Shtetl CO-OP

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Introduction to the Kremenets Shtetl CO-OP

Coordinators: Ron Doctor ( & Sheree Roth (

30 July 2003

 Welcome to the Kremenets Shtetl CO-OPís website. We formed the CO-OP in August, 2000, following the IAJGS Conference in Salt Lake City . Originally, our purpose was to translate and make publicly available the vital records (birth, marriage, and death records) that the Mormons had recently microfilmed. Those microfilms cover most of the years from 1870 through 1907. They contain about 15,000 vital records. The records are in Russian and Yiddish cursive writing. The left side of each ledger page is in Russian. The right side presents the same data (sometimes with additional information) in Yiddish. Some years are incomplete or missing. There are about 5,000 pages in each language!  Unfortunately, there are no index pages for these records, which makes our translation project even more important. The CO-OP will post English language indexes to the records on-line in the Jewish Records Indexing Ė Poland database.

Since our formation, we have expanded our scope to include all the material we can find about Kremenets and its surrounding villages.  Those materials include two 450-page Yizkor Books (one published in Tel Aviv and one in Buenos Aires ) and 18 Booklets published by the Organization of Kremenets Emigrants. The books and booklets are in Hebrew and Yiddish. The vital records are in handwritten 19th century Russian and a combination of Hebrew and Yiddish. In addition, we have begun a project in cooperation with the Mayor of Kremenets to document, restore, and maintain the Jewish Cemetery of Kremenets. The Cemetery contains about 1,200 matzevot. About 50 of them are from the 16th century and 70 from the 17th and 18th centuries. The Center for Jewish Art in Jerusalem says that 75% of the old matzevot are readable. We recently learned that the Mormons have microfilmed the various Revizskaya Skazka (Census) records for Kremenets. These cover the years 1816 through 1894. We hope to obtain these Census lists in digitized form, like the vital records, so that we can begin translating them.

Kremenets is at 50 06 / 25 43, about midway between Ternopil and Dubno, in southwestern Ukraine .  Before the partitions of Poland (1772 to 1795), Kremenets was part of Poland . After the partitions, Kremenets came under Russian rule. Following WW1, when Poland was restored as a nation, Kremenets once again came under Polish rule, and remained part of Poland until an agreement between Russia and the Nazis once again divided Poland . Kremenets fell under Russian rule. Before WW2, Kremenets had about 15,000 Jews, permanent residents and refugees, 40% of the population. Only 14 survived the war. There is a monument at the site of the mass grave where the Nazis murdered the Jews of Kremenets. Gradually, we are building a photo collection on our website to show historic Kremenets as well as Kremenets today.

Our website includes many resources for those interested in Kremenets. We urge you to explore the site, and, if you can add to it in any way, please do so. One of the most important resources on the site is a Surname List derived from the vital records we have translated to date. The List identifies which LDS microfilm the record is on, and where on the microfilm it is. The Surname List should be used in conjunction with an Inventory we have developed of the contents of the LDS microfilms. The Inventory is available on the website. The records in these films are an incredibly rich source of information. For example, the birth records include not only the given names of the newborn, but also the given name of the mother and the fatherís given name, surname and sometimes his patronymic.  Some records include the fatherís social class. Some show the town or shtetl in which the father is registered. Some even include the name of the motherís father and his social class and registration town. As I write this, we have found 80 different registration towns in the Kremenets vital records.

Although the CO-OP is volunteer-based, we have found it necessary to use paid professional translators to accelerate translation of the vital records. Our success depends on your assistance. You can help make the project a success by donating money or by donating your time (or both!). Please consider volunteering for one (or more) of these tasks.

     *   Transliterate the vital records and enter the transliterated information in a                     template that we provide. 

   *  Proof-read and edit the transliterated information before we put it on-line, and compare the names against the standard name lists we have developed.

We have developed a number of transliteration aides to help you recognize names and keywords. You do not need to be fluent in either Russian or Hebrew, but you do need to be able to read the Cyrillic and/or Hebrew alphabets. The more volunteers we have, the less money we will have to raise to pay professionals for this task. Currently we have three professionals working on the vital records. We need funds to cover their fees. So, even if you canít volunteer for the transliteration or proofreading tasks, perhaps you can make a financial contribution to help the project move forward.

Contributions should be made to "Jewish Records Indexing - Poland " and may be by check, bank draft, money order, or Visa Card.  Be sure to specify that your contribution is for the Kremenets Shtetl CO-OP. Send your contributions or address your questions concerning donations to:

                       Jewish Records Indexing, Inc. 

   c/o Sheila Salo, Treasurer

                      5607 Greenleaf Road

                      Cheverly , MD 20785 USA

                       Telephone / Fax:  (301) 341-1261


Visa contributions may also be telephoned to Sheila Salo. (Only between the hours of 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Eastern Daylight/Standard Time, please). See /visa.htm for more information.

In addition to the vital records, we are translatiing the two Kremenets Yizkor Books, and 18 Booklets, a total of about 2,000 pages. One Yizkor Book is in Yiddish and the other is in both Yiddish and Hebrew.  We have most of the Hebrew from the Tel Aviv book either translated or in process. But, we are seriously in need of translators to work on the Yiddish parts of the books. Please let us know if you can help on this part of the project.

As we write this, the Kremenets Jewish Cemetery Project is just getting organized. This is one of the most important projects we can do. It has both genealogical and religious significance, and has significant political overtones. We need a team of people to serve as Project Trustees, and we need a Project Manager to coordinate with relevant agencies and foundations. The Trustees and Project Manager would be responsible for raising the rather substantial funds necessary to make this project an ongoing success. If you are willing to help, please contact either Sheree Roth or Ron Doctor.

If you have any suggestions regarding our project, or if you just want to be kept informed of our progress, please contact either Sheree or Ron.  Shereeís e-mail address is Ronís is Our success depends on your cooperation and assistance. If you want to advance your own Kremenets research AND help others at the same time, please become a partner in this effort. 

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