Since 1996 the National Historical Archives of Belarus has been undertaking a research on Genealogy and Heraldry of Nobility (Szlachta) families in Belarus. The purpose of the research is to prepare for publishing an encyclopedic reference book (Armorial) on genealogy and heraldry of noble families [pl] in Belarus based on a comprehensive study of relevant archives, specialised literature and other publications.
There might be slight changes in the structure of the upcoming volumes of the Armorial.
The Armorial is comprised of articles, each one dedicated to a particular noble family. All articles have the same structure and include the following parts:
- Name - includes a family name and its variations, if any, along with the title of the coat of arms or its variations (alterations) which the family used;
- Introduction - provides information concerning family origins suggested by family legends or the place where lodgers of the vyvod lived, as well as their belonging to the noble, landed nobility or another social group at the dawn of the family history. If necessary, peculiarities of the coat of arms depictions as well as the circumstances of their granting are described. Also provided is information about the use of heraldic or family cognomen as well as information that was recorded in the vyvod as well-known, but not directly related to the relevant lineage.
- Main Body - provides generation-by-generation description of the family genealogy, names a real-life primogenitor (protoplast), confirmed by certain information and documents, and his descendants; indicates family ties, marriages, facts proving possession of land, estates and other real property, office appointments or elections along with performed duties, civil or military services, places of residence, resettlements and other information. Also, this part contains information on the dates of the vyvod in the district noble deputy assemblies (NDA) or in the district courts with indication of the chapter of the genealogy book, which the family was affixed to, and the decree of the Senate Herald Department on confirmation (or non-confirmation) of the family ennoblement in the Russian Empire.
- Sources - provides a list of all archives and publications used by the author of the article.
The Armorial is supplemented with necessary apparatus criticus. It is based only on the examined documents, no specialised reference books used. The ordinal number indicates the index of the article, brackets and underlines indicate the family name, genealogy of which is reviewed in the article.
Name Index includes all mentioned family names (including their variations and cognomen) and names of famous historical persons with their titles, positions, etc. Social status is indicated only for non-noble. Particular attention is given to female lines, therefore women are listed several times under their maiden and marriage names, indicating, if possible, the order of marriages, parents' names and other information.
Geographical Index includes names of all settlements, as well as other geographical objects and administrative-territoral units indicating titles (for settlements) and administrative-territorial jurisdiction under RP and the Russia's Imperial rule.
Heraldry Index includes all coat of arms titles mentioned in the Armorial with indication of families who used them.