The tragic history of destroying churches in Russia cannot be forgotten. Thankfully, volunteers in Russia are photographing the churches still standing throughout the massive country.
So far, the Temples of Russia project has more than 26,000 photos of Russian Orthodox and Old Believers churches and chapels in its database. The amazing database has churches that are functioning, closed and forgotten. Photos were even added today.
Thanks to this database, I have seen four churches of my ancestors. The value of these photos are priceless. The ability to imagine my ancestors entering the churches for christenings, weddings, funerals or regular services is just beyond what I imagined could be possible when I started working on my family tree.
In addition to the photos, churches and chapels are listed with historical information, descriptions, locations by coordinates, current statuses, addresses and available websites.
Naturally, the database is in Russian. I have a video guide on how to use this database here without knowing Russian.
The photos of Russian churches are listed under the regions and republics of Russia on this page.
Here’s some tips on how to take advantage of this database.
- As with any Russian database, I recommend using a desktop or laptop computer and downloading Google Translate’s web browser app or any comparable app to maneuver around the website easier in English.
- Make sure to research the birthplaces of ancestors. The region (oblast) and district (rayon) should be known.
- Don’t assume churches were located in the family villages so check photos listed for villages and towns near your relatives’ and ancestors’ birthplaces.
- It is helpful to look through all old family photos to check for any photos that could include Russian churches.
- Even check old family letters to see whether family churches were mentioned.
- Make sure to review all family documents to see whether any church records are hiding among family archives.
- Copy and paste all the information into documents on churches that are found and download the photos.
- If nothing is found, check for the newest additions here. The database is regularly updated.
- Take a look at the forum for any helpful information. The forum isn’t active anymore but worth a look.
Don’t give up if nothing is found today. Remember to bookmark this database. It has been growing online for more than 20 years. Checking this database is so much easier than trying to search for photos on Google for specific family churches.
Remember to follow this blog with the top right button to catch posts on important databases for research in Russian and Ukrainian genealogy.
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