Shtetl Vitebsk
Genealogical sources at the National Historical Archive of Belarus

According to my information, post-WWII all remaining Revizskie Skazki, from all areas of Belarus, were gathered at the

National Historical Archive of Belarus
55 Kropotkina str.
Minsk, 220002
FAX 68-65-20

As per a letter dated 29.08.97 and signed by the Director of the Archive, A.K.Golubovich, they offer a genealogical search service. A deposit of US$50 is required, and the final cost depends on the number of pages found and photocopied. They charge US$0.50 per page.

The $50 has to be transferred to account 3012-001835001 USD of the "AKB Belbiznesbank", which has a correspondence account USD 890-0057-025 at the Bank of New York, 48 Wall Street, New York, NY 10286

They may also accept a cheque (personal? certified? letter unclear).

One caveat, from a private source: some -- very few -- files (a file = "delo" may include a group of related documents, sizes vary) have indexes of names. It is possible that these are the only files being "searched" for the above $50. It is hard to imagine a dedicated archivist flipping through large-size books, looking for hand-written (and the hand-writing is often terrible) names of interest, for every request. Thus, as a cheap preliminary shot, this is not bad, but a null result does not mean there is nothing there.

If you plan to visit the Archives in person, please note that Sat-Mon the Archive is closed, and Fri it closes early, leaving roughly 3.7 workdays per week. Only 10 files at a time may be requested, and thus the work is slow, and going back to a file already returned, for comparison or review, is difficult.

Roughly 1/3 of all Belarus "revizskie skazki" has survived, but the coverage is spotty. For example, in a search done in 1993 and 1995 of mostly Mogilev and Mstislavl area documents, several partial census data sets were uncovered:

Census # 7 8 9 10
Year 1816 1834 1850 1858
The most complete sets are available for 1834 and 1858; 1890-1900 is represented badly. There is some evidence (see below) that, for example, Vitebsk area "revizskie skazki" are all gone.

In each Census, for each locality, Jews are listed separately, after the Christians; enumeration of different classes ("sosloviya") in general is separate, but some are combined together; on average, there are 3-6 families per page.

There are also "individual'nye skazki", where each family is given 2 pages, and entries are made at different times, to reflect births, marriages, etc. as they occur. These are much more difficult to scan, esp. since the handwriting varies from entry to entry on the same page, but may yield a wealth of information.

On a more hopeful (but disorienting) note: there is persistent word-of-mouth information that during the Bolshevik times there was an order to destroy Jewish archives, but that some archivists attempted to preserve them by registering them as "Russian" archives. Thus there may be some apparent misrepresentation in the archival catalogs.