Research Tools - Newspapers
This is a page in our Special Record Collections and Jurisdictions section. To see all of the resources of this area, click the "Collections" button in the left-hand column
This page should eventually include information on the Minsk Vedemosti, Yiddish language newspapers distributed in the Lyakhovichi area (a number are reported as published in Baranovichi), Russian and Polish language newspapers to which locals are known to have subscribed, and the newspapers in the lands of eventual settlement that can contribute to our research.
Man reading Yiddish Paper
by Belarussian artist Yehuda Pen c.1914, the subject reads Der Fraynd, published in St Petersburg.
For instance -
On the first page of our site there are a number of different spelling variants for Lyakhovichi and its historically accurate names like Lechowitz, Lechowicz, Lachowicze, et al. As more newspapers, books, periodicals, and government and private archival materials, have been digitized, we now have a new search venue in which to use them. The prospect of searching those materials with optical character reading software has become a reality. I searched a database of newspaper images for the United States and found a number of reports of events in World War I and World War II in Lyakhovichi and Baranovichi. I found some obituaries that mentioned a birthplace in our town. Others reported burials or synagogues with a name associated with Lyakhovichi. And I learned that the Brooklyn Eagle has been digitized from through 1902 and found individual members of Bnai Isaac Anshe Lechowitz synagogue mentioned in its pages.
We need your help in learning about similar materials and if you have researched or written about these sources we would like to post your information.
Russian Newspapers (beginning with the Official Guberniya Gazettes)
Minsk Vedemosti Masthead
The Russian government divided its area into guberniyas (around fifty nationwide and fifteen in the area called the Pale of Settlement in which Jews were allowed to reside). Each of these guberniyas had a city that served as its central administrative center, though the national government in St Petersburg and Moscow retained full authority over even minute details of guberniya life. Each of the guberniyas was required to publish an official gazette or a vedemostii, a publication of legal notice, in which tax delinquencies, bankruptcies, draft notices, and other official notices could be published from its administrative center. In a guberniya like Podolia (in today’s Ukraine), the administrative center had a different name than the guberniya so you will find the Podolia Vedemosti published in Kamanetz-Podolskie and the Volhynskie Vedemosti in Zhytomer. But Minsk guberniya shared its name with its administrative center so its important to note that though the “Minsk Vedemostii” was published in the city of Minsk, it covered events in hundreds of towns and tens of districts.
Copies of the originals in the Russian National Library have been microfilmed and access to them is through libraries which have purchased the microfilm series from ProQuest, a US company based in Ann Arbor Michigan. The company has changed its policies on whether it sells individual microfilms (usually covering multiple years) repeatedly but informed me two years ago that they intend to only sell complete runs of a particular Vedemostii. They list 122 reels for the Minsk run, there is no index to that series, and at last contact they had reiterated their intent to sell only an order for all 122 reels. (their customer base is major libraries.) The Minsk Vedemosti run covered by microfilm is for the period from 1838 to 1917. Perhaps a library serving academic research will see the value in owning such a complete run, and our readers and research community can make sure that we are informed as access to these valuable records is broadened.
The newspaper covered two main areas of interest to its publishers, official news and material of general interest to government officials. Details on taxes, court cases, probate, intestates, property transfers, etc would be posted as a matter of course. A much larger section of everypaper would report new factories, shipping and transportation issues, “public” facilities (including private libraries, hospitals, and schools), cultural events, and info on geography and the weather. Fires, crop-damaging storms, and new infrastructure such as mills and bridges were of general interest and the articles would cover them throughout the Minsk region. Events on the national and monarchial level were also deemed of general interest and would appear if not politically based or morally offensive.
Researchers in New York and Washington DC can use the copies at the New York Public Library and the Library of Congress. Other libraries have the material as well.
Using the newspapers for research
I had asked more knowledgeable people to put this page together, Vitaly Charny who has provided so many great translations of these documents for the Belarus SIG. AL Bell who has provided a great number of Minsk Vedemosti translation and tools for the researcher. Both had time constraints that made it impossible. But both were kind enough to offer their help in other ways. Ms. Bell gave permission to use her annotated materials on dissecting the Minsk Vedemosti listings. Mr. Charny has said that he would offer suggestions and corrections after this initial article was posted. And I actively seek out the help of the readers - are there tools and tricks that you have learned using these records? Are their complementary records that you are using? If you have found any newspaper page related to Lyakhovichi or Lyakhovichi residents, can you email me a copy we can post?
Here are some of the things you will see. All of the schematically underlined and tagged images were used courtesy of A.L.Bell.
*** Jury Duty Notice
*** Draft Evader Notice
*** Notice of Debt
*** Sample Conscription Notice
*** Sample Fugitive Notice
Newspapers distributed in the Lyakhovichi area
A future research report
A Yiddish Newspaper stand
This kiosk was in Vilna and sold to a variety of audiences. It has a sign that it sells a newspaper written for German soldiers. We have Lyakhovichi and Baranovichi images of individual newspaper sellers and of broadsides posted in those towns - look for them to join that future research report.
Newspapers of other Nations which we can search for Lyakhovichi natives
A future research report
Searching for Lyakhovichi references in Newspapers after World War II
The kinds of articles in which new immigrants in New York City or America's small towns appeared in the 1890s-1910s varied widely from what we see in later periods. In small towns they had appeared in the ads, the social news, news articles about the Jewish community and its celebrations and difficulties. In later periods, it is much harder to find them American Lechovichers as part of groups that will individually identify them. But a component of 1950s Newspapers you should search is those Jewish Newspapers seeking to unite families separated by World War II. See this search column in the Pittsburg Criterion, a city which held Lyahovichi families named Kantorovich, Leman, Kaplan, Kuntsevitsky, Khvediuk, Kessler, and others.
Pittsburg Criterion, Venger searching for Kessler
There are sources that you can help us identify, even if you do not have the time/inclination/ or facility of languages to review them for content. This book which has not yet been examined is only a title to me - but maybe you can find out what newspapers that might have been read by Russian Jews are located where:
We Fall and Rise: Russian-language Newspapers in New York City, 1889-1914
By Robert A. Karlowich
Published by Scarecrow Press, 1991
Original from the University of Michigan
Digitized Feb 28, 2008
ISBN 0810824744, 9780810824744
The Study of Russian History from British Archival Sources
By Janet M. Hartley
Contributor Janet M. Hartley
Published by Mansell, 1986
Original from the University of Michigan
Digitized Oct 31, 2006
ISBN 0720117844, 9780720117844
Please check this page again on later visits. We hope to make substantial additions to this page. A reminder - we have the resources here to store a great many images. If you have found copies of documents relating to Lyakhovichi, we would like to make the image available to others.