About Russian Empire, Jewish Religious Personnel, 1853-1854
In 1853-1854 the Ministry of Internal Affairs in St. Petersburg requested that the governors of provinces (gubernias), that had substantial Jewish populations, identify synagogues and prayer meetings, and the names, titles, and compensation of their leaders, and send this information in to the Ministry. Each responded, but there is no listing for Volhynia Gubernia. These reports documented more than 4,000 individuals in more than 900 communities.
About the Book:
In 1992 Professor Genrich Markovich Deych published a book called Sinagogi, Molitvenne Doma i Sostoyashchie pri nikh Dolzhnostne Litsa v Cherte Evreiskoi Osedlosti i Guberniyakh Kurlyandskoi i Liflyandskoi Rossiiskoi Imperii 1853-1854 [Synagogues, Prayer Houses and their Employees in the Pale of Settlement and Kurland and Livonia provinces of the Russian Empire, 1853-1854]. It is a 219-page Russian-language book printed privately in New York.
Copies of this book can be found at YIVO, the New York Public Library [*PXW 93-1103], Harvard University [Circ. HWMSWV], and at the library of the University of California at Berkeley, among others.
Professor Deych compiled his book from these governor reports sent to St. Petersburg. This was an extremely difficult task as the reports were prepared in a variety of scripts, many of which were difficult to decipher. Where possible, Professor Deych has provided alternate possible spellings. Sometimes he has made his best guess of the name, which he indicates by following the name with a question mark. Sometimes the writing is indecipherable, in which case he leaves the space with only a question mark.
About the Database:
This database is an index to Professor Deych's book and includes the following fields:
- Given Name: Where available, the individual's given name is stated
- Guberniya: Russian Empire province. The guberniya name may be followed by the listing number at which the name is found (nomer). If the name is not found at a listing number, its page number may be indicated with the letter "p" followed by the page number. The boundaries of gubernyi occasionally shifted over time. Therefore, an individual may be listed in a different guberniya than expected.
- Town: The town where the synagogue was situated
Information found in this database can then be used to look up an individual in Professor Deych's book. In the book you may also be able to find:
- The year at which the individual took up his duties (c kakogo goda v dolzhnosti)
- Further detail of the reporting town or congregation (mestanakhozhde nie sinagogi ili molitvennogo doma)
- The office held by the individual (imya dolzhnostnykh lits)
- The size of the congregation (chislo prikhozhan), which is assumed to refer to only males over the age of 13
- The individual's compensation (razmer zhalova nia), which is frequently omitted