Secrets of searching the Internet in Russian and Ukrainian like a native speaker

It has taken me years to figure out how to search the Internet in Russian and Ukrainian even though I grew up in a Russian-speaking home. Now, I finally feel I can search the Internet like a native speaker, of course with the help of Google Translate as my aid.

Here are some tips that will eliminate the aggravations of searching in Russian and Ukrainian for non-native speakers and maybe find the hidden gems.

1. If you are not getting good results by searching people in this format: Ivan Vasilievich Ivanov (Russian: Иван Васильевич Иванов and Ukrainian: Іван Васильович Іванов), then search for Ivanov Ivan Vasilievich (Russian: Иванов Иван Васильевич and Ukrainian: Іванов Іван Васильович). This doesn’t make any sense to most people but a lot of times Russians and Ukrainians are referred by their last name, then first name and patronymic name on websites.

2. The same reverse situation is true for addresses. Russians and Ukrainians put street and lane before the chosen street name. If you search for “Lenin Street, Smolensk” the results will be limited compared to “Street Lenin, Smolensk”.

3. Don’t assume you have found information on a family village unless you see the place referred as село or деревня (Ukrainian: селище, містечко and селище).  I assumed at times I was looking at information on my family village until I noticed the place was referred as a город (city). A lot of villages are written as c., м. or дер. and then the village name.

4. Don’t let Russian grammar confuse you. My family village of  Ивановское will be also written as ИвановскогоThe end spellings of peoples’ names and places will change depending on the grammar case. That’s why Moscow (Russian: Москвa) will be written as Москве sometimes.

5. Don’t ever use letters from English-language keyboards to search in Russian. My first name is written as Bepa in Russian. When I write this using my English-language keyboard, I get zero results in Russian. In the Russian language, the print letters e, y, o, p, a, k, x,c, E, T and M are very similar to Cyrillic letters but search engines will pick up that these are not Cyrillic letters.

6. If you have found a website that appears to have a lot of information on your family or topic, narrow down your searches to that website by using your “Russian keywords” site: http://_________________________.

7. If you would rather find information through pictures before clicking on link after link after link, search Google Images. Each picture is linked to the websites from where Google lifted them. This may be the easiest way to search if seeing everything in Cyrillic would make you crazy.

8. At times, the website you are viewing may turn into nonsense symbols. So read this post-  Say goodbye to Оплата получена– before you start getting aggressive in searching the Internet in Russian and Ukrainian.

9. If you click on the Google Translate link next to search results, don’t forget to edit webpage names when you bookmark. You’ll get a list of bookmarks named Google Translate, otherwise.

10. I highly suggest having a firewall and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware installed on your computer and/or devices before you go click crazy on Russian and Ukrainian websites. These websites seemed to be filled with malware and viruses.

I hope your searches are fun and filled with surprising gems of information.




6 thoughts on “Secrets of searching the Internet in Russian and Ukrainian like a native speaker

  1. Pingback: This week’s crème de la crème — April 4, 2015 | Genealogy à la carte

  2. turtle4ubackyard

    7/8/2017: I’m not sure how I reached you, but I’m glad to see you on my account. Our grandma went by the name of VERA (Saturian?)(Ceturien?) Nikoloff(or various spellings, from Chita, in Siberia. Her spouse was, Efim/Ephem Nickoloff/Nicheloff, born April 7th, 1892, Russia; Why, or exactly when they left Chita, if they were married, must have been, before they went through China, took a boat from Vladivastok, to Japan, and got to the Hawaiian Islands, before their first son, Alex was born there, in August of 1910. By 1911–1912, they took a ship to San Francisco, California, where they had a second son named, Vladimere or Walter. From there they moved to Portland, Oregon, and later, about 1915–1918, went to Cosmopolis or Aberdeen, Washington, where they worked at a lumber mill. They both died in Oregon, between 1915–1940, under different names. I don’t know if they traveled with other family members, relatives, or friends, if any were still alive at that time; Either in Chita or another location. I’ve been searching for years, without any luck. I’m 80 now, and someday my luck may run out before I meet them in the next life. I’m proud my four children and ten grandchildren (minus one dead), carry the Russian blood, but I have very little information or history to share with them, because the older ones were dead before my marriage and family showed up. Can you help me? Thank you for your well
    appreciated contact, or anybody you send my email:


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