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.

Obituaries and Remembrances as Documentation for Lyakhovichi History
by Deborah G. Glassman,
copyright 2007

This is a page in our Documents section. Click the button labeled "Documents" in the left-hand column to reach to many other resources of this area. This is also a part of the Projects listed in the Welcome section, so you may also click that button to read about other current collaborative projects on which we are working.

November 2008, we have so much new material, that we have created a second page. The Obituary Project is described here, on this page which you are reading. We have begun posting obits themselves at Lechovicher Obituaries, p2

The value of an obituary for an individual genealogy or family history has long been known, but researchers often neglect them – they are ordinary, pedestrian documents, which seem to be most available for people about whom you have the least questions. Jews, who immigrated to the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and died before WWII, often passed away without notice in the mainstream English press. Biographical material that might have been mentioned in a Yiddish language obituary is often inaccessible to American researchers who labor without the gift of that language heritage. Conceding the value of an obit for the mention of family particulars (the deceased’s surviving siblings as well as descendants; the name of the cemetery and the funeral home, evidence of religious observance at that juncture in the family’s history, et al.) it is often less clear that they play a role in our understanding of the life of a community. So how can we, as researchers in Lyakhovichi history – at least as it impacts our families – benefit from the systematic collection of obituaries related to the generation of emigrants from Lyakhovichi?

1.    We can create a new resource of names of Lyakhovichi emigrants and their surviving families at the times of their deaths.
2.    We can create a collection large enough to provide new insights from the data sampled.
2.    We can learn the names of organizations to which that generation belonged, so we can pursue information from another source.
3.    We can learn the names of their siblings who might otherwise go undocumented as Lyakhovichi natives.
4.    As researchers, it will be an incentive to look at obituaries of siblings and cousins who we might otherwise neglect, in our rush to proceed backwards in time.
5.    The geographic range in which Lyakhovichi natives settled, is immense. They settled in places where the attitude of the native population was very inclusive and consequently the obituaries are full of details about the life experiences of the deceased. They settled in places where the attitude of the the larger population, was very exclusive and disdainful, and the obituaries of these Jewish latecomers appeared in Yiddish language papers and the minutes of fraternal organizations. They left cousins in the Soviet Union and in all of Europe, and everyone who died before or after the Holocaust, may have an obituary we can eventually find.

The obituary of David Robinson of Detroit in the left hand corner of this page, lists two synagogues with which he was associated, one the modern Conservative synagogue of Shaarey Zedek, the other a landsmanschaften shul built by people from the Lyakhovichi area and from neighboring communities around Lyakhovichi, called variously Beth Jacob, Beth Yakov, and Beth Yaacov in the heart of the old Jewish area of Detroit. It was this obituary that sent me searching for information on the synagogues, one of which was found to be a Lechovicher shul. The obituary below, for a member of Bnei Isaac Anshe Lechowitz, suggests a new way to search digitized newspapers, using not only family members' names but associations that you have identified from your research.

Obit from NY Times 1942 for Benj. Winograd, a member of Bnei Isaac Anshe Lechowitz
1942 Obit from NY Times

1.    Each person who is researching ancestors who lived in Lyakhovichi, goes back through their collected notes and sends us a copy of any obituary created for a person who emigrated from Lyakhovichi. We want obituaries for the entire emigrating generation, those born in Lyakhovichi who died somewhere else.
2.    The webmaster will, in subsequent updates, post all obits that are older than twenty years old and will begin extracting the information for entry to a database.
3.    This part of the project works very well on a collaborative basis. You share your findings. You expand the breadth of your coverage to include searches in your local jurisdictions for the aunts, uncles, cousins, that you know emigrated with your Lyakhovichi native.

Likely Consequences:
1.    In the short run, an un-collated collection of random-seeming obituaries begin appearing on the website. The amount of work to add them to the site is minimal, but if active researchers send those for one ancestor and two or three kinsmen of that ancestor, the number will begin building quickly.
2.    Researchers participating in this collaboration, will have found that they have added a new type of data source to their own research as they use death dates to find digitized obituaries for family members as well as finding copies of their local newspapers in libraries close to home.
3.    Over a series of updates, we will collaboratively create a new visual resource for Lyakhovichi researchers that begin to tie together the siblings and cousins of the emigrant generation.
4.    Every fifty new names, we will add a database update that will be searchable here, and in our Lyakhovichi All-Page Index, and our material is designed to be indexable by JewishGen for even greater access.

Your Grandfather's
Your Grandfather's
Sister's Obit
Your Grandfather's
Sister's Obit
Your Grandfather's
Sister's Obit
Your Grandfather's
Brother's Obit
Your Grandfather's
Brother's Obit
Your Grandfather's
Brother's Obit
Your Grandfather's
Brother's Obit
Your Grandfather's
Cousin's Obit
Your Grandfather's
Cousin's Obit
Your Grandfather's
Cousin's Obit
Your Grandfather's
Cousin's Obit

How many obituaries can be printed here?
We have emigration lists totaling more than a thousand through Ellis Island from Lyakhovichi alone, not counting its smaller nearby communities. It does not count either, those whose birthplace was Lyakhovichi but whose last residence was Baranovichi or Slonim or Slutsk. If we had an obit for every one of those emigres but only had room for their name and a link to the obit, it would take no more space on the page than our emigration lists. Come on, let's see what a community effort can accomplish!

But I can't find these obituaries!
We need you to spearhead the search - but if you have run into a blank wall, other researchers may be able to help. Fill in a form with the information below. We will post it as you send it, and maybe someone else will know where you can find the info.

Does the obituary need to say Lyakhovichi (or Lechowitz or Lachowicze, etc.?)
No. If you know your person was born in Lyakovichi Minsk, we will post a link to it here.
Name of deceased
first and middle names
Date of Death Place of Death
City or Town and
State or Province and Country
approximate birthyear

Important Notes about This Page

All names on this page were included in Surname Index Nov 2009

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)

David Robinson Obituary
 1931 Detroit
David Robinson obituary 1931

David Robinson, born in Lyakhovichi, died in Detroit. Click on the title for larger image, expansion icon available on that page (hover your cursor at the lower right corner). English translation below.

David Robinson The sudden death of David Robinson, leader of the Detroit Jewish community, is deeply mourned. With the tragic death of David Robinson, who lost his life in an automobile accident last Sunday night, the Detroit Jewish community has lost a leading figure who has for many years been involved in a variety of philanthropical activities. Since the deceased was only 65 years old, those who have known him and worked with him believe that, but for this tragic accident, he could have been expected to have many fruitful years before him. His sudden passing is thus very deeply mourned in various Jewish circles. As has already been recorded in yesterday's "Forward", Mr. Robinson had just stepped out of his car on Dexter Boulevard near Elmhurst Avenue; he was crossing the street to a nearby drug store when he was run down by an automobile and fatally injured. He was transported to Harper's Hospital where he expired three hours later.At his bedside were four of his sons and his daughter.

The deceased came to America 41 years ago from Laichovitch in the district of Grodno and settled immediately in Detroit. At first he was a peddler. Then he opened the Robinson Department Store on the corner of Hastings and High Streets, which later became the Robinson-Cohen Furniture Company. Some years ago, Mr. Robinson together with his son opened the Robinson Furniture Company on Washington Boulevard of which he was president until the end of his life. He was also president of the D. Robinson and Sons Manufacturing Company and of the Robinson Storage Company.His philanthropic work was divided between the United Hebrew Schools and well known National Jewish institutions. Under his presidency, the Kirby Center was built; it was the first large building of the United Hebrew Schools. Later he became treasurer of the Schools and helped greatly in the construction of the Philadelphia-Byron Center. He held the office of treasurer continually until his untimely death. Although a member of Congregation Shaarey Zedek, he helped build the Beth Yaacov Synagogue and at the same time was an honored (honorary?) member of the Jewish Welfare Federation and of Bnei Brith. He was a director of HIAS, of the Denver Sanitorium and of other national and local institutions. For many years Mr. Robinson, as president of the Robinson-Cohen Company, also had the occasion to participate in the development of diverse enterprises together with the Detroit Jewish community.

The deceased was buried yesterday in the Clover Hill Park Cemetery with an impressive funeral ceremony. Eulogies were pronounced by Rabbi Hershman and by several prominent Jews who prayed for his eternal rest. Besides the widow, he leaves seven sons and a daughter. His sons are Louis Robinson, manager of the Robinson Funiture Company, Charles Robinson, manager of the other two firms bearing his name, Morris, Eli, Abraham and Phillip of Detroit, Nathan who lives in Ohio, and Mrs. Jacob Perlmutter, the only daughter.

Notes from the Webmaster Ben Robinson supplied this obituary on his great-grandfather. Thanks! If anyone knows the name of the newspaper that is the source and can find the date and page number I will add it to the data. Despite the obit giving Grodno as the home of David Robinson's Lyakhovichi, we know that he was from our town. His father Simeon Rabinowitz was a venerable member of the Lyakhovichi community, dying at the age of 100 in 1938, and having fathered twenty-three children who lived to adulthood. David Robinson was a key figure among Lyakhovichi immigrants to the midwest. He arrived in the US with the earliest of Lechovicher emigrants in the 1880s and at least two dozen Lechovicher families headed for Detroit citing him or Rabinowitz relatives, as their destination point.

Rabbi Mordechai Caplan of Baltimore
Rabbi Mordechai Caplan of Baltimore

New York Times July 28, 1947
Click on title for readable copy.

Deaths Reported in NYTimes May23 1903
Death Report 1903 New York Times
N. Burstein is Nathan Burstein buried in a Lechovicher society grave the same day as this notice and whose death certificate number is on our chronological list at Correlations between Lechovicher Cemetery Registers and Death Certificates

The above two obituaries are the evidence of the value of new search techniques like optical character reading indices to newspaper archives. Help us get more eyes out there looking for people connected with Lyakhovichi. But none of those resources are as effective as you, sharing your family finds!

Click Contact to send us information and remember to put Lyakhovichi in the subject of the email.