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“Getting the Most from Revision Lists” by David R. Brill

  • 22 May 2022
  • 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
  • From the convenience of your home device.


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David Brill to explain revision lists for Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois on May 22

“Getting the Most from Revision Lists” will be the topic of a genealogy presentation by David R. Brill for the 2 p.m. CDT, Sunday, May 22, 2022, meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois. A separate, members-only online genealogy discussion will take place at 1 p.m.  Register/RSVP by clicking the button at left.

Revision lists (revizskie skazki) are among the most important genealogical resources from the Russian Empire and are often the only available confirmation that an ancestor actually lived in a particular shtetl. With the growing number of revision list translations on JewishGen and elsewhere, it is easier than ever to expand one’s research beyond U.S.-based sources and discover previously unknown genealogical connections.

This talk will help both the novice and the experienced genealogist learn to navigate the world of revision lists. David Brill will cover:

  • What are revision lists? When and why were they created?
  • What are the differences between censuses and revision lists?
  • What can revision lists tell me about my family and about shtetl life in general?
  • Where can I find revision lists for my town? Are they online?

The speaker will explore examples of original revision lists in Russian and show how they can be used to trace Jewish families. The prospect of reading 19th-century handwritten records may seem daunting at first. But as more and more images of the original Russian-language documents become available to genealogists on the internet, the value of being able to read those records for oneself is undeniable. David will explain how even with no initial knowledge of Russian one can, with a bit of practice, become a “maven” at recognizing key words, names and phrases.

David R. Brill is a longtime member of the Jewish Genealogical and Archival Society of Greater Philadelphia, and the coordinator of its Russian Interest Group.

For over 25 years, David has researched his family history in the countries of the former Russian Empire (especially Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and Russian Poland). Over the years, his interest in this area led him to become a self-taught translator of pre-revolutionary Russian-language genealogical records. Currently, he manages the Rovno District Jewish Records Project for JewishGen’s Ukraine Research Division and is the JewishGen town leader for his ancestral shtetl of Tuchin (Ukraine).

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping members collect, preserve, and perpetuate the records and history of their ancestors. JGSI is a resource for the worldwide Jewish community to research their Chicago-area roots. The JGSI motto is “Members Helping Members Since 1981.” The group has more than 300 members and is affiliated with the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies.

JGSI members have access to useful and informative online family history research resources, including a members’ forum, more than 65 video recordings of past speakers’ presentations, monthly JGSI E-News, quarterly Morasha JGSI newsletter, and much more. Members as well as non-members can look for their ancestors on the free searchable JGSI Jewish Chicago Database.

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JGSI is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.