Unique website reveals military and repression era information from Russia

Finding a website that is easy to use and filled with information for Russian genealogy takes a lot of patience and time to uncover.

Погибшие is an incredible website with information spanning from War of 1812 to the first Chechen War. That makes it a unique website for Russian genealogy.

Usually, it would take a lot of time to cover this material on numerous websites that is just alone on Погибшие. This website provides information on some of those who served in the Patriotic War of 1812, Russian-Japanese War of 1904-1905, World War I, World War II, Afghanistan War and the first Chechen War.

Not only are patriotic Russians covered on this website, information can be found on some rebels and repressed people of the Russian Revolution and USSR.

This website is only in Russian and can be translated by using Google Translate. Here is the website translated into English.

Here are tips on how to use this website even with little knowledge of Russian.

  1. Have your surnames translated into Russian on Google Translate.
  2. Then copy and paste your translated surnames into the left box on Google Translate to see whether any of the names translate into words such as surname Kapusta (translated from Cyrillic to English will be Cabbage). When using Google Translate, someone looking for people named Kapusta will have to look for people named Cabbage.
  3. If using Google Translate makes this website too hard to understand, here is another way to search the entire website. Do step 1 and then paste one surname at a time next to site:http://xn--90adhkb6ag0f.xn--p1ai/ into Google.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Then copy and paste the search results into Google Translate to see which results are worth viewing.
  4. If this website doesn’t intimidate you in Russian, paste one surname at a time into the search box on the right above Введите фамилию солдата to find only soldiers.
  5. If you use Google Translate with this website, paste one surname at a time into the search box on the right above Enter the name of a soldier.
  6. Step 3 will be needed to search the entire website. It’s as simple as Иванов site:http://xn--90adhkb6ag0f.xn--p1ai/ into Google.
  7. Once you find information that could be useful, it’s time move onto serious searching on the Internet, based on the information you found.

Take that next step by reading Secrets of searching the Internet in Russian and Ukrainian like a native speaker.

A Russian genealogy gold mine awaiting to be cleared of its treasures

russianstatelibraryThe gold mines of Russian genealogy aren’t advertised. It takes a lot of sifting through boring technical databases to find the true gold mines of Russian genealogy.

After years of wondering where the Russian government has been unloading its electronic treasure trove, I think I have found a gem for genealogy. Thankfully, the database comes with the tools that help avoid sweating to find the treasures.

The Russian State Library is claiming to have the second largest online database. That’s hard to believe but the amount of records here are unreal.

Users can immediately begin searching with the help of Google Translate.

Here’s how to take full advantage of this user-friendly database even without knowing Russian.

  1. Copy and paste your keywords (surnames, villages, events, etc.) translated by Google Translate in the search box and click искать (find in English) on the right.
  2. When results come in, click on еще (more in English) at the end of each description.
  3. Copy and paste the results into Google Translate.
  4. Once you’ve selected which results are most interesting, right click on or copy and paste the link for прочитать документ (read document in English).
  5. Select Онлайн-просмотр (online viewing in English) on the top of the next page and then click открыть документ (open document in English).
  6. Then the document will open. Click on поиск (search in English) on the left.
  7. Copy and paste your keywords in Russian in the search box and click on найти (find in English).
  8. The exact pages where your keywords appear in the document will be listed under Найдено: (found in English).
  9. If you can’t find your information or read the text, right click to save the document. There are Facebook groups to help with translations. See Facebook Genealogy for links to those groups.

Once this is all done, the journey has only begun. Take the journey one step further by picking out keywords from the documents and using a Russian keyboard to retype important keywords.

Then copy and paste on Google the keywords from the documents to see what else can be found and who else is researching the same information.

Push yourself and you’ll go farther. Get annoyed that taking on Russian is challenging, you’ll be watching others take down their genealogy brick walls this year.

Memorial Website Opens Door to Find Living Russian Family

Finding long-lost family in the Russian-speaking world takes some creativity. I was thrilled to learn about a growing Russian-language website for remembering family and friends who have passed on.

This website- ПомниПро– is a perfect resource to see whether any information has been posted on long-lost family. Some memorial pages just have photos and others have detailed life stories of people who died.

Some will say “So what!” about this website. Then people need to remember that Russians don’t post obituaries and death notices online in the same fashion as the English-speaking world.

ПомниПро has grown to about 82,000 memorial pages in 4 years, not impressive but could become impressive in the next few years.

So if you want to give ПомниПро a try, here is how to search this website.

  1. First, translate last names of your Russian family on Google Translate.
  2. Copy and paste the translate names under Поиск по мемориалу on the right column.
  3. Once you have results, click on each memorial page and look for the words Владелец страницы on the right under the banners for the people being remembered. That link will give information on who posted the memorial page.
  4. If you are shy about using a Russian language website, use Google Translate to view this website in English but surnames must be written in Russian to search the database. Here is that link.
  5. The website also can be searched this way- translated Russian last name site: http://pomnipro.ru/- on Google or any search engine.

Happy searching!

Related posts:
One website could become the Russian version of Find A Grave

Find Russian and Ukrainian graves online

2015 redefines value of DNA genealogy tests

My hope for finding great matches through DNA testing was set high for this year after reading so many success stories on Facebook. It’s been exactly 5 years since I swabbed my mouth for the Family Finder test from Family Tree DNA.

Since then, I also have tested through Ancestry DNA and 23andme. Right now, I don’t know if my hope just needs to be extended for another year or got crushed by one company.

I naively thought that the majority of 23andme customers who chose to be private would change their minds after the company announced those people will no longer have messaging abilities.

Nope, the majority of my private matches (and the majority of my matches) sit in the land of anonymity. My closest matches, 3rd to 6th matches, are taunting me by refusing to name themselves and their ancestors. When the day comes that I get closer matches, I worry whether they will hide behind “Anonymous Male or Anonymous Female.”

On top of this, 23andme just showed where its heart (or wallet) is invested with the price increase to $199 from $99. AncestryDNA has mainly priced its test at $99 and Family Tree DNA continues to keeps its Family Finder test at $99.

23andme has restarted offering health-related results so it’s focus isn’t genealogy. I understand the importance of learning about health conditions through DNA testing but 23andme has changed so much that it should be the third choice for DNA genealogy.

My disadvantage with these DNA tests has been who I am. Seven of my eight great-grandparents are Russian. One great-grandmother was born in Russia, where it is now Poland, but she had German strong family roots throughout Poland.

Genealogy is getting more popular in the former USSR but the U.S. prices for DNA tests are hard to swallow in Russia and Ukraine. Only Family Tree DNA sends kits there but some Russians and Ukrainians were sneaking in the 23andme test. Forget that until their economies get better.

In the meantime, I am thrilled that Ancestry DNA is now selling its test to United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada and Australia, where Russians and Ukrainians escaped for better lives.

The company also added two features – showing the amount of DNA in common with matches and viewing the shared matches with each match.

Another addition to Ancestry DNA has been DNA Circles, a feature that tries to predict a common ancestor between matches based on DNA and family tree data. That feature has been highly criticized but maybe this feature will help some break down their brickwalls.

There hasn’t been much change at Family Tree DNA, except for better ethnicity breakdowns and the ability to search the database of family trees by name or place. Family Tree DNA has the best tools to analyze matches. The only thing that Family Tree DNA could improve is building up its customer base for the Family Finder Test.

So if you’re like me with lots of Eastern European blood running through your veins,  there is no need to run away from DNA testing for genealogy. Everyone’s experience will be different.

I highly recommend first testing through Ancestry DNA, which is having a sale on its test for $89 until Dec. 21, and then transferring your data to Family Tree DNA for $39. I recommend using 23andme as the third choice, especially for adoptees.

After the first test results arrive, upload your data for free to Gedmatch, which matches you with Ancestry DNA, Family Tree DNA and 23andme customers who chose to do the same. This route will be most wise and affordable.

Related posts:
Guide for making the best choices in DNA testing

A Russian-American’s insider view of the Family Tree DNA’s Family Finder Test

A Russian-American’s inside view of the new AncestryDNA test

A Russian-American’s insider view of the 23andme Autosomal Test (before the recent changes)

Build the best mousetrap to find long-lost family this holiday season

okrusThe number of websites to find long-lost family are everywhere, even for those searching in the former USSR. There are a few great social networking websites for the Russian-speaking world.

But only one I will call the great mousetrap. It has one automatic feature that Facebook doesn’t have for its users.

Everyone who visits personal pages of users on Odnoklassniki pops up as a visitor in the same way as notifications appear on Facebook. Big deal, some will say sarcastically.

Send a potential relative an e-mail message or postal letter with the address of your page on Odnoklassnik and that person views your page, the doors open.

Most members of the social network list their relatives who are their friends for everyone to view. Unlike Facebook, all open accounts will show which friends are actually family to anyone viewing Odnoklassniki. Messages from current friends and strangers also appear in the same mailbox, unlike Facebook.

I used my account a few months ago to connect with family of my grandfather’s sister who wouldn’t answer my postal letters. A younger member of the family viewed my page mentioned in the letter sent to Ukraine and I finally figured out their family tree from their page, which was revealed by her visit to my page.

More than 200 million people from the former USSR are registered with Odnoklassniki and more than 45 million people visit the website every day, according to Wikipedia.

So it was not a surprise to find people carrying my two great-grandparents’ surnames in the village where they were born in the 1880s on Odnoklassniki. The easy search engine to find people by surname and hometown is an incredible resource to find long-lost family among the millions of registered users.

Even if a user can’t find relatives right away, the social network has a great area for groups that include many for genealogy. Some groups are based on surnames and backgrounds of ancestors- Cossacks, nobility, Germans living in Russia, etc.

Another great feature of Odnoklassniki is that status notifications are separated by responses to your status posts, friend’s posts and your group posts. There isn’t a need to dig around the status notifications to find the responses you’ve been awaiting in your genealogy groups, again unlike Facebook.

If you are convinced or tempted to use Odnoklassnik, here’s the best part. The website is available in English! Here is the link to register using the English version of Odnoklassniki, which is also available in Russian, Ukrainian, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Georgian, Romanian, Tajik ans Uzbek.

Anyone ready to build the best mousetrap on Odnoklassniki, click here for my guide. I’ve been a member for 4 years so this is the best advice from my experience on finally finding those relatives mentioned in dusty letters or talks by older relatives.

Here’s the finest cheese for the best mousetrap to find long-lost family

First impressions are everything, even on social networks. Citizens of the former USSR have been raised to be suspicious of foreigners so building the right profile on Odnoklassniki is important.

Here’s what it takes to attract people to your profile on Odnoklassniki, with hopes that long-lost family will find you through your profile.

  1. Your first status post should be about the family you are seeking. Make the post simple and mention that older photos of your relatives are posted in your photo album.
  2. Try to post your status updates in English and Russian, using Google Translate or any online translating program.
  3. Don’t post photos of homes and cars that make it appear as if you’re rich in the view of former USSR citizens. You don’t want to attract the wrong attention and people who will falsely claim to be family.
  4. Post only in Russian when interacting in the groups.
  5. Show pride in your ancestry from the former USSR. Post pictures of your activities with Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian community groups.
  6. Don’t discuss current or past politics of the former USSR in any of your posts. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine is very touch among the Russian-speaking world. Just leave it alone.
  7. Make sure to keep track of responses to your group posts. Even if the responses aren’t helpful, acknowledge them and be thankful.
  8. Join some groups unrelated to genealogy to bring attention to yourself. Maybe someone in fishing or traveling groups will click on your profile link and realize you two have a family connection.
  9. When posting in genealogy groups about the family you are seeking or researching, make sure to include any older photos and documents you have in the posts. It brings more interest so your posts aren’t scrolled past as much.
  10. Most importantly, don’t announce you are a foreigner in your status updates or group posts. Hello from America! or Hello from Australia! may be taken the wrong way. People from the former USSR have been taught to hate foreigners for generations. It’s hard to tell which members are excited about interacting with foreigners and those who are leery.

Please post comments about the successes and struggles of using Odnoklassniki. Any additional suggestions on using Odnoklassniki are welcome!

Guide to Using the Best & Largest Russian Language Genealogy Forum

So where are all the Russians and Ukrainians excited to find their long-lost family and discover the stories of their ancestors? There are lots of forums online but only one forum can claim to be the best and most popular in the Russian-speaking world- All Russia Family Tree.

For the English-speaking world, the fact that the forum is in Russian doesn’t mean it is impossible to use. I’ve posted a video here on how to use this forum with Google Translate.

I highly encourage everyone at least to visit All Russia Family Tree in English. Thanks to this forum, I have found cousins on four different lines. Two cousins sought ME out.

So if you are brave enough to challenge yourself to register as a user on this forum, here’s my top 10 tips to make this forum the jackhammer for your Russian and Ukrainian genealogy brickwalls.

  1. Use very simple English and translate it into Russian, using Google Translate, when posting to the forum.
  2. Bookmark all your posts and check daily for responses to your posts. The forum doesn’t send update messages when someone responds to your posts.
  3. Look for forum members searching for family here. The English translation is provided for each name. The newer listings can be found here. Both lists are translated into English and are very useful.
  4. Provide links to genealogy blogs and photo albums at the bottom of each post.
  5. Be cautious if you get a private message from a researcher. Check out their profile and posts to see whether they are legit.
  6. Look through the forum to find all the areas where you can get help and find useful resources.
  7. Do not post the same message on various areas of the forums to increase your chances of getting responses. It will only increase your chances of being removed as a spammer.
  8. Thank anyone who responds to your posts, even when the responses don’t provide the information or help you were seeking.
  9. Take advantage of the search engine for the forum. It is a great resource for finding forum members researching the same surname or villages.
  10. Make sure to have your profile as friendly and complete as possible.

Any questions? Post them below or join the Facebook group for this blog.

Related posts:
New Russian cousins found again!
The priceless value of a sixth cousin