My paternal grandfather listed his birthplace as Salash, Russia in his Army enlistment. He was born in 1885. Does anyone know if this is a real village, and if so, where it was located?

Also, I understand the name Sylvester is an American name. Is there a slavic - Russian or Polish version?

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3 Answers 3


My favorite way to look up old town names and variations is through the JewishGen.org website. It's not 100% complete, but it's pretty great, and you can do sorting on county, provincial, and/or national borders in the pre-WWI, Interwar, and/or post-WWII periods.

That said, there are a lot of town names in the pre-WWI Russian Empire lands that might be "Salash". One fair possibility is Selishche, in what was then Kishinev, Bessarabia, Russian Empire -- today it's Seliştea Nouă, Moldova -- but there were many possibilities if you do a search there.

Another good possibility: Selets, Pruzhany, Grodno gubernia (province), Russian Empire -- today it's Syalyets, Belarus.


Sylvester is a pope from the IVth century so it is also an Orthodox Saint (and name). The modern Russian equivalent is Сильвестр (Sylvester), the Polish equivalent is Sylwester.


There's a Salashe in Ukraine. At the time Ukraine was part of the Russian Empire, so it would have been referred to as "Russia" (e.g., children of German settlers born in Ukraine were called "Germans from Russia").

Some other possibilities...

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