Many Russian-speaking immigrants escaping the Soviet Union found a special cemetery in northeastern United States. That one cemetery is claiming to be the largest Russian Orthodox cemetery outside of Russia.
Novo-Diveevo Russian Orthodox Cemetery is tucked away a few miles from New York City and attracted many Russian-speaking immigrants as their final resting place. More than 7,100 immigrants and their descendants are documented with grave photos on this Find A Grave database.
The best part of this database is the ease involved to search for possible ancestors and relatives. Every memorial can be viewed in a list with this link.
If that’s too time-consuming, the first or last name can be searched with just a few letters. That is highly recommended due to the challenges of determining in how names were spelled on gravestones- the original name or modified names.
Here’s a guide on tricky name spellings-
- Names ending with ov also can be spelled with ow or off
- Names with the zh sound also can be spelled with a j
- Names using the kh combination also can be spelled with the k dropped
- Names ending with y also can be spelled with iy or ij
- Names with the sh sound also can be spelled with sch
- Names starting with a g sound can be switched to a h for Ukrainians
My favorite feature of this cemetery is that many of the gravestones have photos, birthplaces or military service information.
If the memorial page doesn’t have that information posted in English, the information can be easily retyped with a Russian keyboard here. Then copy and paste the text on Google Translate for the English translation.
Anyone with Russian nobility ancestry is highly encouraged to search this cemetery’s database. The cemetery is filled with dukes and duchesses, counts and countesses and princes and princesses, who escaped the Soviet Union to save their lives from political persecution.
If nothing useful appears in this cemetery’s database, another cemetery database to check is Holy Trinity of Jordanville, N.Y. More than 2,000 Russian-speaking immigrants and their descendants are documented for that cemetery.
Quiz: Can you guess how former USSR immigrants changed their names?
The User-Friendly Guide to Find A Grave for Russian and Ukrainian Genealogy
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