What are the "Kremenets records"?

The Kremenets records I used to develop the transliteration examples available on this site were originally compiled by the Jewish community of Kremenets, a town that is now in the Ternopil region in Ukraine but was once in the Volhynia gubernya in the Russian Empire.

The State Archives of the Ternopil Region have made microfilm copies available to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Family History Centers. You can see the microfilms for yourself by going to your local Family History Center. The center will help you order copies from the central Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, for about $3.50. You can copy pages from the films for about 25 cents apiece.

FHCs are open to non-Mormons as well as Mormons. Your experience may differ, but the volunteers at the center I use seem to be very friendly to people of all faiths. They don't seem to be making any effort to "convert the Jews" or other visitors, except maybe by being nice people and putting a Book of Mormon on the counter.

CLICK HERE to see the Family History Library catalog entry entry for the Kremenets microfilms.

The Kremenets collection consists of 11 microfilm reels. The title for the whole collection is "Vital Records, 1870-1907." The "microfilm numbers" (the numbers you need to order the films from the FHC) at 2086060, 2086061, 2086062, 2086063, 2086064, 2086065, and 2086066. (Four of the numbers are attached to collections of two or more reels of film.)

The records are kept in two languages: Russian, and a mixture of Yiddish and Hebrew.

Copy quality

Chances are you too will be using Mormon Family History Center microfilms or copies made from the microfilms, rather than the original records. Here is a good rule of thumb for gauging the readability of the copy: if you can easily read the numbers, chances are you will be able to read the handwritten records, too, once you have experience with reading Cyrillic and Yiddish cursive.

The more the merrier

Even when you know you only want to read one page of the records, and you know exactly what page you need, try whenever possible to get at least 10 pages of the Russian records, along with the matching Yiddish pages. It's much easier to read 10 pages of messy Cyrillic or Yiddish handwriting than one, and easier to read 100 pages than 10.

Births and deaths

The records you look at may be different, but the ones I tried (for 1870 and 1871) were divided in birth records (rodivshikhsya) and death records (umershikh) for each year.

In the two columns on the left, you will see a series of numbers. These represent the number of females and males who have either been born, or died, depending on which set of records you are reading. If you see a 2 in the first column in the birth records for 1870, that means you are looking at the record for the second girl to be born in Kremenets in 1870. If you see a 47 in the second column in the death records for 1871, that means you're looking at the record for the 47th male to die in Kremenets in 1871.

Russian and Yiddish/Hebrew Birth Records

Death Records