Wednesday 18 January 2012

Lithuanian Shtetl records talks

From the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain (

"Yizkor Elohim….,” May God remember….

Geoff Munitz on Shtetl Records from Olkiniki, Lithuania

The Eastern European Special Interests Group (SIG) of the JGSGB (Jewish Genealogy Society of Great Britain) is hosting a talk on Sunday 22nd January 2012 when member Geoff Munitz will speak on genealogical records from Olkiniki, a Schtetl near Vilna and Trakai District in Lithuania. His talk will include a brief history of the shtetl; the all-Lithuanian database; Russian revision /family lists including Alpha Male Lists from 1816-1901; vital records – Birth, Marriage, Divorce, Death; Tax and Voters Lists (including Box and Candle Tax records); and the Poll-Tax/Census of 1784 – a list of the districts, provinces, kahals and towns as they are organized in the 1784 documents for the territory that became Lithuania, Belarus, eastern Poland and northern Ukraine.

The talk will start at 2.30pm in the JGSGB Library at 33 Seymour Place W1 and is free to members. Non-members, who are warmly welcomed, pay £5 at the door. Visitors are asked to advise their intention to attend, by email to There’s a map of the venue at The talk is expected to end at 3.30 and will be followed by the ever-popular ‘Round-Table’ Q&A session where members and guests can join tables discussing either Polish, Lithuanian or Romanian sources and research. Questions on other Eastern European regions – Latvia-Estonia, Russia, Ukraine and other Baltic states – can also be answered by the Group’s regular team of mentors. The library remains open until 6pm and if you arrive at 2, there will be some time to browse the shelves before the meeting.

Geoff Munitz is an established member of JGSGB, having delivered several lectures to the Eastern European group already. His expertise derives from his personal interest in his subject matter, especially Olkiniki (currently known as Valkininkas), it being the hometown of his maternal great-grandparents.

Schtetls were Jewish villages of Central and Eastern Europe, mainly in the areas which constituted the 19th century Pale of Settlement in the Russian Empire, the Congress Kingdom of Poland, Galicia and Romania. The concept of shtetl culture is used as a metaphor for the traditional way of life of 19th-century Eastern European Jews. Olkiniki Schtetl was located 30 miles south-west of Vilnius (Vilna), in the Trakai district of Vilnius gubernia.

Yiskor or Yizcor Books are Memorial Books, written after the Holocaust by survivors to document the shtetls which were destroyed and to record the names of those Jews killed by Nazis or Nazi sympathizers. They are a source of valuable information about life in Jewish towns before the Holocaust and for genealogical research.

(With thanks to James Taylor)


No comments:

Post a Comment