DISTINGUISHING BETWEEN BELARUS AND LITHUANIA

Because of changing borders, many of us wonder whether our families originally came from Belarus or from Lithuania.

This very question has been the subject of much discussion on this forum, some of it quite recent.

Apparently, significant portions of what had been the Vilna "gubernyia"  ("province") of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania during Czarist times have been re-partitioned into the modern FSU country of Belarus--which had been known as  the region of "Byelorussia" during the Imperial era.

Therefore, there are many of us today in the Diaspora, third or fourth generation descendants of Jews who had considered themselves to be "Litvaks," c. 1900, who now are discovering that our ancestral shtetlach no longer lie within the borders of Lithuania.

Depending on where our family’s shtetl is located, the correct archive to be contacted could be either in modern "Vilnius" ("Vilna") or in Minsk,  Belarus.

Check Miriam Weiner’s Routes to Routes Archival Database  www.rtrfoundation for the record contained in the archives.

Sylvia