Wilno (Vilnus) Governorate (gubernia)

Wilno (Vilnus) Governorate existed, albeit with short-term discontuniations, between 1795 and 1920, on the territories that currently belong to Lithuania and Belarus.Wilno is its administrative centre. The Governorate was established after the Third Partition of Poland in 1795. Wilno Governorate consisted of 11 counties (uyezd/powiatów) by 1796 – Ashmyansky, Braslawsky, Wilkomersky, Zawilejsky (renamed into Święciański/Švenčionys in 1842), Kovno, Rosijensky, Troksky, Upitsky (now known as Poniewieżski/Panevėžys), Telshevsky and Shavelsky. For the most part it consisted of lands belonging to the former Wilen (Vilnus) Voivodeship of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (GDoL), the following being: Wilensky (Vilnus), Zawilejsky (now known as Święciański/Švenčionys), Wileisky, Lidsky, and North-Western part of  Ashmyansky county. During the times of GdoL, Troksky county consisted of a separate voivodship. Dzisensky county belonged to Połock voivodeship.

According to the Peace of Riga signed in 1921, Poland claimed the major part of the Governorate (which was part of Wilno Voivodeship in 1922–39); Northern part of the former Governorate was claimed by Lithuania, and a small part of it was claimed by Belarus.


Genealogy research is a difficult intellectual task which requires vast knowledge of history, laws of the past centuries, topography, geography, ethnology and sociology. Additionally, abilities such as being able to freely navigate through data across various archives, paleography skill, and, quite often, having knowledge of several languages, are also required. Such skills can only be honed through years of dedicated work.

Wilno Governorate was united together with Slonim Governorate into one Lithuania Governorate in 1797, which wasm in turn, separated in Wilno and Grodno Governorates on 01.01.1801. Troksky county was disbanded in 1839, and Braslawsky county was renamed into Novoaleksandrovsky. A portion of these counties were transferred to a newly established Kovno (Kovenskaja) Governorate in 1843. Since then and until 1920, Wilnp Governorate consisted of the following counties: Ashmyansky, Wilejsky (accession to Minsk Governorate in 1843), Wilensky, Dzisensky (accession to Monsk Governorate in 1843), Lidsky (accession to Grodno Governorate in 1843), Swenchansky ( Święciański/Švenčionys, former Zawiejsky, renamed in 1842), Troksky (re-established in 1843).

By the end of XIX century the Governorate was separated into 14 Catholic deaneries of Wilno diocese: Wilno, city and Governorate; Giedraitis (Giedraičiai); Trotsky, Meretsky, Ashmyansky, Wishnewsky, Swenchansky, Swirsky, Lidsky, Radunsky, Wileisky, Nadwileisky, Dzisensky. Overall, the Governorate consisted of 152 parishes, 203 churches, 304 chapels.

Genealogy and family history agency “WENDA” was found in Poland in 2015 thanks to the efforts of Witold Chanecki. The agency aims to offer its help with archive search and material processing, as well as offering its support to all the people interested in, and researching, history of their heritage originating in former Grand Dutchy of Lithuania (currently Belarus Republic and partially Lithuania). During the course of our work, we keep in close contact with numerous scientists and researchers, scientific establishments and archives across Belarus, Lithuania, Russia and Ukraine, as well as people of various artistic occupations.