The Melitopol City 1906 Voters List

This list contains the names of over 5480 men of Melitopol City who were eligible to vote in the Russian parliamentary elections in 1906.


General Information about the Voter Lists

 This text is similar to the preface to ‘The Grodno Gubernia 1912 Voters List Database”, which is a part of the All Belarus Database. Moreover, several parts of the above mentioned text were used unchanged.

Elections for the Russian parliament (Duma) were held in 1906, 1907, and 1912. There were several factors that qualified voters. Only men over age 25 were allowed to vote. Other criteria were based on estate distinctions and economic status. Voting was permitted for homeowners, merchants, state officials, and the noble and so on. Some of these groups often overlapped.

 In each of the gubernias (provinces) that made up Czarist Russia at the turn of XX century, lists of persons qualified to vote were published in the official government regional newspapers, the Gubernskie Vedomosti. For more information on the voter lists and the Gubernskie Vedomosti, see the introduction to Alexander Beider's A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Russian Empire (Avotaynu, 1993), and the article "Gubernskie Vedomosti: A Genealogical Resource" by Aleksandrs Feigmanis, in Avotaynu Volume XII, Number 4 (Winter 1996), pages 27-28.

       Melitopol City was the center of Melitopol uyezd of Tavricheskaya Gubernia. Its population in that time was approximately 15,000, so 5480 voters made up a very big percent of total number of men. Jewish population in that city reached its percentage maximum (56 %) in 1921, but was significant all the time at the beginning of XX century. A lot of Jews in Melitopol came from Jewish rural colonies in Yekaterinoslav and Kherson Gubernias. Therefore data on Melitopol Voters lists are important for Jewish genealogy and genealogy of Jewish colonies of that time. They are based on the publication in Tavricheskie Gubernskie Vedomosti in December 1906.

What is in the List: Interpreting Results

This list contains names of approximately 5480 men of Melitopol who were eligible to vote in Russian parliamentary elections in 1906. We show here all the voters, Jews and non-Jews. A precise number of voters can’t be determined due to very poor quality of lists. It seems that lists made by different criteria were simply put together later, so one man could appear several times, sometimes even under somewhat different names. Besides, the officials that collected the voters’ names didn’t standardize them. Thus we meet for example names Mordukh, Mordkha, Mordkh and Mordkhaj; Lev, Lejba and Lejb often for the same man. Another example - alike but still a little different surnames of closest relatives (e.g. Bentsion Berenshtam and his son Boris Bernshtam). We didn’t standardize names either. In these conditions identifying of several records on the same voter causes no problem, when all the parts of his Russian full name (given name, patronymics and surname) in all the mentions coincide, or differ with evident variations or shortenings (for example Danila and Daniil for given name, Ivanovich and Ivanov for patronymics). These records were melted into one in all of the cases. A conditional amalgamating was made in cases when one of compared records is incomplete (lacking patronymic as a rule) or in one of these records a Jewish name is russified in standard manner (Girsh to Grigorij, Lejba to Lev, Berko to Boris etc.). But in some cases we couldn’t decide whether to melt together the suspicious pairs of records.

             We present the data for users in two forms:

1) For English speaking users the list has three fields for each voter:

2) For users having the Microsoft Office with English & Russian languages installed the list has three fields for each voter too:

When users interpret these data, they must keep in mind the lability of names and surnames in period in question. In most cases, for example, a father’s first name derived from patronymics was not a real name of person’s father, but the name which that person wanted to see as part of his full name. Thus a person, whose father had been called Mojshe all his life, could use russified form Mikhajlovich as a patronymic.

Transliteration Method

The voter lists were published in Russian (the Cyrillic alphabet) and used pre-revolution orthography. So the transliteration problems were of three kinds.

        A. Transformation from pre-revolution orthography and elimination of evident errors in voting lists. Rules for orthographic transformation are simple, but one of them – a demand to use “s” instead of  “z” at the end of prefix when the next consonant is voiceless – was ignored by us. It is common practice that man can use a surname as “Bezpalov” if he wishes, while orthography demands “Bespalov”. The obvious typos as “Gkadkov” instead of “Gladkov” and similar ones were corrected. Both parts of double first names or double surnames were connected by hyphen.

        B. We attempted to solve the problem arising from three-way pronunciation of Russian “e” – as “ye”, “e” and “yo” as follows. We used “yo” in all the unambiguous cases of such pronunciation (in names as “Pyotr”,”Semyon”,”Fyodor” and so on). When using of “yo” was not evident (for example, in surnames as Binev or Binyov) we wrote “e”. Alternative using “e” and “ye” will be discussed later with all Russian vowels.

        C. We applied for transliteration from the Cyrillic alphabet into the Latin alphabet the most used today rules of Russian names to English (not to German) transliteration. It means using of “F” to write “Fogel”, “V” to write “Vanda”, “Z” to write “Zelman”, “Ts” to write “Frants”, “Sh” to write “Shaya”, “Ch” to write “Charles”. For diphthong “ei”, typical for German and Yiddish, we used “ej”, “ei” or “aj”, form that was used by given person in Russian. Only the formshteinwas systematically corrected toshtejn”. For Russian “yoted” wovels we used forms “ya”, “ye”,”yo”, and”yu” with one exception:  in the middle of word we wrote “e” instead of “ye”, that is we wrote Yegor, but Veniamin, not Vyeniamin. In some cases we supposed that “L” is analogous to German soft consonant “L”. We didn’t transform Girsh to Hirsh and so on, as recommended our precursors because of evident parallelism between “Girsh” and “Grigorij” in Russian Jew practice.

       The main part of work on preparing this list to demonstration on the web-site was made by Victor N. Kumok.