"The Changing Borders of Eastern Europe"


Eastern European borders have changed over the years. An ancestral town may have been under the rule of several countries over the period when our relatives resided there. Recognizing what government was in control at various times can help in understanding the environment in which they lived, events that stimulated migration, languages in which records were kept, and likely locations where these records might be found. This overview of Eastern European border changes, including the various partitions of Poland, will provide a context to influence your own research and to clarify where you should be searching.

The JewishGen Latvia database has more than 160,000 records for Courland, Livonia and Vitebsk gubernias. LitvakSig’s “All Lithuania” database contains over a million records – and is included in the JewishGen’s database containing more than 1.4 million records for Lithuania!