Sunday, October 31, 2021

Rabbinical Negotiations, 1892 Style

In 1892, the Jews of Gaysin district, Podolia Guberniya, Russian Empire (now Ukraine) were negotiating rates with the local Crown/Treasury Rabbi.  This was not necessarily the Rabbi in the shul (synagogue) that they went to, but this person was an intermediary between the Russian government and the Jewish community.  They were responsible for registration of Jewish vital events and various other things.  (You can read more about their responsibilities here.)  I'd love to know the backstory to this particular document, but in 1892, there was an agreement made between the Jewish heads of household of Gaysin district and the Rabbi where rates were laid out--as well as the repercussions if this Rabbi ever protested those rates.  And then as a bonus, all (or most?) of the Jewish heads of household in the district signed the agreement, including at least three relatives of mine!

1892 Agreement of the Gaisin Jewish Society with the Treasury Rabbi on the cost of his services (from DAViO 286-1-192)

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Russian Empire Rules Mean Research Opportunities Today - An 1852 Explanation

Jews were very regulated in the Russian Empire.  They could only live in particular places, it was difficult to move to other towns, even towns nearby, and there was mandatory long-term military service for many men and young boys.  While this made life difficult at the time, it means that often there are documents asking for permissions of the government and others asking for forgiveness that can inform today's researchers.  In the document you'll see below, a relative of mine is giving an explanation for why he isn't living where the government thought he should be living.  (Spoiler alert:  Because the government made all the Jews leave that place!)

Duvid Zubkis testimony about his situation (page 1); 1852

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Finding Family: J-Roots & Google Combined

I've written about the awesome J-Roots resource before.  It's a Russian-language forum for Jewish genealogy.  If you have ancestry from the Russian Empire, you should be using it (with Google Chrome to help you translate, if you aren't fluent in Russian).  You can see a previous success here and Dmitry Pruss' overview here

In any case, one of the goldmines on J-Roots is their forum.  Here, people ask questions, discuss what they know about records from various towns, and often do their own rudimentary indexing of various record sets.  But without reading through all of the forum posts, it's hard to know if there's a record that's been indexed for one of your family members.  But there is a way to figure that out.

Birth of Aron Zubkis; Uman, Russian Empire; 1910