It takes some digging to uncover great finds for researching relatives from the former USSR. Genealogy research isn’t the commercial enterprise in Russia as it is in the English-speaking world.
So it’s a happy dance moment when one more gem is found. My latest find is Ветераны Великой Отечественной войны (Veterans of the Great Patriotic War).
This wonderful website has pages of photos and stories for more than 12,000 WWII veterans of the Soviet Union. Yes, this website is only in Russian but directions are given below on how to search and use the site for those unfamiliar with Russian.
This is the first website on WWII veterans of the Soviet Union that I have found with pictures of each veteran, plus stories of their lives. The people who contributed the photos and stories are mentioned by full name and place of residence.
For those familiar with Russian, the search box is above the first row of veterans with a button that says найти (find).
Here’s how to check whether any of the veterans included on the website are your relatives.
- Translate your last names and family villages/towns/cities using Google Translate or the Steve Morse website.
- If you are searching common Russian names such as Ivanov, Smirnov, Romanov, etc., I highly recommend searching the website with last names and family villages/towns/cities.
- Copy and pasta the Russian translations of last names and family villages/towns/cities into the long search box and then click on the button that says найти.
- If you use Google Chrome, the Russian may be automatically translated into English. If your browser doesn’t translate automatically into English, copy and paste each page of results into Google Translate.
- Please remember if you can’t find your last names and family villages/towns/cities after using Google Translate, the names translated into other words, i.e. last name Kapusta could translate from Russian into English as cabbage.
- If you didn’t get any results by using together last names and family villages/towns/cities, try only one type of keyword. Also, try using all possible spellings suggested on the Steve Morse website before giving up hope.
Now that you were brave enough to try searching in Russian on this website, try searching the whole Internet in Russian. Here’s my guide on taking that next step: Secrets of searching the Internet in Russian and Ukrainian like a native speaker.
Remember to follow this blog by clicking on the follow button on the top right of this page. Great free research resources are discussed on this blog throughout the year.