50°39' N, 30°53' E 47 Miles SE of Vitebsk 21 miles ENE of Orsha
is a very tiny shtetl in the Vitebsk district. The Dnieper
river and one of its tributaries, the Rossassenka, flows near or
through the town. The section of the Dnieper river between
Dubrowna and Rossasna used to be known as a fisherman's
paradise, but today that is questionable due to polluted runoff
from local farms.
part of Kopys district, Mogilev province
1861-1922: part of Gorki district, Mogilev province
part of Dubrowna district, Vitebsk province
In August 1813, it was along the path of Napoleon's army as he
advanced towards Russian forces located in Smolensk. According
to the 1897 Russian census, the total population was 1060, of
whom 327 were Jews. In the 1920s, 28 Jewish families lived
there. During WWII, the Germans captured the town in July
1941. There is a mass grave just outside of Rossasna,
where almost 200 local Jews were killed. The few remaining
Jews were taken to the nearby town of Lyady on 2 Apr 1942, where
they were murdered along with the local Jews.
MISCELLANEOUS RECORDS FROM
Jewish Religious Personnel in the Russian Empire 1853-1854 lists
Movsha BESKIN, Izrael GUREVICH and Abram GUREVICH.
The JewishGen Belarus Deaths Database lists one entry for Movsha
Aron BIELKIN, son of Esel, died 16 May 1893, age 55, of
Please contact Terri Friedman
if you have any information about
anyone with these surnames. They were her grandparents,
and were from Rossasna and Lyady.
RECORD TYPES FOUND IN USVYATSKY FAMILY RESEARCH:
There are many misconceptions about researching in Belarus. People may think “the records were all destroyed” or “no records exist for my shtetl”. While no metrical records were found for Rossasna,
alternative means were used to research my family. These include:
Police records: In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Jews weren’t allowed to keep passports. They had to register with the local police station and request written
permission to move. Copies of these records survive to this day. It’s possible to track people’s movements by
examining local mayoral and police records. Police records may also include complaints about residents and other information.
School records: Until 1922, only 4 years of school were required. After 1922, 7 years of school were required. The education could have been either in a Jewish school or in a secular school. The USVYATSKY children all attended the Jewish school.
Property records: List the address, a description of the buildings on the property, the value of the buildings and how much tax was paid per year.
Draft records: Including draft applications and lists of discharged soldiers.
revision lists lists of BUND representatives lists of various kinds of committees and their Board members lists of traders and people who apply for various kinds of licenses lists of town residents who joined collective farms
lists of Jewish families who moved to Birobidjan etc.
Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust edited by Shmuel Spector, Geoffrey Wigoder
Napoleon: A History of the Art of War: From the Beginning of the Peninsular War to the End of the Russian
Campaign with a Detailed Account of the Napoleonic Wars by Theodore Ayrault Dodge in 4 volumes, 1907
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