Belarus SIG #Belarus Re: Travel to Belarus? #belarus

Franklin J. Swartz <eejhp@...>

Dear All,

I know that Mr Alpert asked for a private response to his enquiry
about travel for genealogical research but, since we frequently
receive enquiries of this sort, I thought I would direct a reply to
the entire group.

Travel of this kind can be productive provided that you plan well in

National Archives, which contain records up to 1918, will make records
available for you to examine if you give them advance notice of which
records wish to see. There is no charge for this but you do have to
pay for copies. Regional archives, which hold records >from 1918
onwards make a nominal charge for access to designated records but
there is no charge for records relating to the Holocaust or the Second
World War. Again, there is a charge for copying.

The problem arises, of course, as to how to know which records to
designate. Unless you already know >from some other source which
records you want it is necessary beforehand to have either a private
researcher or a the archive itself do a name search which will provide
you with a list of the records. If you use a private researcher I urge
you to do so legally. This requires that you give notarised
authorisation to the designated researcher to search for specific
names. A qualified researcher working within the legal framework of
Belarus will give you information about authorisation. Despite rumours
to the contrary all archives are accessible to researchers with proper
authorisation. If you are literate in Russian and have the time and
patience you can conduct this stage of the research yourself.

In terms of time for preparation you should plan at least three months
for the name search and give the archive at least a month's advance
notice for access to the specific records you need. Obviously if you
do not speak or read Russian you will need to have a researcher to
assist you in the archive.

As I said above a personal visit to the archives can be rewarding but
you must be prepared in advance. Just dropping into the archive will
be fruitless.

Best regards,


Franklin J. Swartz
Executive Director
East European Jewish Heritage Project

Subject: Travel to Belarus?
From: "EJA" <>
Date: Fri, 7 Oct 2005 20:21:36 -0400
X-Message-Number: 4

I am wondering if anyone on the list has traveled to Belarus in the last year or two and if so, could please email me privately to let me know the extent to which you were able to accomplish your genealogical goals. Thank you.

Gene Alpert
Arlington, VA

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