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Grand Duchy of Lithuania Project

The Grand Duchy Research Project identifies documents relating to the lives of Jewish families who lived in Poland-Lithuania during the 17th and 18th centuries, and translates and publishes them on the Jewish Family History Foundation Website. Poll-Tax/census lists made in 1784 and 1765 are the primary documents included in this phase of the project.

Read about the Historical Background of the Lithuanian-Polish Commonwealth

List of Jewish communities found in the 1784 and 1765 GDL Censuses (Lithuania, Belarus, eastern Poland & Northern Ukraine) arranged by:

18th Century Districts and
Alphabetical List of Towns
 Updated as of 6/12/2011                   

 Participate in the Grand Duchy Project

  How to volunteer to coordinate research groups, transliterate/ translate Old Polish and Hebrew documents, and make a donation.

Status of Current Translation Projects  New !
Updated as of 6/12/2011
Funding and stage of completion for 109 ongoing projects.

Articles illustrating uses of 18th Century GDL records

Articles which illustrate successful research, using 19th century vital records, tombstone inscriptions, revision lists, box and candle tax lists, applications for internal passports, official correspondence, wills and other records to find ancestors in 18th century records:

Using Bridge Records to Find Our Ancestors on 18th Century GDL Censuses

The Mandels of Lechovich (Lyakhovichi) and the 1784 GDL Census    by Dr. Neville Lamdan 

Jewish Patronymic Extracts from Early 19th century Parish Vital Records as Links to the 1784 GDL Census for the Wiejsieje Kahal   by Dorothy Leivers     

The Charney Family of Mir, Belarus by Hadassah Lipsius

Using a Late 19th Century Will to Trace the Shabashevich Family of Raseiniai, Lithuania by Dr. Eric Goldstein  

Discovering the Relationship Between Two Branches of her Grushka Family    by Ada Green

The Friedland Family of Ariogala, Lithuania by Dr. David Hoffman

The Komisaruk Family of Raseiniai  by Chaim Freedman

Russian Archival Research by Sonia and David Hoffman

The 1784 Census as Source Material in Rabbinical Research

18th Century Links to the Family of the Vilna Gaon by Chaim Freedman

Salant 18th Century:The Family of Rabbi Yosef Zundel Salanter  by Chaim Freedman

The 1784 Census for Keidaniai Confirms the Katzenellenpogen Family Rabbinate by Dr. Neil Rosenstein

The 1784 Census for Slutsk and Its' Rabbinical families: ISSERLEIN, LANDAU, GUNZBURG, & LIPSCHULTZ by Dr. Neil Rosenstein and Dov Weber

Historical Documents

Extract from 1765 Town of Erogala GDL Census

Sonia Hoffman Reviews 1784 GDL Census

Contact the Jewish Family History Foundation for information and updates.


Historical Maps of Grand Duchy of
Lithuania-Kingdom of Poland   Commonwealth

1772 Map of GDL-Poland
Click Map to Enlarge

Click for Other 17th -19th Century and Modern Maps

Additional 17th -18th Century and Modern Maps are accessible from District Pages

Maps of modern Lithuania

Shtetl Research Groups

    Ariogala, Lithuania:

Recreating an Eastern European Shtetl
Recovering Memories: Bringing Your Shtetl to Life

    Kelme, Lithuania Cemetery Headstones

    Rostov-on-Don, Russia

Revision List ¡ˇăBridge Records¡ˇŔ

Early 19th century Russian Revision Lists and additional revision lists (1805,1811,1816, 1818, 1834) serve as bridges between 19th century records where Jews first had surnames, and the earlier 18th century GDL records where they rarely had them. Instead the 18th century records used given names and father's names (patronymics.)

In the territory that later became Lithuania and Belarus, the most useful Bridge Records are the revision lists. These include many early revision lists that are in the All Lithuania Database (ALD) including:

Ariogala (1816), Josvainiai (1834), Kaunas (1816, 1834), Kedainiai (1816, 1834), Kelme (1816), Krakes (1816, 1847), Kraziai (1816), Labunava (1834), Lioliai (1816), Rumsiskes (1847), Seredzius (1834), Siluva (1816), Sveksna (1816), Veliuona (1834), Vilijampole (1834), Vilkija (1834).  You can search the All Lithuania Database to find your family on these lists.

A group of twenty-nine 1811 and 1816 revision lists for Kaunas and Raseiniai Districts have been acquired by the LitvakSIG. These include the towns of Batakiai, Cekiske, Dotnuva, Dauglaukis (Davkinlava), Erzvilkas, Gaure, Girkalnis, Grinkiskis Josvainiai, Jurbarkas, Kvedarna, Labunava 1811, Labunava 1816, Nemaksciai, Nemaksciai -Siline, Pajuris, Raseiniai, Reitavas, Seredzius, Silale, Taurage, Upyna, Vainutas, Veliuona, Vidukle, Veivirzenai, Vilkija, Zemaiciu Naumiestis.  

See the list of surnames in these towns at:

1816 Revision List Surnames

For towns in Belarus consult JewishGen's
All Belarus Database
or in progress by the Belarus Special Interest Group:

1816 lists for Mir and Slutsk; 1811 list for Minsk, 1834 -35 lists for Borisov District including towns of Borisov, Okolov; Krasnoluki; Dokshitsy, Zembin, Esmony, Kholopenichi, Pleshchenitsy, and Logoisk. 1795, 1806, 1811, 1816 and 1842 Revision Lists are on LDS microfilms and groups are being organized to translate records for: Bobriusk, Borisov, Davidogrod, Dokshitsky, Igumen, Koidanavo, Minsk, Mozyr, Nesvizh, Novogrudok, Pinsk, Postavy, Slutsk, and Velejka.

It's All Relative: A Grand Project
By Schellly Taladay Dardashti
Nov. 18, 2004
Updated April 2006 Sonia Hoffman

Grand Duchy Project Brochure

Brochure in Adobe .pdf

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