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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.

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Geography of Lyakhovichi:
Lyakhovichi in Nowogrodek Palatinate, Wowoide, and Powiat by Deborah G. Glassman, copyright 2004, 2005, 2007.

This is a page in our Geography section. To see additional resources in that area click the Geography button in the left-hand column

The Russian Empire named its largest government administrative unit, a guberniya and the men who administered them were called by the title most often translated as Governor of the Province. The term "guberniya" had replaced the comparable jurisdiction called "woiwode" under the Polish-Lithuania Commonwealth, which is often semi-translated with the word "vovideship." Two hundred years earlier, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, termed those same units, "palatinates" and as the Grand Duchy continued to be nominally in charge of its territory, the term palatinate continues to appear in Lyakhovichi's region until the time of the Third Partition when it became part of the Russian Empire.

The Russian Empire was a strong autocratic government that gave as little real power as possible to its nobility. It compensated them for the power that was not shared, by giving its nobility huge estates and wealth. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth worked the process in reverse. The real power was in the hands of the nobility and the powers of any ruler and central government were greatly limited. Nevertheless, the Polish-Lithuanian nobility ran the nation's legal and administrative processes with some effectiveness.

The people appointed to the position of Wowoid (or Vovoid), or Governor was likely to take their position very seriously because there were specific things that were expected in the role. Each, in addition to being the highest authority in the region and sometimes a de-jure military leader as well, was responsible to head up the Vovoide's court, the Wojewodzinski. Each designated a special deputy, trained in law and in the administration of the appeals court, to run the Deputy Voivode Court or Podwojewodzinski. The Deputy Vovoide Court handled many cases related to Jews including criminal cases, cases that involved Jews together with Christians, and appeals from the District Courts (the Ziemski) and appeals from the Town Courts (the Grodzki). In addition to the Deputy Vovoide, the Vovoide was required to appoint a skilled scribe and notary for both the Deputy Court and the Vovoide's Court.

The recurring complaint at the start of every new administration was that records had been taken home by previous Woiwodes or their scribes, and "fair copies" had to be made. Most documentation was eventually turned in, but Ducal order after order, testified to the problem continuing for centuries. Widows and heirs of the previous office-holder, would receive stern notification of the requirement to turn in anything from the office, but generally the process was not complete until an executor or administrator finished the probate process. The concern of each noble family was that they might dispose of something of value, and until they were sure these were just routine documents that could not produce an income, the policy of each estate was to move slowly. That resulted in records being turned in at different times and places and consequentally ending up in different archival fonts and collections. See our article Sixteenth to Eighteenth Century Documents

The adjacent table is a list of noblemen who administered Nowogrodek Wowoide , one of the oldest of the wowoides. Administratively it was further divided into three powiats to make the governance more manageable. Typically a powiat was named for its most important city, which in this region that dated to Duke Gedimin in the 1320s and Duke Vitaut in the 1380s, was the city named Nowogrodek. Lyakhovichi was a garod (town/city) in the powiat of Nowogrodek in Nowogrodek Wowoide.

This list, extracted from Slownik Geografzny, names the area governors who may have ordered military censuses, assessments, surveys, and other documentation. Some is still extant, some has been translated into languages other than Polish, and all could impact our understanding of the area. Bolded names are those known to have been personally active in Lyakhovichi's history.Because I am using an extracted list, there was no attempt to change the names from Polish to Lithuanian forms such as Gasztold to Gostautas, even if the form chosen was anachronistic in the period discussed.
Many of the individuals named created valuable archives records separate from the documents of their courts. Joseph Alexander Jablonowski spent thirty years bringing Europe's best cartographers to the service of Poland. The work he began in 1740 was finally complete in 1772 when the detailed surveys of each individual vovoidship were realized in the 21 separate charts of the Carte de Pologne at a 1:700,000 scale. There are multiple copies of this work extant, with some libraries like the Rapperwill Library at the Polish Museum in Rapperwill Switzerland having folios of several of the included charts. Prince Jablonowski provided a huge amount of preliminary data to the cartographers and, as governor of Nowogrodek spent special effort to collect data of value in his vovideship. Many documents that would have been in archives in Poland have been destroyed in the twentieth century by the purposeful policies of the Nazis and by the Soviets. But it would be worth doing a survey to see what might have survived relevant to our region.

Lachowicze in Novogrodek Palatinate
of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania

This interpretation of a 1770s Grand Duchy Map of Novogrodek Palatinate amidst its neigboring wowoideships, is copyright to Deborah G. Glassman, 2005

Nowogrodek Powiat under Imperial Russia
Nowogrodek Powiat was one of the last evidences of the free and independent Lithuanian nation to be eliminated by the Russian Empire. Vilna and Kovno (Kaunas) had come late to their leadership status in the Lithuanian communities, but Novogrodek had been one of the earliest, predating Vitaut, the great national hero of Lithuania and Belarus. It took until 1842 before Russia was entirely able to disintegrate the remains of this.

After the Russian absorption, Nowogrodek powiat was a separate administrative area until 1842. That year, most of it became part of the Minsk guberniya. The term "guberniya" had replaced the larger jurisdiction that was called "woiwode" under the Polish-Lithuania Commonwealth (and which had been called "palatinate" under Lithuania.) The Russian term "uzeyd" an administrative district inside a guberniya was comparable to the unit of powiat that had made up a wowoide. There had been three powiats in Nowogrodek wowoide, now the one that had been called Nowogrodek powiat was divided among Minsk guberniya's uzeyds of Slutsk, Mozyr, Minsk, Slonim, and Bobruisk with the westernmost part retaining the name Nowogrodek. The portion ceded to Slutsk included Lyakhovichi and an area close to where the town of Baranovichi would be built. Slonim became part of Grodno's uzeyd, Kletsk and Nesvizh were in another. These close-by communities that had shared access to the same courts and administrative processes were now permanently separated from Lyakhovichi in where their records would be created and stored and in the impact events in different places would have on each community.

There are separate listings in "Slownik Geografzny" for Nowogrodek as a city, a powiat, and a woiwode. The powiat article states that the Lithuanian Grand Duke Vitaut/Witold the Great brought Jews and Tatars to this area (see articles on this Web Page titled Key Events in pre-19th century Lyakhovichi Jewish Life and Title Chain of Lyakhovichi ) An additional note on Nowogrodek powiat, in a volume of Errata and Corrections for Slownik Geografznie says that in the final disposition of Nowogrodek among the uzeyds of Minsk, it became a part of Slutsk’s jurisdiction.

Nowogrodek Palatinate – under Grand Duchy of Lithuania The Novogrodek Palatinate acquired by the Russian Empire in the Third Partition of Poland, was both one of the older and one of the younger of the palatinate divisions. Officially it had been referred to as a palatinate from the fifteenth century, because of its special role as the inherited land and patrimony of the Grand Duke. In size, it was little more than a powiat, an administrative unit that would normally have a lesser official reporting to a governor of a huge region. But in 1565, it got a more legitimized standing from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. That year, the Grand Duchy decided to reorganize its territory. To reduce friction in a population that now was divided into Catholic and Orthodox territorial blocks, the Grand Duchy formalized the divisions. It made three palatinates for the Catholics and six for the Orthodox. The three Lithuanian palatinates were Samogitia, Vilnius, and Troki. Vilnius was later divided into Vilnius, Asmena, Lyda, Ukmerge, and Brest-Litovsk. The Troki palatinate consisted of Troki, Gernainys, Kaunas and Uretza powiats. Until this time, the area around Novogrodek, which was the inheritance of the family of the Grand Duke of Lithuania, had been joined to that of Troki, the administrative headquarters of the Duchy. In 1565, the Grand Duchy recognized that Novogrodek palatinate was largely Orthodox and it was joined as a powiat to other Orthodox powiats of Slonim, Kletsk, and Volkoviskas. The joined powiats became Nowogrodek Palatinate along with the separate Duchy of Slutsk. Lyakhovichi would remain in Nowogrodek Palatinate for the remainder of the time it was in Polish-Lithuanian possession. In seventeenth and eighteenth century maps, it is shown very close to the border with the Brest-Litovsk Palatinate which had been created a short time later but from whose lead Jewish communities, Lyakhovichi and other Lithuanian Jewish communities, would continue to seek leadership for generations.

Administrative Capitals
End of 18th-early 20th Centuries The national capitals of the Russian Empire were Moscow and St Petersburg. The administrative center of Minsk guberniya was the city of Minsk and the adminisrative center of the uzeyd was the city of Slutsk.
15th-end of 18th Centuries The national capitals of the Polish-Lithuanian Republic, were Krakow and Vilna. Lyakhovichi remained in the jurisdiction of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, a component part of the Polish-Lithuanian Republic, until the end of the eighteenth century.
13th-14th Century For most of the fourteenth century, the capital was Troki. Troki and Novogrodek cities, with their surrounding regions, were passed down from Gedimin, the first of his line of Grand Dukes in the 1300s.They were considered part of his personal patrimony and their descent to Vitaut was undisputed when little else in the kingdom was. The city of Novogrodek and its surrounding powiat were considered an inheritance of the Lithuanian Dukedom and until three hundred years had passed in 1565, it remained a part of the Duchy of Troki which was the hereditary seat of the Grand Dukes.

Novogrodek Voivode
among 17th Century Grand Duchy of Lithuania's other wowoidships.

Wikipedia "Navahrudak Voivodeship within Lithuania in the 17th century", Author= M.K. Permis

Important Notes about This Page

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Jozef Aleksander Jablonowski, Voivod of Nowogrodek
Bookplate created for the Jozef Aleksander Jablonowski Scientific Society in Leipzig He collected data for the creation of detailed Maps of every part of Nowogrodek Vovoideship and created a scientific cartography effort that included 21 separate vovoidship maps in his 1772 atlas of Poland

Voivods of Nowogrodek
in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
and in the Polish-Lithuanian Republic

In addition to the executives of the Voivode listed below, the Nowogrodek Voivod was represented by six legislators: 2 senators chosen among the szlachta (nobility) and two representatives to the Sejm (the Polish legislative body) and two representatives to the Lithuanian Council of Lords (the legislative body of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania). The schedule at which they were to enter into their position or the methods for deposing them, are not known to me. Each Voivode (governor) selected his representatives to the Sejm and to the Lithuanian Council, and while the governor served until his death, it is not clear if his appointees had equal tenure.


Number Name of Vovoid of Nowogrodek Dates of Administration
1Peter MONTYGERDOWICZ 1431-1453
2Marcin Jan GASZTOLD 1464-1471
3Wojciech Janowicz MONIWID 1471-1475
4Michael MONTOWTOWICZ 1483-1484
5Soltan Stretowicz ALEXANDROWICZ) 1486-1487
6Nicholas RADZIWILLOWICZ 1488-1490
7Yuri PAC 1492-1496
8Jan Jurjewicz ZABRZEZINSKI 1496-1498
9Jan Litawor CHREPTOWICZ 1498-1500
10Knight Simeon Jurjewicz HOLSZANSKI 1500
11Peter HLEBOWICZ 1502
12Albert Marcinowicz GASZTOLD 1503-1506 and later in 1508
13Knight Ivan Lwowicz HLINSKI 1507-1508
14Jan Janowicz ZABRZEZINSKI 1509-1530
15Stanislaw Albert GASZTOLD 1530-1542
16Gregory Grygorowich OSTYK 1542-1544
17Alexander Iwanowicz CHODKIEWICZ 1544-1549
18Knight Alexander Iwanowricz POLUBINSKI 1551
19Ivan HORNOSTAJ 1551-1558
20Paul Iwanowicz SAPIEHA 1558-1579
21Prince Nicholas Nikolaevich RADZWILL 1579-1589
22Theodore Skuminowicz TYSZKIEWICZ 1590-1618
23Nicholas Kristof SAPIEHA 1618-1638
24Alexander SLUSZKA 1638-1642
25Prince Sigmund Karol RADZIWILl 1642
26Thomas SAPIEHA 1643-1646
27George CHREPTOWICZ 1646-1650
28Kristof CHALECKI 1650-1653
29Peter Casimir WIAZEWICZ 1653-1658
30Kristof WOLODKOWICZ 1658-1670
32Dimitry Samuel POLUBINSKI 1671-1678
33Boguslaw Alexander UNICHOWSKI 1689
34Stephen TYZENHAUS 1689-1709
35Prince Jan Nicholas RADZIWILL 1709-1729
36Prince Nicholas Faustyn RADZIVILL 1729-1746
37Prince George RADZIWILL 1746-1754
38Prince Joseph Alexander JABLONOWSKI 1755-1773
39Joseph NIESIOLOWSKI (elected from 1733 to 1814)
An extract from an article titled "Geography of Lyakhovichi"
by Deborah G. Glassman, copyright 2004.

The Lithuanian Council of Lords had 35-50 permanent members as of 1529 including 2 deputies selected by each Voivode to represent him and his region's interests. The Council was largely filled with those who the szlachta families of the magnate level chose, as well as princes of the Church (bishops), leaders of the army (marshals), and those whose title "castellan" meant that they had the leadership of the oldest most important cities. The full membership was rarely called together and the regular council proceedings were handled by a "Secret Council," whose membership, not so secretly, included the voivods of Vilnius and Trakai, castellans of Vilnius and Trakai, the Elder of Samogitia, the Grand Hetman of Lithuania and the Grand Chancellor of Lithuania. But as Lyakhovichi was almost continually owned by men with those official titles, it nevertheless may yet appear in the documents of that body. The physical situation of Lyakhovichi in Novogrodek voivodeship, and the consequent awareness of the effectiveness and disposition of the Vovoide by a member of the Secret Council, may have increased the role, which Novogrodek's governors were consequently asked to play, in the nation's governance.

Roads of Novogrodek Woiwode
These are the roads through our section of what had been the Nowogrodek woiwode that are listed on the 1805 Map and Description of the Map

Road Termini

Ferbovi[…] - Lipovo

Malevo - Nesvizh(?)

Yaskevichi - Lipovo

Slonim - Melevo - Nesvizh(?)

(?) - Malevo

? - Ordva

? - Saniovka

Slonim - Kletsk

Darevo - Lyakhovichi

Darevo - Lyakhovichi

Ostrov - Lyakhovichi

Gorodyshch - Lyakhovichi

Gorodyshch - Olkhovets

Gorodyshch - Krivoshin

Krivoshin - Beresnevichi

? - Shatsk

Roads in the eighteenth and nineteenth century could be classed as postal roads, military roads, commercial roads, and local roads. Lyakhovichi is noted in Slownik Geografczny’s 1880 article on Nowogrodek powiat’s military roads - Well-kept military roads are maintained from Nowogrodek through the town of Horodyszcze to Stolowicz; from there to Molczad and Polonki; from Nowy-Mysz to Polonki, Nieswisz, Kleck and Lachowicz. There were three postal roads in the province that year too: from Nowogrodek to Minsk, from Nowogrodek to Lida, and from Nowogrodek to Nieswiesz and Sluck. Lyakhovichi was on the third.
Originally printed in Slownik Geografzny 1880