Genealogical Research at Minsk Archives for Marriage and Birth Records #general

Miriam Klepper

My granddaughter is going to celebrate her Bat Mitzvah next year. My
daughter asked me to help with my granddaughter's Bar Mitzvah project.
My granddaughter had wanted to talk about the Great-Aunt she'd never
known who was killed by the Nazis during the Shoah.

This great Aunt would have been the half-sister I'd never met, the
daughter of my father's first wife Leah Larinski, probably born in the
mid-1930's. My father had been born in Lida Belarus, in November 15,
1911and that's where I presume that he'd lived with his first wife until
the Shoah, or possible in Vilna, Lithuania. Both the first wife and my
half-sister were killed sometime between 1939 and 1945.

I don't know my half-sister's name as there was no mention of it in the
Bad Aarolsen records. The first wife's name was listed in the Buchenwald
intake records when my father was first incarcerated there in 1943, but
no mention of the child's name. I've searched Jewishgen databases, and
couldn't even find a mention of a Leah Larinski, the first wife. I'm
looking for a both a marriage record and a birth record.

I'd contacted Miriam Weiner of Roots to Roots earlier this week to hire
her research organization to send a researcher to the Minsk archives. I
was dismayed to learn, that her organization consisted of one person who
dutifully trekked to the archives herself to research for whomever had
hired her, and that she was retiring >from such daunting tasks.

It was also very discouraging to hear that thanks to new laws passed since
September 11, 2000, only direct descendants can go to the archives for
genealogical research, and there is a delay of 100 years before one
could actually access the archives.

Complicating matters, according to Ms. Weiner, is that when my father
applied for a marriage license in New York City in 1947, he stated that
he was never married. It's probably something a lot of Holocaust survivors
did when they remarried after the war - they didn't want to have to go to
court to declare the first wife dead, and wait 7 years before they could
remarry. He probably had no documentation to prove she'd died, most
certainly since the Nazis did not keep written records of all those they'd
killed, either in mass shootings, or in gassing their innocent victims.

I am wondering if anyone has any suggestions on how to get the research
done that I need. Ms. Weiner told me that there are researchers out
there who are scam artists, and I should beware of someone who would
just take my money and give me nothing to show for it. My daughter
suggested that perhaps she and I should make a trip to Minsk, Belarus,
but that would involve hiring a researcher over there who spoke both
English and Russian, who could accompany us to the Minsk archives.

Please contact Miriam Klepper privately at, to
provide me with any guidance in this matter. Thank you.

Miriam Klepper

MODERATOR NOTE: Be sure to check out the JewishGen InfoFile, "Finding a
Professional Genealogist." This list includes researchers recommended by
other JewishGenners.

Join to automatically receive all group messages.