Creating a resource for collaborative research
on the history of the Jewish community
in what is today Lyakhovichi, Belarus    


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This site is created as a way to further research and publication of materials on the history of Lyakhovichi.If you have been aided in your research and wish to contribute materials and resources to further our knowledge, contact Gary Palgon and ask how you can help.

This site is hosted at no cost by JewishGen, Inc., the Home of Jewish Genealogy. If you have been aided in your research by this site and wish to further our mission of preserving our history for future generations, your JewishGen-erosity is greatly appreciated.

Documents of Lyakhovichi History in the 19th Century

This is a page in our Documents section. Click the Documents button in the left-hand column to see additional resources

Nineteenth Century Documents Created about Lyakhovichi Inhabitants
by Deborah G. Glassman copyright, 2005

The information on this page is from two types of sources. Original records which are today in the Belarus National Historical Archives in Minsk. We have examined them in the original, in microfilm, and in other photoduplication. These records were obtained through the efforts of the Lyakovichi research group, an informal association of researchers interested in Lyakhovichi, who have made the financial contribution necessary to acquire these valuable records. Many of the records have been identified or analyzed by Dr. Neville Lamdan in his on-site research in the Belarus archives, others have been laboriously uncovered by Dr. Lamdan's efforts to find Lyakhovichi-specific material hidden in inventories of microfilmed copies of fonds in Belarus and Poland. Secondary materials Nineteenth Century records that have been archived, published, or made available to researchers, and from which the Lyakhovichi Webmaster or Lyakhovichi research volunteers have been able to create indices and/or to publish facsimiles. In the descriptions of these records we move backwards through the century, hopefully leading you from resource to resource, as your research progresses from the last known facts in a subject's life and works towards his unknown earliest days. In winter of 2008, we opened a major new source of material in publishing the 1850 Revision Lists and its Supplements through 1852, and without missing a beat, move right into the 1834 Revision Lists. Each gives details on 1100-1500 individuals and you are able to follow a number of families through new names adopted between the two periods.

Facsimiles and Translations of Original Records

First  signature page of Petition to build synagogue 1875 Second signature page of Petition to build synagogue 1875
Petition to build Synagogue in 1875
First Signature Page         Second Signature Page
Click titles to go to larger page. Hover cursor in lower right hand corner of that page for an expanded image.

The leaders of the Jewish Community signing the Russian Census of 1819 in Polish and Hebrew

Signatures of Jewish Leaders on 1819 Revision List for Lyakhovichi

click on title to go to readable version with expander icon.

Go to 1819 Revision List to see details of these signatories and a list of all the listed households and their members.

Important Notes about This Page

All names on this page were included in Surname Index corrected and updated June 2010

Find any name on this page by hitting "control F" on your keyboard and typing in the name.

Find any name anywhere on this website by going to the Google search bar and typing the name immediately before this phrase

from the word "site" to the slash after lyakhovichi (just cut and paste it into your browser)

All links on this page were validated June 2010

An Introduction to the attestation pages accompanying Russian legal and official documents
by Deborah Glassman, copyright 2007

Signature Pages have a value separate from the content of the document to which they are attached, which may be fairly mundane materials. They may show a dual list of Russian and Hebrew signatures providing a means to make the transition when previously only one or the other was known. The majority of Russian documents will list the father’s name, which may have encouraged the writer of a Hebrew signature to include it in that language too, even when a surname was also being used in the Hebrew. The Hebrew honorifics that surround the father’s name, may offer clues as to whether the father was living when the document was signed, and a father with an important title may have it permanently appended to his Hebrew name.

In the signature lists that make up the petition to build a synagogue and another list that will be added shortly, surnames in Russian are almost always accompanied by surnames in Hebrew characters (the language may be Yiddish rather than Hebrew). Sometimes the surname is in translation, sometimes it is a transliteration. Transliterations provide a way to almost hear an ancestor’s voice as they chose the letters to represent the sounds they heard the other language making. Nicknames are often clarified in the effort – men who sign themselves with the Russian-Yiddish first names of Govsey and Ovsey appear with the single signature of Yehoshua (Joshua) on the synagogue list. Shaya is clearly Isaiah, and the patronymic Zosielovich turns out only once to be a misprint for Noselovich, the other time it clearly means son of Zusa or Zusiel. Letter shifts are evidenced, the men who gave their name as Gelfand on Russian documents stood by the traditional Hebrew spelling of Helfand, despite the availablity in Hebrew, to replicate the name exactly. Men named Girsh in Russian are seen to split themselves into those who are called Hirsh and those who are called Gershon in the Hebrew script.

Then there are the surprises. In 1819 the leaders of the community witnessed the Revision List and affixed their signatures. The two languages they chose to use, were Hebrew and Polish, despite Lyakhovichi’s possession by Russia for the previous quarter century. When the Crown Rabbi of Lyakhovichi signed a document in 1874, we would have expected this Russian official (appointed by the Crown, not selected by the community) to have been proficient in the Yiddish and Hebrew of his compatriots and he does not disappoint. But his signature is in Polish, not Russian, on the one document we so far have. Is that a salute to the authorities in Lyakhovichi which for most of the nineteenth century elected Polish Catholic officials to government office? Will we find that lack of Russian language skills terminates his position early or will we find him providing notary documents for the Justice of the Peace in Lyakhovichi in Russian which is part of his job description? We need more samples before we can come to conclusions and each example helps us build our knowledge on additional subjects relevant to Lyakhovichi research. In what order did the community's male membership sign documents? Does the large “John Hancock” like signature that is the first of 56 Jewish names on the Petition to build a synagogue, convey something that we should know about Echiel Maziya? Is there a reason that this first person to sign the page, is one of very few with no Hebrew signature? Share your insights and share the images that you have gotten from archives in your Lyakhovichi searches. We will post every one of them originating in our town!