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Introduction to the Kremenets Shtetl CO-OP

Coordinators: Ron Doctor, Sheree Roth, and Ellen Garshick

The Kremenets Shtetl CO-OP is a worldwide group of people who trace our ancestors to Kremenets and the towns of the Kremenets District in present-day Ukraine.

Ron and Sheree formed the CO-OP in August 2000, following the IAJGS Conference in Salt Lake City. We are part of Jewish Records Indexing Ė Poland (JRI-Poland), and we work cooperatively with the Kremenets District Research Group.

What is Kremenets? Kremenets is at 50į 06' / 25į 43', about midway between Ternopil and Dubno, in western Ukraine.

Before the partitions of Poland (1772 to 1795), Kremenets was part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. After the partitions, Kremenets came under Russian rule.

Following World War I, when Poland was restored as a nation, Kremenets once again came under Polish rule, and remained part of Poland until an agreement between Russia and the Nazis once again divided Poland. Kremenets fell under Russian rule.

Before World War II, Kremenets had about 15,000 Jews (about 8,000 permanent residents and 7,000 refugees), 40% of the population. Only 14 survived the war. There is a monument at the site of the mass grave where the Nazis murdered the Jews of Kremenets in 1942. Today, about 20 Jews live in Kremenets.

More about Kremenets

Gradually, we are building a photo collection on our website to show historic Kremenets as well as Kremenets today.

What does the Kremenets Shtetl CO-OP do?

Vital Records. Originally, our purpose was to translate and make publicly available the approximately 15,000 vital records (birth, marriage, and death records, 1870-1907) that the Mormons had microfilmed. The records are handwritten in 19th-century Russian and Hebrew/Yiddish. Some years are incomplete or missing. Unfortunately, the ledgers have no index pages, which made our translation project even more important. The CO-OP posts English language indexes to proofed records online in the Jewish Records Indexing Ė Poland database.

The vital records are an incredibly rich source of information. For example, the birth records include not only the given names of the newborn, but also the fatherís surname, the mother's and father's given names, and sometimes the motherís and fatherís patronymics and motherís birth surname. Many records include the social class of the father and the motherís father and the town or shtetl in which they were registered. Some even include the given name and surname of the motherís father and his social class and registration town.

Since our formation, we have expanded our scope to include all the material we can find about Kremenets and its surrounding villages.

Yizkor Books. For Kremenets, those materials include two 450-page Yizkor Books (one published in Tel Aviv and one in Buenos Aires), 18 Booklets published by the Organization of Kremenets Emigrants, and a Yizkor Book for Vishnevets. See a complete list of translations.

Cemetery Project. In addition, we have begun a project in cooperation with the Mayor and Town Council of Kremenets to document, restore, and maintain the Jewish Cemetery of Kremenets. The cemetery contains more than 7,500 matzevot. About 50 are from the 16th century, and 70 are from the 17th and 18th centuries.

Revizskie Skazki (Census) records. We are also translating Mormon microfilms of the various Revizskie Skazki (Census) records for Kremenets, covering the years 1806-1874.

Central Archives Documents. We have also obtained copies of documents from the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People. These include vital records, residents lists, and many other documents, some of which date to the 1500s.

How can I find out more about these resources? Our website includes many resources for those interested in Kremenets. We urge you to explore the site, and, if you can add to it in any way, please do so. One of the most important resources on the site is an Indexed Concordance of Personal Names and Town Names derived from the vital records and other records we have translated to date. The Concordance identifies the source of each record and the location of the record in each source. We have developed the Introduction and Guide to the Concordance as well as How to Use the Indexed Concordance to help you use the Concordance efficiently.

To assist our volunteers and researchers, we have developed a number of transliteration aids that can help you recognize names and keywords. You do not need to be fluent in either Russian or Hebrew, but you do need to be able to read (or at least, recognize) the Cyrillic and/or Hebrew alphabets.

How can I help? Although the CO-OP is volunteer-based, we use paid professional translators to accelerate some of our translation projects. Our success depends on your assistance. You can help make the project a success by donating money or by donating your time (or both!).

We need funds to cover the fees of professionals working on our translation projects. Your financial contribution will help our projects move forward.

If you have any suggestions regarding our projects, or if you just want to be kept informed of our progress, please contact either Sheree or Ron.

Revised 2019

 

 

 


 

Copyright © 2013 Ron Doctor and Sheree Roth. Last Updated in 2018.