19th Century Records with Surnames Used as “Bridge Documents”
“Bridge Records” are a combination of Vital Records, early 19th century Revision Lists, 19th century wills, court records and other types of documents that contain family units with surnames. These serve as bridge documents to identify ancestors on 18th century records that lack surnames. By finding at least one ancestor on an early 19th century list who would have been over one year old when the 1784 list was made, you may be able to find him on that early list by using the pattern of given and patronymic names. By 1795, most of the territory of the Commonwealth was part of the Russian Empire, which produced a series of Revision Lists (Census/Tax lists with entire families). The most useful for our purposes were taken in 1795, 1811, 1816, and 1834.
Revision Lists (Reviskie Skazkie) were a series of ten censuses taken for purposes of taxation and conscription in Czarist Russia. After the three partitions of Poland (between 1772 and 1795), large numbers of Jews came under Russia’s rule. Jews first appeared on Revision Lists in 1795. Each census was a revision of the previous one (therefore “revision list.”) By 1816, most Jewish families had adopted surnames, though it was not uncommon for families to change their surnames during the early part of the 19th century.
These lists include the surname, given name, and patronymic (father’s name) of each head of household. Other members of the household and their relationship to the head of household are listed, with their ages. Additional notes such as whether a person had died, was conscripted, moved, and from which town and to which town they had moved, are often included. This information about where the family had lived previously is very useful when tracing the family back further in time, to the 18th century Grand Duchy records. For instance, on the Josvainiai 1816 list there are notes that some families had recently arrived from Ariogala, so descendants of these people would be interested in the 1784 and 1765 GDL censuses for Ariogala.
Having access to the records for nearby towns in a district, gives you the opportunity to find different branches of the same family who moved to various other towns.
Some families on the 1816 lists were quite large, often including brothers and sons-in-law with their families. Since many sons-in-law were registered with their wives’ family, these records give us the daughters married surnames.
Some of these 19th century Revision Lists, which can serve as “bridge records” to the Grand Duchy lists, are available from various archives and many are already part of JewishGen databases. 1816 Revision lists for 28 towns in the Raseiniai-Kaunas area of Lithuania are part of our Grand Duchy Research Project.
1816 Raseiniai/Kaunas Revision List Project
The Jewish Family History Foundation has completed translating the 1816 Revision Lists for the following 29 towns in the Raseiniai/Kaunas District of Lithuania (5308 people):
It may be useful to first search the Index of heads of households and others in each family with unique surnames, before referring to the complete translations for each town in which you find matching families. You might find that your family lived in a different town in 1816 than later in the 19th century.
Go directly to town translations:
Batakiai, Cekiske, Dotnuva, Dauglaukis (Davkinlava), Erzvilkas, Gaure, Girkalnis, Grinkiskis, Josvainiai, Jurbarkas (long list in three parts), Kvedarna, Labunava 1811, Labunava 1816, Nemaksciai, Nemaksciai - Siline, Pajuris, Raseiniai (long list in three parts), Reitavas, Seredzius, Silale, Sveksna, Taurage, Upyna, Vainutas, Veliuona, Vidukle, Veivirzenai, Vilkija, Zemaiciu Naumiestis.
You may want to obtain a copy of all of the translations sent to you as an e-mail attachment (an Excel spreadsheet). Having the entire database is useful for more detailed research. It will allow you to sort the data in different ways, by any field of information. For instance, by sorting all of the "Abramowich" surnames, across all towns, you might find relationships between different members of the same family who lived in different towns in 1816. To obtain a copy of the data in this way, please make a contribution of $50 - and mail in the 1816 Revision List Donor Agreement.
Other early revision lists have already been translated and can be searched on databases hosted by JewishGen. Some of them are:
Early 19th Century Revision Lists available in the JewishGen All Lithuania Database:
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).
Early Revision Lists available in the JewishGen 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, Velejka.