Pete asked about hiring a researcher to search the 1897 census for the towns of Uman and Talne for people whose places of birth and 1897 residence might not have been in either of those towns.
The important question here is where a person's census records are kept. In the U.S., they are kept at the place of residence at the time of the census. I gather that in the Russian Empire, it may be different. The census was called a Revision List. I think it was called that because although the record was taken at a specific time, it was subject to periodic revision. Perhaps someone with expertise can tell us whether the place a person was recorded for Russian census purposes was the place of residence, the place of birth, or the place where the family was registered.
The other question he poses is the validity of statements of place of birth in Europe given on U.S. records. I think that the place of birth on a naturalization petition is probably pretty accurate because the petition asks for city, province and country of birth. I would be less optimistic that the place listed on a U.S. draft registration card is the actual city rather than the closest large town, and not at all confident of a place of birth listed on an arrival record (though I do not recall that question being asked on U.S. immigration manifests).
Class of 1975
Professor of Law and Director, Summer Law Programs Abroad
University of San Diego