Differences between Russian and Hebrew texts in 19th century vital records in Russian Empire #belarus #russia #translation

Shlomo Gurevich

The most of vital records of Jewish births, marriages and deaths issued in Russian Empire appear in two languages – Russian and Hebrew. Sometimes, there are differences between Russian and Hebrew parts of the record. If the researcher takes into account only one part, he is risking to miss valuable information that the other part may contain. Mostly, Russian text lacks mention of person’s belonging to Cohen or Levi tribe, which Hebrew text generally contains. Sometimes, the person’s second name, place of residence, occupation or last name is omitted. Hebrew text often contains various abbreviations meaning that the person is a son of a rabbi, or is dead, etc.  Therefore, when ordering the scanned images of vital records at the archives on the territory of former Russian Empire, one should stress that he wants the two parts of the record.  If asking for help with translation, it is preferable to choose experienced translator, who knows both languages. More details on this issue including examples from the Mogilev vital records can be found at my website at http://shl2gur.tripod.com/Differences-Russian-Hebrew.pdf

Shlomo Gurevich
Hoshaya, Israel

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