I'm sure you all know what these terms mean but just in case there is anyone out there who is confused (don't be shy, I was confused at first too), let me clarify these terms.
The region of Russia/Poland that we are interested in was broken down into political subdivisions called gubernya. In 1914 there were 15 gubernya in the Jewish Pale, namely:
bes = Bessarabiaand another 10 gubernya in the Kingdom of Poland, namely
che = Chernigov
eka = Ekaterinaslav
grd = Grodno
khr = Kherson
kiv = Kiev
kvn = Kovno
krl = Kurland & Lifland
mns = Minsk
mgl = Mogilev
pdl = Podolsk
plt = Poltava
tav = Tavrich
vln = Vilensk (Vilna)
vtb = Vitebsk
KaliszNote that the gubernyas have the same names as towns, probably the main town in the gubernya. For example, the town of Kiev is one of many towns in the gubernya of Kiev. Sounds confusing but no more so than New York, NY.
A map showing the relative positions of the gubernya can be found here. Kurland & Lifland are not shown on that map but they are above Kovno and Vitesk respectively. A similar map can be found at http://www.jewishgen.org/InfoFiles/eefaq/PaleMap.gif.
The gubernyas are further subdivided into districts called uezd. The gubernya we are interested in is Grodno and it consists of the following uezds:
Lida (not part of Grodno Gubernya in 1912)
Note there is a Grodno uezd in the Grodno gubernya. So people who lived in the town of Grodno must have had a postal address of Grodno, Grodno, Grodno! ;-)
The uezd we are primarily interested in is Prozhany. Some of the towns in that uezd are:
And another uezd of interest to us is Kobrin. It contains the towns of:
When you start getting vital records on your own family such as boat records and census records, you will often see "Grodno" listed for the country of origin. I know I did on many of the documents I obtained. I guess people from Bereza and from Antopol considered their gubernya to be their country.
Hope at least one of you found this enlightening.