The amount of information on soldiers who served in the Soviet Army during World War II being posted online doesn’t seem to have an end.
This week, Memory of the People announced another update that brings almost 8.5 million more records to the database, the largest database for documenting former USSR soldiers.
The new collection adds:
- 6.2 million records from casualty cards and disease certificates
- 720,000 records of conscription and demobilization from the documents of military enlistment offices
- 154,000 records from name lists
- 338,000 records for soldier awards
- 267,000 entries from lists of buried soldiers and funeral notices
- 780,000 documents from military registration and enlistment offices regarding soldier losses.
The records and information on Memory of the People cannot be found on any paid subscription genealogy website.
A video guide can be viewed here for those unfamiliar with Russian to make the database less intimidating.
The database provides detailed information on soldiers that includes full name, date of birth, place of birth, location for call of duty, map of the individual’s battle route and awards received, with photos of awards and scans of original documents. Documents can be saved by clicking on the disk button on the bottom right.
(Download a cheatsheet for Russian and Ukrainian words found on databases- flruf-database-cheatsheet.pdf)
Here’s how to take advantage of this database without knowing Russian.
- Have Google Translate in the next window for translating names and places. The results can be copied and pasted for translation. Downloading the Google Translate app or another web browser translator for your device is highly recommended.
- If Google Translate doesn’t work for certain names, try Transliterating English to Russian in One Step.
- Start the search with as much information as possible. If results don’t appear, take away one search keyword at a time.
- Remember that towns and villages can be spelled different than personally known. The birthplace of my great-grandfather is listed in two different neighborhoods and spelled randomly with an o and a on the end.
- Open a document for copying and pasting results. Also, keep a list of people, surnames and villages/towns searched in a document.
- If results can’t be found on direct relatives, try searching for cousins, no matter how distant. It sometimes takes a random cousin to bring new life to research.
- Remember the importance of patronymic names (middle names based on the father’s first name). If particular people can’t be found, look for people with the same surnames and patronymic names from the same village and town. Those people could be unknown siblings of relatives.
- Keep a close eye on the results because names of places duplicate throughout the former USSR. You’ll need to know the neighborhood (raiyon) and region (oblast) where your relatives lived.
- In case typos have occurred, it is recommended to search solely by village or town. Copy and paste the village or town name translated in Russian into the place of birth search box to view everyone who is included in the database from that place.
- Make screen shots of positive and potential results.
If nothing is found in this update, maybe information will be found in the next one. The Russian government acquired POW records from Germany last year and hopefully those records will be online sometime this year or next year.
Follow this blog with the top right button to catch the news on that new database and other important databases.
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