New data available from the Vilnius household registers project #general

Russ Maurer

LitvakSIG is very pleased to announce that batch 3 of the Vilnius
household register project, 5000 lines, is now available to qualified
donors. To help you decide if this batch is relevant to you,
we provide a full surname-frequency list of over 2000 surnames on the
VHR home page,
(short URL:

During the period between WWI and WWII, Vilnius and adjoining
areas (that today are within eastern Lithuania and western Belarus)
were under Polish control. In Vilnius, the Poland imposed its system
of household registration for population registration and mobility
control >from 1919 to 1940. More than 13,000 household registers
have survived. They contain a treasure trove of information about
people who lived in or visited Vilnius. Typical records may include
the first and last name, maiden name, names of the parents including
the mother's maiden name, marital status, nationality and religion,
place and date of birth (or age), place of previous residence, date of
arrival to the lodgings, date of leaving the lodgings and next destination.
We estimate that the collection, in all, contains several million entries,
perhaps a third of them for Jews.

Of particular note, because of the shifting national boundaries, the
Vilnius household registers (VHR) will be of interest to a wider
audience than one might imagine. There was no border between
Vilnius and the rest of interwar Poland. People flowed freely between
Vilnius and such other cities as Warsaw, Bialystok, Lodz, Lida, Disna,
Oshmiany, Minsk, and others. If your ancestors were anywhere in that
area between the wars, they could have stopped in Vilnius and made
an appearance in a household register.

Because this is a long-term project, we are releasing data 5,000 lines
at a time. The first batch was released during the IAJGS conference
in Warsaw in August. That batch is available free of charge, thanks
to a Rabbi Malcolm Stern grant awarded to the project. Batch 2 was
released a month ago. The data of each batch will be added to the
All-Lithuania database about 18 months after release, where it will
be searchable free of charge.

All necessary information about these data releases, including how to
become a qualified donor, can be found on our VHR home page
linked above. Any questions should be directed to me at

Russ Maurer
VHR project coordinator

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