To facilitate research into place names, we have extracted a list of all place names appearing in this database, which appears at the bottom of this introduction.

Some unusual terms can appear in these columns:

  • Folwark — The name comes from the German word "Vorwerk".  A general meaning of this term is an administrative area where taxes are collected.  Folwarks first appeared as the land was given by grand dukes to clergy, cloisters and high ranking people.  Sometimes several folwarks are in one village.  Folwark may also mean an area of land that belonged to representatives of nobility.
  • Zastenok — (Polish - zascianok).  In Poland (Polesye and Volyn) the name means a piece of land that was adjacent to, but not part of, a village.  It was separated from a village's land by a natural border; forest, mountain, swamp, etc.  Every resident of the village could use the land of the zastenok, but he had to pay money for the use of the land.  In Lithuania, zastenok means an area of land that was settled by lower ranking nobility.  The family worked on the land by themselves.
  • Korchma — This was a tavern.  In many places, the tavern was a kosher bed and breakfast, catering to Jews who were traveling.  The sale of wine and spirits to the general public was also a function of the Korchma.  In some Korchmas, only the sale of wine and spirits was involved.
  • Estate — In many instances, a Jewish family lived on an Estate rather than in a city or village.  Generally speaking, the head of the family worked for the owner of the Estate as a blacksmith, bookkeeper, manager, or in some other capacity.
Source

The archive, fond, series, and file number of the original record.

All of these records are from the Lithuanian State Historical Archives in Vilnius ("LVIA" = Lietuvos Valstybės Istorijos Archyvas).

For example, "LVIA / 768 / 1 / 54" indicates that this record is from the Lithuanian State Historical Archives (LVIA), fond (record group) number 768, series 1, file 54.

Where can I obtain more information about persons appearing on this database?

If you do find your ancestors or relatives in this database, and you would like to receive a photocopy of the original census page that they are listed on, you can write to the Lithuanian State Historical Archives at:

Lietuvos Valstybės Istorijos Archyvas
Gerosios Vilties 16
2009 Vilnius
Lithuania

For a nominal fee, they will send you a copy.  You must send them your ancestral information contained in this database, together with the Source (the fond, series, and file number), so that no research would be required.  The original record is handwritten in Russian (Cyrillic alphabet).

Bibliography

  • Bangsberg, Tara.  “The Russian Index: Russian Census Returns, A Tutorial”.  (Puyallup, WA : Privately published, 1993).  LDS Family History Library, Salt Lake City, microfilm #1,183,690 Item 1.
  • Clem, Ralph S.  Research Guide to the Russian and Soviet Censuses.  Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1986.
  • Edlund, Thomas K.  “The 1st National Census of the Russian Empire”,  FEEFHS Journal, volume VII, numbers 3-4, Fall/Winter 1999, pages 88-97.
  • Edlund, Thomas K.  “The Russian National Census of 1897”,  Avotaynu. XVI:3 (Fall 2000), pages 29-39.
  • Margol, Howard with Freedman, Peggy.  “The 1897 All-Empire Russian Census”,  Avotaynu. XVIII:3 (Fall 2002), pages 23-24.
  • Mehr, Kahlile.  “Russian Genealogy Primer”,  Everton's Genealogical Helper. September/October 1999, pages 50-54.
  • Tsentral'niyi statisticheskii komitet (Central Statistical Committee). Pervaia vseobshchaia perepis naseleniia Rossiiskoi imperii, 1897 g. (Statistical summaries of the first complete census of the population of the Russian Empire, 1897).  Washington DC: Library of Congress, 1977. microfilm.
  • Shea, Jonathan D., and William F. Hoffman.  In Their Words: A Genealogist's Translation Guide to Polish, German, Latin, and Russian Documents. Volume II: Russian.  (New Britain, CT: Language & Lineage Press, 2002).  pages 320-328.

Place Names appearing in this Database

There appear to be duplicates based on different transliterations of the same word.  But just as there is a Rome, Georgia; a Rome, New York; and a Rome, Italy; there may be duplicate names of places in the Russian Empire.  We have documented three towns called colloquially "Ponemon" in Lithuania: two in Novo-Aleksandrovsk district and one in Suwałki district.  We have tried to err on the side of over-inclusion, instead of arbitrarily combining places when we are not certain if they are the same.

  • Towns:  Akmene, Anyksciai, Debeikiai, Gargzdai, Jurbarkas, Kelme, Konstantinova, Kupiskis, Kvetkai, Michaliskes, New Zagare, Pasvalys, Pumpenai, Rietavas, Rokiskis, Salakas, Salociai, Skapiskis, Skuodas, Taurage, Tauragnai, Utena, Vidzia, Vilkomir.
  • Volosts (Counties):  Akmene, Alsedziaia / Olsiady, Andronishki, Anyksciai, Debeikiai, Gorgzhdy, Iurburg, Kelme, Kibury, Konstantinovo, Kvetkai, Labardziai, Michaliskes, Mickunai, New Zagare, Obeliai, Oloty', Opsy', Paberze, Pandelys, Papile, Papili, Pasvalys, Pogiry(Pagiriai), Ponemon, Pumpenai, Redutka, Remigola, Rietavas, Rokiskis, Salakas, Salociai, Sartininkai, Seda, Sirvintos, Skapiskis, Skrebotiskis, Skudutiskis, Skuodas, Taurage, Tauragnai, Utena, Varnenai, Vaskai, Vekshny, Vidzia, Vilkomir, Vizhuny.
  • Estates, Villages and Miscellany:  "Ugol" Survilinski, Aiasuginy II Zastenok, Alsedziai-water-mill, Alsiai Village, Antsyshki Estate, Azhubale Village, Banishki (Village or Estate), Barklaini Village, Beriozovka Village, Blagodat or Vizhunelki (Village or Estate), Bobordze Village, Bolniki Village, Boreishy (Village or Estate), Breviki-water-mill, Budreiki (Village or Estate), Budryki (Village or Estate), Butmanishki Zastenok, Chekantsy Village, Chernishki Village, Debekantsy Village (vyselok), Deguliai Estate, Dobule Estate, Dymshyshki Folvark, Dzirmuny Village, French mill, Gelazy Village, Gerviaty Estate, Gerviaty Village, Gerviaty, mill, Gikanai Village, Gimogiry (Village or Estate), Glinianka Village, Gotaine Village, Goza Village, Grigale Kropinia Village (vyselok), Grikogtele Village, Gudzeniki Mill, Gvozdika Korchma (tavern), Iamontsy (Village or Estate), Iarishki Village, Iasmildy Village, Iatsyny Village, In the school garden (Shkolni Dvor), Indrobka 2 zastenok, Indrobki Village, Iotaineli Village, Izabeliny (Village or Estate), Jasonys Village, Jodelunga Zastenok, Kalamets Village (vyselok), Kalieki (Village or Estate), Katenki, zastenok, Kavlinishki (Village or Estate), Kazatchizna Estate, Keidy Village, Keli Village, Kelma Korcma (Tavern), Kemuny Village, Keskishki Village, Ketraki Folvark, Kibury Estate, Kirov Estate, Kivili Village, Komiany Korchma (Tavern), Kopeitsi Village, Korchma (tavern), Korchma (Tavern) Rabbi, Kosse Skrobitski Village, Krasovka 2, zastenok, Kuchkurishki settlement, Kudra Folvark, Kukuchi Village, Kurkletzkoye Village, Kurkletzy Village, Kurkliai-Antoezerone Village, Kushleikishki Village, Kutniany Village, Kvykliai Village, Laveshevo Zastenok, Leliuny Village, Leonishki Village, Lezetzki Estate, Liaskovka Korchma (tavern), Liguny Estate, Linkishki Village, Lipsk Estate, Lotovo (Village or Estate), Magazinki Folvark, Malange Village, Mange Estate, Markuny, Village owners Estate, Martsynishki Korchma (tavern), Matekhi Village, Matseiuntsi Village, Meiluny Estate, Melgidze Village, Merchant's house ("khata") Viple, Michany Estate, Miliuny Village / Belaya Korczma Zastenok, Mitskuny Estate, Mokiany Village (okolitsa), Mozeiki Village, Muravanka Village, Nerteiki, Estate, Novaia Postinka, Novaia Postinka suburb, Novocady Village, Novosady Village, Oloty' Village, Osinovka Folvark, Ostrovets Estate, Pakalna Village, Pakalniai Village, Paketse Estate, Papishki 1c Folvark, Papshy housing Estate, Parkhuvka Estate, Pekishki Korchma (Tavern), Pelishki Estate, Peskishki Village, Pezy, Planki Village, Plebantsy Village, Pob Andronishki, Pobkalne Estate, Pod Andronishki, Podyrmishki folvark, Estate Dubiany, Pogrundzy Village, Pogulianka zastenok, Pokopine Zastenok, Popelali (Village or Estate), Povary Folvark, Prapultine Estate, Pumple Village, Pushkarnia, factory, Pustynka Estate, Radeikiai Village, Radziuliany Village, Rashkovshchizna Estate, Ripine Village, Robert Simon(?) Estate, Rodiuliar Village, Rokantiski Village, Romanovshchizna Folvark, Romashkantsy Zastenok, Rovnoe pole, zastenok, Rovnoie pole, zastenok, Rurishki Village, Rykhlishki Village, Rymddziuny Korchma (tavern), Rynki Zastenok, Sabany, Sadelishki Village, Salakas Village Community, Seda Village, Shakali Village, Shamony Estate, Shileiki Estate, Shkolni Dvor, Shunebude Zastenok, Silgishki Village, Sirvinty Village, Skrabastiskis, Estate, Skrebishki (Village or Estate), Skrobitzki Folvark, Skudutiskis Village, Slobodka Village, Smoliarki Folvark, Sodolishki Village, Staraia Postinka, Stebiaki Village, Sterkanski "ugol", Svidze Estate, Tavkiuny Village, Tsady 2, Tsegelishki, Estate, Tsengelishki, Estate, Tsorny Estate, Tsygodka Folvark, Untupe Village, Vainutas Village, Vaishnorovcy Village, Vartachi zastenok, Vengelishki Estate, Verbi Village, Vershubka Korchma (tavern), Versuba, mill in the Estate, Verzhovka Zastenok, Vileika Village, Villki Village, Vitsiuni Village, Vodopoi, korchma near vil. Rekantsiski, Voitshki zastenok, Vsisviatskaia Village, Vygodka Village, Zeibagoly (Liuny) folvark, Zheimeli Estate, Zhezdry Village, Zurkletze Estate, Zverinets (Forest house), Zvirbliany folvark.


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The Lithuania 1897 Census Database can be searched via the JewishGen Lithaunia Database.


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