The Politics of Censuses in Russia #belarus

Charles Lapkoff <lapkoff@...>

David Goldman wrote
"I just glanced again at the research and was surprised that the individual
living with both MORDECHAI and his son SHMUEL ZISELMAN, Aron Abramovitch
Rashkind was listed as 40 years old in 1834 in one document, and 56 years
old in another, both called census record (revision list). Hirsha Slevitch
in one list is described as 18 in 1816, and 25 in 1834!!

Either these were errors of the census taker, or somebody was pulling
someone's leg. Can anybody shed some light on this?"

I too received information >from Vlad Soshnikov at RAGAS which gave two
dates of birth (1848-1853) for a relative of mine >from Surazh, Belarus.
Vlad explains it like this:

"Archival record shows very interesting case, when age of person was
determined by special commission. In the XIX century Jews were extremely
mobile and to refuse the military obligations they very often changed their
real age. According to documents at first they were very young, then after
some time they were very old to carry on military obligations. For this
purpose the special commissions were established, which determined the real
age of persons. That is why two ages were pointed out for Izrael - by
appearance and by verdict of the special commission."

Charles Lapkoff
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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