The Lyakhovichi Tax Lists of 1883-1884

Complete Lyakhovichi Records Catalog (Google Docs Spreadsheet)

Russian Tax Stamps of the 1870s

A New Look at the 1883 and 1884 Tax Lists
By Deborah Glassman, copyright 2008

In April 2008, as webmaster, I was preparing many individual pages on the Lyakhovichi site for our May update. Dr. Neville Lamdan drew to my attention that our voters pages for twentieth century Duma lists were labeled incorrectly – their titling suggested that they had been found in a record created in Lyakhovichi, rather than accurately reflecting their extraction from a larger list of Slutsk uyezd voters. After I thanked him and made the correction, I went back to examine other records that had long been posted on the site, to check that their accompanying information was correct. This brought me to the Tax Lists of 1883 and 1884. I had not had plans to make any changes to this group of records. They had been discovered by Dr. Lamdan, copied and translated by the efforts of the Lyakhovichi Research Group, and then donated to be entered into the JewishGen Belarus SIG index, long ago. But an examination of the material turned up an interesting fact.

The records were alphabetized, but they had a household or ordering number. I had never seen these records organized by their sequence number, I had only seen them in the alphabetical order in which they had been given to me to post. So I copied and pasted the list back into a table I could manipulate, and proceeded to sort them by household number. A really exciting thing happened. I recognized the first person on the list as carrying a surname that had been the first name listed on the 1816, the 1834, and the 1850 Revision Lists. Recently, with multiple years of the Revision Lists to examine, I have been able to document a correlation between the sequence of household numbers in different “census” years. It worked solidly from 1816 and 1819 (which turned out to be a kind of supplement to 1816) to 1834. You could see that household after household was repeated in the same order, in the earlier and in the 1834 Revision Lists. Now, by creating a two column list of the 1884 tax list and the 1850 Revision List, I found a long run (to around household #250 on the tax list), that could be identified in sequence in the 1850 Revision List!

It did something else too. You could see which people with the same surname in the tax lists came from different households. You could see the relationship of people in the tax lists to those who were listed sequentially to them who also came from those same households – it was a way to identify the grandchildren of a man listed in 1850, to show the relationship of first cousins and nephews as well as sons and brothers. It also proved that the column labeled “transport” on the lists which was only filled in for deputies and electors, was in fact the ages of the men who had to be age qualified (it was age 24 in the national elections of 1906-1912, but I have not verified the age requirement for these tax lists) to be eligible to vote or represent.

These findings cannot yet be extended to those who were electors (eligible to elect a deputy) or the deputies themselves, the list only seems to work for the main tax list. Yet it does still give us a way to learn about some of the deputies and electors. We find that the deputies all seemed to have been elected for both 1883 and 1884, while the electors are only documented for a single year. Many of the electors were therefore also listed in the regular tax list for 1884 and so we can learn about them as well. It also turns up a surprising fact about many of these men of sufficient property to vote – a number of them were relative latecomers to Lyakhovichi – not present in 1850 and probably only arriving around the time of the 1874 Revision List.

What does it tell us about a family, with an "old Lyakhovichi surname" whose placement on the tax lists indicates their family was first documented on a Revision List of 1874 or later? It means that they or their immediate family member who was the head of household, was not present in Lyakhovichi in 1850. They could have been absent or missed (two separate conditions in a Revision List), they could have been members of a family that was from Lyakhovichi, while their particular branch had been registered elsewhere. They could be the offspring of a returned recruit or their ancestor/ head of household could have previously been a guild merchant who did not have to register in the Revision Lists. If the family name was not previously recorded in Lyakhovichi, the choices included the most straight-forward explanation - that the head of this family came to Lyakhovichi after 1850 and before 1884.

Jews in Lyakhovichi and the tax lists

There were multiple groups of Jews in Lyakhovichi who will or will not appear in the tax lists.

  1. The Poor Jews - Jews with no taxable resources will not show up in the tax lists. In a 1905 article in the Minsk Vedomosti (thanks to Vitaly Charny’s statistical translation for the Belarus SIG) we find 636 poor Jews in Lyakhovichi in a Jewish population of 1436. Almost fifty percent of the Jews were found not to have taxable resources. Assuming no sudden impoverishment, I would expect that 1884 would tell a comparable tale, that is, for almost fifty percent of the Jewish population to not be recorded on the tax lists.

  2. Those on the main tax list - Assumed to largely be the male proprietors of businesses, male owners of small real estate holdings, and some males with long term leases. I would like to publish an actual translation of those liable for these taxes, investigation continues.

  3. Those who were eligible to vote for deputies. These Electors were all owners of homes and/or of business real estate. The deputies were selected from among the Electors. If a person was listed as an Elector and or as a Deputy, they may not have been listed separately in the tax list.

  4. Guild Merchants were not included in some Revision Lists, it is not clear if they were listed in the tax lists.

  5. Females: So far females have not been identified in the 1883-1884 Tax List though some were heads of family in 1850 and female guild merchants are specified in the 1834 and 1850 descriptions accompanying the Lyakhovichi Revision Lists.

  6. Minors: The age of majority in Russia was 21, but for some civil purposes taxpayers could not be listed (i.e. for being an elector) until they reached a higher age, such as 24 for the provincial dumas. I am not sure of the age requirement for those listed in the municipal tax lists or in municipal elections, I hope to find relevant information to publish in the future. The deputies on the 1883-1884 tax lists ranged from aged 32 to age 67, the majority were in their forties and fifties.

  7. Jews who were legally resident in another community. It is not clear if the property owned by Jews was assessed solely in their town of residence. But until the All-Russia Census of 1897, local Revision Lists did not report those who were not legally resident in the town.

Other ways to use these tax lists in the future. There are 1,016 taxpayers on this list divided among the tax list, the electors list and the deputies list. Some are reported more than once, as a small portion of the total appeared as electors and deputies in addition to a third appearance simply as taxpayers. There is still much to learn from this source. Is there a way of interpreting the amounts that were owed so as to reconstruct the assets claimed - does a particular type of total indicate real estate or movable assets or a combination thereof? Since we know that those who were reported in the tax list after #255 do not show up on a Lyakhovichi Revision List before 1874, are we looking at an immigration list of those who moved to Lyakhovichi in the 1860s and 1880s? Is it valuable to note that all 500+ latecomers to the 1884 Tax List arrived with, or quickly gained, taxable property? Were assetless newcomers turned away or absorbed into the poor of the town? Would we see a comparable list of Lyakhovichi people in other nearby towns or was Lyakhovichi a particular draw in this time period? Did the act of moving to a nearby town and becoming a legal resident of that town, mandate a certain amount of assets? Again we invite others to point us toward relevant publications, and to those among the community of scholars who might be researching these points.

The 1884 Ruble, the unit of money in which taxes were paid

See the Complete Lyakhovichi Records Catalog - 1850 to 1883 1884 Comparison tab for the first 255 listings of the 1850 Revision List and 1884 Tax List.

Other Government Records of Imperial Russia

Russian Gendarmes (Police of the Ministry of Internal Affairs)

They reported to the Ispravnik, the Chief of Police for the Gubernia who reported solely to the Governor of Minsk Gubernia. They rounded up people who didn’t report for the draft, or were delinquent in their taxes, and Jews who were not carrying the proper papers when traveling outside the Pale.

Russian Gendarme in photograph

Searching for Genealogical Data

Taxpayers appearing with Brothers, Sons, and Relatives
By Deborah Glassman, copyright 2008

In earlier commentary of our Russian Tax Lists, I mentioned how in April 2008, I reexamined all of the long-standing materials on the website including the Tax Lists of 1883-1884. I found that the ordering number was significant in that it mirrored the sequence of families enumerated in the 1850 Revision List for the first 250 families in the list, and that while many families reported in 1850 did not appear as taxpayers in 1884, there were none in that first 250 names that had not previously appeared in the Revision List in that order.

I also learned that the order in which the taxpayers of 1883-1884 were listed reflected their relationships among their family members. The first person listed in a family group was the head of family, and was then followed by sons or brothers or other people who shared a relationship with a party in the connected family of the 1850 Revision List. Unlike when we looked at an alphabetical list - we now had a way of telling whether Leib Yankelev Something or Other was the father or son of Yankel Leibov Something or Other. The 250 families that meshed with the 1850 Revision List was a wonderful opportunity to see the patterns in action, to learn if a name pattern always occurred in a particular way or just occasionally. The name patterns of" "head of family followed by his son or his brothers" remained the same. We then had a second tool that could be used to create the list on this page - a table that would detail all of those who were recorded with recognizable near-family members in sequential order in the tax list.

Who Appears on this List?

People who owned taxable property, who have an entry as a regular taxpayer in 1884 (not exclusively as a Deputy or Elector), and who are reported with a same-surname party immediately sequentially to their listing in the 1884 Tax List. With a few rare exceptions, we do not yet have a way of identifying those whose adjacent party is a son-in-law, father-in-law, or brother-in-law.

There are 165 people who are "Heads of Families" from whom the relationship to others in the family are drawn. There are more than 400 people who can be newly identified in this table. Fathers of taxpayers are not counted towards this tally unless they themselves are taxpayers in 1883-1884 - this is not a list of patronyms.

New Questions to Pursue

How was the tax list recording done? Did people come in and make out sworn testimony? Does the location of residence impact any part of this listing? If we learned the names of more married daughters would we find that son-in-laws are recorded sequentially to their fathers-in-law as often as sons? Are there other tax lists of Lyakhovichi for different years? How does the tax list of Lyakhovichi connect to other government documents of Slutsk uyezd? Do the Slutsk uyezd voters’ lists tie back to taxpayer lists filed by individual towns? Are there surviving records of Tax Courts, assessment lists, tax liens, etc. from Lyakhovichi, from Slutsk uyezd, from Minsk gubernia?

Taxpayers in Russian Tax Lists who appear with more info
in the 1874 List of Jewish Males of Lyakhovichi

Every source of new information changes the way we can use previously acquired data. The List of Jewish Taxpayers in Lyakhovichi from 1883-1884 is an incredibly valuable source., We have recently seen that the Tax Lists can be tied to the Revision Lists in that the order of previous Revision List sequencing is duplicated in the tax lists. A quick perusal of the latest data from the 1874 List of Jewish Males, shows interesting correlations there as well but first it provides a wide ranging new source of data on men who were previously just names in a list. Almost all of the men in the tax lists, also appear in the 1874 List of Jewish Males. Time constraints for this update forced me to do the briefest intro to the value of these records - so the list just looks at those chosen for Deputies in 1884 (to represent Lyakhovichi taxpayers). Each of these men has appeared in the Russian Tax Records with a name, patronym, and an age (provided for Deputies and Electors but not for general taxpayers). The age allowed me an additional check that these were likely matches for people with the same name, patronym, and general age range in the 1874 list.

Ages in the 1883 and 1884 Tax Lists

The Tax Lists of Lyakhovichi were among the earliest records donated to JewishGen by the efforts of the Lyakhovichi Special Interest Group. But years later, we are still learning about the data contained in them. We have learned that their sequence is tied to the order of the Revision Lists and that the first 250 taxpayers recorded as regular taxpayers, not deputies or electors, appear in the same sequence and order as they do in the 1850 Revision List. That let us determine the relationships between men of shared surnames in the Tax List as well as understanding their connection to families long resident in the town. The information is only given for Deputies and Electors, and is in fact the age of those men. This was first verified last year when the 1834 and 1850 Revision Lists were made available, and it is completely sustained by the information in the 1874 List of Lyakhovichi Males and the 1859-1884 Revision List Supplements.

Why are there no ages for the regular taxpayers? We know Russian law required proof of different ages for voting, for representing voters, and for administering tasks of the community. The proof of age of a deputy or an elector may be tied to that, but we have only the facts, not the reasons behind them, so far.

The list below puts the Deputies and Electors in age order from the youngest to the oldest, only Mikhael Leibovich Ravinovich appears without an age when the record is not otherwise damaged. Our youngest elector, a male eligible to vote for Jewish representatives of the community, is 25. He is Berko Movshov Vinograd. Our oldest member of the voting population is Yudel son of Nechemiah Sluchak. He is a reported age of 79. In the 1850 Revision List, he appears as age 52. Either his age was raised earlier to move him more quickly out of conscription age or he is closer to 86 years of age at the time of this Tax List. Both possibilities remain open after finding that his age is reported as 80 in the 1874 List of Males.

The youngest of the Deputies is 33, there are two that age: Idel Movshov Gellin and Sholomo Vulfov Tsekhanovich. The majority of the Deputies are in their 40s and 50s, the oldest are Shloma Vulfov Galay and Govsey Khavimov Berkovich who are both 63.

I had not realized until handling the material in this way that we do not have an elector’s list from 1883. We have a Deputy List from 1883, a Deputy List from 1884, an Elector’s List from 1884 and a Taxpayer’s list from 1884. clearly the 1883 Deputies were chosen by Electors, perhaps you have come across the list in your research?

Suggest more tools for us to use with these Tax Lists. Help us learn more!