Millions of records added to WWII database

World War II ended 73 years ago and the Russian government is making sure the war stays fresh in people’s minds. That comes at a great advantage for those researching their relatives who served in the Soviet Army.

The latest update to Memory of the People adds 18 million service records, 1.3  million award records and 900,000 killed in action records to the database that has grown to about 70 million records.

To easily work through the website, here are some translations: фамилия: last name; имя: first name; отчество: patronymic name (middle name from the father, i.e. Ivanovich); год рождения: birth year; and воинское звание: military rank.

To view the search page in English, use this link. (Click on specify if the search boxes don’t appear.) The keywords still need to be in Russian. Keywords can translated from English to Russian by using Google Translate or Transliterating English to Russian in One Step.

Here’s a look at the search page:

This may seem like a lot of work but it will be a very long time before this information is posted in English, due to the politics and work involved.

This database allows researchers to avoid searching for the Russian military archives website, writing to the archives for information and waiting weeks for a response that will read that the information is posted free online.

Russian Military Archives provides a guide to this database in English here. The entire website can be used viewed in English through Google Translate, using this link.

For those ready to search this incredible database, here are some tips for more successful results.

  1. Open a Microsoft Word or text document for copying and pasting results. It is best to save the results somewhere so the search doesn’t have to be redone. Also, keep a list of people, surnames and villages/towns searched in a document.
  2. Start searching with all known information here. (Click on specify if the search boxes don’t appear.)
  3. If results don’t appear or good matches aren’t found, slowly eliminate keywords until more results appear.
  4. Copy and paste the results into Google Translate to see them in English.
  5. In case typos have occurred, it is recommended to search solely by village or town. Copy and paste the Russian translated village or town name into the place of birth search box to view everyone who is included in the database from that town or village.
  6. Keep a close eye on the results because names of places duplicate throughout the former USSR. You’ll need to know the neighborhood (rayon) and region (oblast) where your relatives lived.

Remember to keep trying. The joy of finding information in Russian databases is amazing. So much can be learned when facing challenges, even if it’s just the challenge of the Russian language.

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