In history, the brave people come out to fight the change they fear and hope their secrets that could hurt their families stay just that. The rebels who challenged the changes that came with communism in the USSR are no longer unnamed souls who took their secrets to their graves.
Ten years of work by Vadim Olegovich Rogge has brought about an incredible database of 106,000 men and women who risked a lot in the 20th century. This database includes many of the people who were considered enemies of the new communist government and even those who escaped the Soviet Union through emigration.
It was quite surprising to find my father, grandfather and a grand uncle in this database when they weren’t even adults during the Russian Revolution. They are considered rebels for immigrating to the USA. It would have been priceless to see their reactions for being included in this database if they were alive.
This amazing database has full names, birth dates, birthplaces, death dates, places of residences, titles within the White Army (the military that served the czar), military experience, and other incredible details, varying for each person.
Naturally, this database is posted in Russian but very easy to use for those unfamiliar with Russian by taking these steps.
- Use Google Translate to switch last names from English to Russian.
- Scroll down past the text explaining the database and find “Скачать базу данных «Участники Белого движения в России» (в формате PDF):”
- Click on the links for the first letter of each surname being researched. Everyone whose last name starts with a particular letter will be included in a large PDF file.
- If you are unfamiliar with the Russian alphabet, have the Wikipedia page on the Russian alphabet open in another window. This is extremely helpful in figuring out where a last name such as Smirnov will appear in the PDF file that covers a few hundred pages.
- Once the correct surnames are found, copy and paste all the entries into Google Translate. Make sure to enter a space between each entry or the translated text will form into a massive paragraph that is challenging to read.
- Make sure to save each letter file to your computer. It is never known how long these types of databases will stay online.
Once you have collected information on your family, don’t be shy and try searching Russian search engine Yandex with keywords on your family from the database. One detail could lead to a domino effect of finding even more information.
For more databases, go to the Free Databases page.