​​The Jewish Families of Ostropol
 Researching  Jewish Families in the territories of the Russian Empire and in the small Ukrainian town of Ostropol


Finding Ostropol Jews in Russian Publications

Ordering Info 

Deborah Glassman's publishing company is  called "Breaking Down Brick Walls Genealogy Publishers" - that is the name that appears on your order and credit card statement. You are ordering  eBooks or Search Services for individuals in the records, unless you are purchasing the print edition of the Jewish Families of Ostropol.  If the eBook is not successfully downloaded you must inform me so I can get it to you by another means. There are no refunds for eBooks once they have been downloaded.  There are no refunds for Search Services, once the scope of work has been agreed.

Quarterly Column - Finding Ostropol Jews in Russian Publications 
March 2019 Column 2Ostropol Fairs,  and Calendars of Fairs across Volhynia Guberniya
By Deborah Glassman copyright 2018

Fairs were the first important privilege of every Jewish community founded in the time of Poland-Lithuania's rule. They allowed merchants to do more than sell in the public market square of their home town. They invited merchants to come from near and small towns competed to have both annual fairs and "ordinary" fairs. The ordinary fair would encourage vendors from nearby towns, to haul their products a little farther, but the annual fairs brought people from across the Russian Empire and Central Europe. For Jews, it meant that they could reach new customers without having to establish a store, without having to negotiate a lease, without having to opt out of their  already set local market day, and without having to peddle through the countryside. For four centuries, from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, until the Soviet government came to power, Fairs were a major sales tool across the region.

What day of the week the fair fell on, had implications for baby naming and contract making. Both of those seemingly unrelated activities often happened on a day that a full Torah Service could be conducted in the local synagogue. Ostropol held its ordinary fairs on a day that the attendees could also see the Torahs taken from its sanctuary ark. Daughters recently born, were often named in synagogue on a Fair Day. Contracts  entered into at the Fair, were  witnessed by the upright men of the community leadership who had earlier that day participated in the service. A few types of agreements needed to have an oath sworn on an open Torah, and that was never going to be an option on the Sabbath, only at a weekday service. Betrothal contracts were also signed at weekday services.  It would be interesting, if the Ostropol metrikas are found, to see how many female births were reported on a Monday, vs. other days in the week. If Russian-period marriage records should appear for Ostropol, the same datum would be worth noting. I can't think of a source that would show on what day business agreements were made, but perhaps preserved  court records would also show that in related testimony.

Ostropol's fairs were every second Monday, so not much of a Fair, more of a market day. But it is interesting that Lyubar, held a similar schedule on a different day of the week, and one that was not a Torah day in synagogue. Lyubar was large enough not to need to  incentivize people to come to the shul. By utilizing a Tuesday with its short service, it could attract vendors who had other obligations on a synagogue day. It also was very attractive as a second fair  in a week in which one could do Ostropol on Monday, and Lyubar on Tuesday.

It is surprising to see Julian Calendars with not only Yiddish and Hebrew language materials on them but with Russian Orthodox   and  Roman Catholic Saints Days as well.  These were popular ephemera of the nineteenth century. These were materials made for the Jewish merchant, who needed to know on what day various fairs would occur. They might think of a day as the 12th of June, but the privileges had often been established in terms of  particular Saints' Days.  If established during the Polish period, it used Roman Catholic Saints. If reinforced during the Russian period, the saints were particular to the Russian Orthodox faith. In either case, Jews of Volhynia learned these dates on which the authorities had permitted the Fairs to take place. One of the biggest fairs of the close-by communities was the annual Fair in Miropol, noted on the document I've include as "ten Fridays after Holy Easter."

This page we show here, comes from more of the material supplied by Logan Kleinwaks,  whose website genealogyindexer.org, allows us to search in English for Cyrillic font material. One of the Russian language sources on that page is a series of books called Commemorative Books of Volhynia. They are Yearbooks listing imporant resources and facilities across the province. Among other valuable information, for instance - the names of Russian officials, and locations of post offices, train stations, and telegraph offices-  are calendars of Fairs across the region. Fairs, and marketing days in cities, towns, and villages, of Volhynia continued into the early 20th Century, being  the major marketing mechanism for Jewish vendors.

This is not a source that will give you the names of individual sellers or the names of participants at the fairs, though there were taxes and fees paid at these events that might be able to be tracked in various archived records. This is a series of calendars that tell you the days the events were scheduled to be held each year.  Combine it with your other research to betteer inform you about your relatives' lives.



1917 Volhynia Guberniya Commemorative Book, Page 117, image 159. This page is for Fairs across Volhynia.  The unaugmented image can be found on Logan Kleinwaks page Genealogy Indexer, he obtained it with the permission of the National Library of Russia. The  town names in the typeface above, are by me, to help you position yourself on the page if you are not familiar with Russian and wish to use Google Translate. 

The communities that start with the abbreviation m. are mestchekos, that is towns with dependent villages. The communities that start with the abbreviation c. are selos, which translates to village. On other pages you will also find the abbreviation that includes the Russian character г  which makes the sound of an English g and indicates a grod which is a city.

1917 Fairs
Ostropol's Fair is every two weeks on a Monday. That level of frequency indicates, that this is not much of a Fair, but rather an elevated market day. It was on a day when a Full Torah Service would have occurred weekly. Daughters were often named in synagogue on this occasion. Business agreements requiring a signature or a witness, or an oath were often done in the synagogue.
Lyubar's Fair is every two weeks on a Tuesday. Again, that indicates, that it was  not a traditional Fair, but perhaps a day when vendors from nearby towns would come to sell. Note that it was not on a day when a Full Torah Service would have occurred in the synagogue. 
Miropol's Fair is the 15th of every month and also on the Tenth Friday after Holy Easter. Miropol's monthly fair was able to take advantage of its location on the train line, people would bring goods from a distance for once a month. But the big event was an annual fair in the Summer time.

If you would like a translation of the other town's events  and dates, it is not difficult to use Google Translate to get that. If you would like my assistance with translating for your town, then I will do so in exchange for a 14.00 donation to aid the research into Ostropol's Jews.

1890 Fairs - Coming Soon

1887 Fairs - Coming Soon


Towns with Fair Dates in  Image
(in the order in which they appear)

Andreevich village
Yarun village
Emilchino village
Kolodezhno village
Novo Chartoriya

Found This Info Helpful ??
Let us Know!
Tell me why in an email, make a suggestion, request a translation, 
make a donation , but don't just walk away!


Contact Us

Write to Deborah Glassman  with any questions about Ostropol research or your family in Ostropol or Volhynia.  I have added dozens of  new articles and new lists about the Jews of Ostropol. Please come back frequently to see the new additions, the new quarterly columns, and artifacts and info! You can use this form, like all of the forms on this website, to tell me what information you would like to order, or what questions or feedback you have.  ​
Full Name