Millions of free scanned church records from Moscow posted online

Central State Archives of the City of Moscow has unloaded more than 3.3 million scanned pages of church records, dated from 1750-1934.

The best part of this new resource, My Family, is that registration and payment are not required to view these scans.

But I know so many readers will say, “but I can’t read Russian cursive”.

Well, keep on reading to learn how to read enough to find some records. Once, you follow these steps for My Family, the same steps can be taken to look at  similar Russian church records online. Links to a video guide and a cheat sheet guide are also below these steps to improve success with your searches.

Here are the steps to search for records in this resource:

  1. Please download the Goggle Translate web browser onto your laptop or desktop computer first.
  2. Translate the full names of relatives and ancestors on Google Translate or here.
  3. Copy and paste the translated names into a word processing document.
  4. Go to Stevemorse.org to switch the names into cursive. Just copy and paste each name into the box at the bottom and the name in cursive will appear below.
  5.  Copy the cursive writing from Stevemorse.org by handwriting the first and last names of each person you are searching in these records. The script doesn’t have to be perfect because church records can be sloppy.
  6. Make sure you know at least the month and year the person was born when searching for birth records. Otherwise, the search will take very long.
  7. Remember to check for birth records two weeks before the actual date that was celebrated in the country where the relative or ancestor lived outside of Russia and Ukraine. My grandfather’s birthday was celebrated in the USA on March 21 but his birth record lists his birthdate as March 8. This difference is because the Russian Empire adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1918. This website will help get the correct dates from the two calendars.
  8. Church books are broken apart by having birth records in the first section, next are marriages and then deaths.
  9. Remember to save each possible record on your family or ancestors. Pages from the church books can be saved with right-clicking.
  10. Many genealogy groups on Facebook exist that could help translate the records you find. It is much better to ask for help in Facebook groups to transcribe the records in Russian and translate the records into English. It will help to learn how to read these records independently.
  11. Remember to download this FLRUF cheatsheet. It lists words in Russian cursive found in church records, with the words also in English.

Now, it’s time to view my video guide on this website. The guide clearly shows how to look at the records to find potential records on relatives and ancestors.

So many more Russian church records are posted online. Once the video is viewed and the cheat sheet is used to help find records on My Family, try looking at other websites with Russian church records. You may find records on your relatives and ancestors that you never expected to find online.

Remember to follow this blog with the top right bottom to catch posts on new databases and resources for Russian and Ukrainian genealogy.

Related posts:
Secrets of searching the Internet in Russian and Ukrainian like a native speaker
The cure for fearing Russian-language genealogy websites to make breakthroughs
Expert guide to using Google Translate in Russian and Ukrainian genealogy

 

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Database of 6 million Russian documents and photos reveal amazing details of life

Gems of documents and photos are scattered across the Internet. It’s priceless when those gems land in a user-friendly database.

The Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation has posted millions of photos and documents that complete the picture of life in the USSR. The database doesn’t involve any registration nor fees.

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.

Click here to view a video guide on how to use this database.

Here’s how to use the database without knowing Russian:

  1. Make a list of keywords in a word processing document or similar document.
  2. Copy them into Google Translate for translation.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Copy all the details provided on the documents and photos.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Related posts:
Secrets of searching the Internet in Russian and Ukrainian like a native speaker
The cure for fearing Russian-language genealogy websites to make breakthroughs
Expert guide to using Google Translate in Russian and Ukrainian genealogy
Photo database of more than 20,000 Russian churches brings new life to genealogy
Russian State Public Historical Library offers amazing free genealogy document scans

 

Photo database of more than 20,000 Russian churches brings new life to genealogy

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.

The Temples of Russia project has a search engine and listing of all churches and chapels included in the database. Monasteries also are included in the photo database here.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Make sure to research the birthplaces of ancestors. The region (oblast) and district (rayon) should be known.
  3. Don’t assume churches were located in the family villages so check photos listed for villages and towns near your relatives’ and ancestors’ birthplaces.
  4. It is helpful to look through all old family photos to check for any photos that could include Russian churches.
  5. Even check old family letters to see whether family churches were mentioned.
  6. Make sure to review all family documents to see whether any church records are hiding among family archives.
  7. Copy and paste all the information into documents on churches that are found and download the photos.
  8. If nothing is found, check for the newest additions here. The database is regularly updated.
  9. 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.

Related posts:

Expert guide to using Google Translate in Russian and Ukrainian genealogy
The cure for fearing Russian-language genealogy websites to make breakthroughs
Secrets of searching the Internet in Russian and Ukrainian like a native speaker
10 Mythbusters for making breakthroughs in Russian genealogy
Guide to Using the Best & Largest Russian Language Genealogy Forum (with a video guide)

New Soviet Era database releases free documents on more than 1 million citizens

The past of the former Soviet Union is coming alive in 2020 to the benefit of genealogy. A new database is displaying free documents on more than 1 million citizens of the former USSR.

For years, I have read books about the awards to Soviet citizens who worked their heart out for Soviet achievement goals and received awards for their hard work in agriculture and industry. Finally, a database with free scanned records has been posted online for those who received the awards from 1939 to 1990.

Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy Fund and Library Archive has posted its scanned archives here and more scans are expected to be posted later this year.

The information provided in this database cannot be found anywhere else online. 

Here is a video on how to use this database without knowing Russsian.

The database can be searched by surname, given name, patronymic name (middle name derived from father’s first name), place of employment, region of the USSR where the award was received, type of award and date of award.

For those who don’t know Russian, here are simple instructions on how to use this database.

  1. Download Google Translate web browser app or a comparable app onto a desktop or laptop computer to view the website in English.
  2. Type the keywords in English on Google Translate, Yandex or here for a Russian translate.
  3.  For those not using a translating web browser app, copy and paste the keywords into Фамилия (surname); Имя (given name);  Отчество (patronymic name); Организация/Предприятие (organization/ enterprise); Регион (region where the award was received); Вид награды (type of award); Дата постановления с (resolutions starting from); and Дата постановления по (resolution date).
  4. Click on найти to start the search.
  5. The results will appear in a list. The information provided in the list will include full name, award and the date received, organization where the person worked, and region and district of the award presentation.
  6. Reduce the number of keywords if too few results appear or add keywords to reduce the number of results.  Remember town and region names change over time before eliminating a match.
  7. Once a link is clicked from the results page, the scanned documents will appear on the right.
  8. If a user wants to change the keywords from the results page, click on the red button уточнить (clarify) on top right and the keyword search page will appear.
  9.  Remember to download any scanned records that have potential in having information on relatives and ancestors. Plenty of Facebook genealogy groups are available to translate documents.

It is well worth searching every known surname that appears in your family tree and exhausting all keyword combinations before giving up. This is a simple website for building skills to understand how to use Russian language databases.

The potential in breaking down genealogy brickwalls is knowing how to use these databases. More information will come through the years. Be ready for the challenge when that breakthrough comes for you.

Remember to follow this blog with the top right button to catch the newest databases and latest updates for available databases.

Related posts:
The cure for fearing Russian-language genealogy websites to make breakthroughs
Arolsen Archives quietly adds 13 million more WWII records…
Database of political terror victims in the USSR explodes past 3 million
Massive database reveals priceless information on rebels of the Russian Revolution
Expert guide to using Google Translate in Russian and Ukrainian genealogy

Grandmother leaves behind a foundation for uncovering Baltic German roots

Vladislav Dominyak made one visit to archives and it sent him on an adventure that he had not planned.

He learned that Latvian archives placed birth records online after visiting the archives in Riga. Boom, there came the genealogy bug for the Russian man from Saint Petersburg.

“This defined my electronic habitat for the next year,” he says. “It is interesting that the awareness and structuring of information occurs in a spiral. As new information appears, I return to the already familiar photographs, compare people, places, etc.”

He takes advantage of his skills from his job, teacher of psychology at St. Petersburg State University, to study his family tree.

So far, he has 743 people in his family tree, dating back to 1722. Thanks to his grandmother with Baltic German ancestry, Vladislav, 48, had a great foundation to create his family tree for the past five years.

His grandmother kept the family documents highly organized, not knowing her grandson would one day create the family tree from her collection.

“The archive turned out to be very impressive: photos, metrics, letters, notes, diaries, even apartment bills,” Vladislav says.

He is enthusiastic about his genealogy hobby, but not his family.

“Mom is pretty skeptical. Father is positive, but without much interest,” Vladislav says. “When I start talking about what I have learned about one of my relatives, he quickly begins to get bored. But the closer the relatives, the more interest.”

He has met other people who share his excitement for genealogy but he has become accustomed to a certain reaction to his hobby.

“When people find out that I am engaged in genealogy, the most common response is a restrained, detached, respectful reaction: ‘Oh, yes, this is interesting.’ But there is usually no real interest,” Vladislav says.

As a child, he doesn’t remember people studying the family tree as a hobby. Relatives talked about family legends but that was it, Vladislav says.

His family’s focus is on yachting.  Vladislav prefers water-based tourism and kayaking.

Vladislav’s great-grandfather, Nikolai Alekseevich Podgornov, was a participant of the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden. His crew on the Norman yacht didn’t taken any prizes. Vladislav found information on his great-grandfather’s participation in the Olympics from an online search.

The interest in yachting continued onto his grandparents’ generation. His maternal grandmother Olga Nikolaevna Simakova (Podgornova) was a master of sailing and Vladislav believes she was possibly the first female captain of a small yacht team in the former USSR. Her husband and Vladislav’s grandfather took boating to a professional level as a sea captain.

Grandma Olga

Meanwhile, his paternal grandma Karina Ivanovna Nelius, daughter of a bank clerk, worked as an artist who was a student of noted artist Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin. She married a graphic artist.

Karina’s work is displayed at Museum of Art of St. Petersburg. See her work here.

Grandma Karina

Vladislav knows the most about his Baltic German ancestry from Latvia. His ancestors lived in Valmiera, Gazenpot, in addition to Riga, and arrived in St. Petersburg in 1904. He has discovered a paternal great-great-grandmother from Lisice in western Poland and learned of Polish ancestry from his mother’s family.

“Knowing who the ancestors were makes you feel better. I have someone to be proud of,” Vladislav says. “There is someone to look up to…By the way, the more I learn about my relatives, the more alive they seem to me.”

Follow this blog with the top right button to catch the next post in the series that brings light to how people from Russia and Ukraine study genealogy.

Previous posts from the Bending Curtain series:
Years of patience leads to an accumulation of discoveries
Ukrainian native inspired to research family after discovery of “American” ancestor
Keeping alive some notable ancestors in a Russian family tree
Coming back to Ukrainian roots through genealogy
Introducing “Bending Curtain: A Changing Tide in Genealogy in the Former USSR”