Belarus SIG #Belarus 18th Century Census of Jews of Poland, Belarus and Lithuania #belarus


Steven Bloom's query in JRI-Poland Discussion Group about Bialystok reminded
me of the fabulous project of Sonia and David Hoffman, The Jewish Family
History Foundation. EVERYONE reading this should just click the link and
take a tour of their website for a few minutes. [You might remain for an
hour, it's so delicious]

Among their many projects they obtained photocopies of the census sheets,
town-by-town of the 1784 census of the Jews in the eastern regions of the
Poland-Lithuania commonwealth. Bialystok is not included, but scores of
other Jewish communities in what are now Lithuania, Belarus and Poland are

from the website:
The Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland were joined as a
Commonwealth >from 1569 through the 18th century. More than 80% of the Jews
in the world today descend >from ancestors who once lived in
Lithuania-Poland. The responsibility for the collection of taxes for the
Lithuanian-Polish Commonwealth was transferred >from a centralized council to
the individual communities in 1764. A census was ordered to determine the
tax assessments for the Jewish communities or kahals. The tax was increased
in 1784 and another census was ordered. Our goal is to obtain copies of
these censuses >from several eastern European archives, translate them, and
create a searchable online database.

EXAMPLE: My wife Myrna's oldest known ancestors, "Morduch" [Mordechai], his
wife, three sons and their wives and children are the sole Jewish family
listed living in the noble estate of Boryshin, in the Dworec district, of
Belarus. No family name in 1784, but in about 1812 the sons adopted the
family name BORISHANSKI. The census sheets are in Polish--Latin characters,
easy to read. Pure gold-- >from a tiny village deep in Belarus in 1784 !!

Jim Bennett

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