Sunday, November 22, 2020

How I Discovered My Family's Request to Move in 1853--With Ancestors Pre-1776

A few weeks ago, I posted a copy of the 1850 revision list (Russian Empire Census) for my Lefand family, with the head of household my born-in-1776 6th great grandfather.  Since the revision listed his patronymic (father's name), I likely hae my family back to the 1750s or earlier, which for Russian Empire Jews is huge.

This revision supposedly no longer exists for Nezhin.  So how did I find it?

j-roots Search Results

Searching the j-roots database brought up reference to some interesting Lefand/Lefant-related records.  Like really intriguing records.  (If you're wondering how to use j-roots if you only read English, Dmitry Pruss wrote a great tutorial here.)

While sometimes j-roots has record images, the database section generally just refers to fact-of for records in archives.  In this case, the records were all located in Chernigov Archives in Ukraine, nearby where my Lefands lived in/around Nezhin.  Originally I was hoping to be in Eastern Europe this fall, but Covid derailed those plans.

So I hired Alex Denisenko to photograph these cases (and a few others).  He had to make reservations well in advance due to Covid restrictions, but last month he was able to get to Chernigov Archives and sent me hundreds of images of documents (and prompting multiple additional blog posts that I'll need to write).

The most exciting for me personally was the second case in the image above.  In that case, my Lefand family, along with a Genkin family, wanted to move to leased land on Drozdovka (a village outside Nezhin) and be registered as farmers.  In order to do so, there was a series of hearings and meetings where the documents of these families were issued.  As part of that, they included copies of the families' revision lists!  While the title of the case did not at all suggest inclusion of this revision list, its being part of the file was a huge bonus.

So if you have Russian Empire ancestry, check out j-roots.  Use Dmitry's tutorial to make sure you're leveraging all the resources.  And keep checking back; more is being added regularly!

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