Gems of documents and photos are scattered across the Internet. It’s priceless when those gems land in a user-friendly database.
The variety of subjects covered by the photos and documents is just stunning. I have seen photos of collective farms, school students, old churches, WWI and WWII military documents and even 1905 revolutionary activists. The documents also have a similar wide span of subjects.
A large focus of the database is the arts of Russia- writers, composers, artists and performers. Anyone who had ancestors or relatives who worked in the arts from the USSR is highly encouraged to take advantage of this database.
The database has a simple search engine, making it less intimidating for non-Russian speakers. Before checking out the database, it is highly recommended to download the Google Translate web browser app or a similar app to view the database in English.
Here’s how to use the database without knowing Russian:
- Make a list of keywords in a word processing document or similar document.
- Copy them into Google Translate for translation.
- Start the search of photos here and the search of documents here. Make sure to paste the keywords in Russian into the long search box on the top.
- Remember to take a screenshot of each document and photo of interest. (The scans get slightly larger on my PC when the zoom is reduced to 75%.) Sadly, the scans can’t be downloaded or saved normally like other databases.
- Copy all the details provided on the documents and photos.
- If nothing is found on people being search, change the search to hometowns or something less specific to see what else is available. Being too specific can be a disadvantage in these types of searches.
- Don’t be shy about contacting museums that hold the documents of similar interest. Click the link under location (Местонахождение in Russian) on the right bottom of the scans and the contact information for the museum will appear. Maybe the museum has more photos and documents that aren’t in the database.
Hopefully, trying out this database has helped in getting more comfortable with Russian databases. So much is available online in Russian genealogy for those willing to use web browser translators and make an extra effort. My genealogy successes happen because I moved onto Russian and Ukrainian-language searching.
Remember to follow this blog with the top right button to catch posts on new databases, importance resources and guides on making Russian and Ukrainian genealogy more successful.
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