Here are a series of annotated graphical images scanned from actual, blurry copies of actual blurry microfilmed images of old issues of the Minsk Vedomosti, an official legal newspaper published in the Minsk Gubernya from 1838 to 1917. The paper was quite similar to legal newspapers now published in many cities in the United States.

The Vedomosti microfilms, distributed by Norman Ross Publishing in the United States, are a great resource for anyone who likes looking at old newspapers, and anyone who is interested in the history of Belarus or the Russian Empire. The microfilms are also a great, if overwhelming, resource for anyone interested in tracing relatives who lived in the Minsk Gubernya.

I put this section of my site together to help native English speakers who can read a teeny weeny bit of Russian use the microfilms of the Minsk, Warsaw and Kiev vedomosti now available at the New York Public Library. I only know a teeny weeny bit of Russian myself, and I had to look up almost every word annotated in a Russian-English translating dictionary. Think of the rough-and-ready translations suggested here as hints you can use to sift through long reels of microfilm for items of interest. Once you find items of interest,you should get help from an intelligent friend who actually knows Russian, or hire a professional translator, if you want to know what those items really, truly say.

Sorry these images are so hard to read, but they are actually not that much worse than the piles of copies in the shopping bags under my bed. Once you spend a few days squinting at the screen of the microfilm reader, you should have an easier time making out the words. If your browser works like mine, the images will start off looking EXTREMELY blurry, then improve once the entire GIF graphic file streams into your computer's memory. So, when in doubt, wait two or three minutes before giving up in disgust and cursing me and all my progeny. Another hint: If the images are too wide for your browser window, try using your cursor to stretch the browser window to make it wider. If you can't, chances are there is a "slider bar" at the bottom of the browser window. If you click on the little left and right triangles, or you click on and drag the rectangular slider handle, you can shift the image to the left and the right.


NOTE TO THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED VISITORS AND USERS OF TEXT-BASED BROWSERS: This section of my site deals entirely with scanned images of items from the Minsk Vedomosti. If you or your browser have trouble with graphics, you will hate this section.

Return to Minsk Vedomosti Translation Center
Mail suggestions and translations to A.L. Bell (

My surnames: SIVAK, RUDZKI, BLANKLEIDER - northern and western Poland; BATT, CHATZKY, FERER - Shumsk, Kremenets and Vinnitsa in Ukraine; ZHITOMIRSKY/GITOMER, HAFT/HEFT - Lubny, Ukraine; RUDO, ROZOVSKY, DOBRIN - Southeastern Belarus.

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