More than 8 million records posted to massive World War II soldier database for the former USSR

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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Database reveals details on citizens, evacuees and soldiers from the Siege of Leningrad

More than 75 years have passed since World War II ended but the information flowing onto the Internet to document the war continues to the benefit of those doing their genealogy.

The newest database on World War II is “The Book of Memory of the Siege of Leningrad”. View the database text in English here.

(Download a cheatsheet for Russian and Ukrainian words found on databases- flruf-database-cheatsheet.pdf)

Readers can view a video on how to use this database without knowing Russian here. The database will be less intimidating after viewing the video.

About 9 million records are available on this database to document the evacuation of residents from Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), provide information about those who died or survived the siege of Leningrad, offer data on those who served in the Soviet Army’s military units to defend Leningrad from the German army and release records on residents and people’s militia members who received awards for their service during the siege.

The archives of Chelyabinsk, Yaroslavl, Tver and Novosibirsk regions are working to provide the database more complete information on Leningrad residents who were relocated to their regions.

Those unaware of the evacuation process of Leningrad can learn about it here (translated into English).

Those who are unfamiliar Russian can follow these directions to search the database:

  1. Downloading Google Translate’s Internet browser app to a laptop or desktop computer is highly recommended to make viewing of the database so much easier.
  2. Use Google Translate or Transliterating English to Russian in One Step to write relatives’ and/or ancestors’ names in Russian.
  3. Create a document to keep a list of searched names so the search is organized and efficient.
  4. Copy and paste the translated names into the search box.
  5. Start searching with full names (in the order of last name, first name and  patronymic name (name derived from the father’s first name such as Nicholaevich or Nicholaevna). If the patronymic names are not known, just use the last and first names.
  6. If results don’t appear, remove the first name (given name). Then remove the patronymic name to see what is available on the last name.

Here is a sample result on an evacuee:

Those who want to search specifically about evacuees need to use this link.

With using the Google Translate browser app, the search page for evacuees will look like this:

The keywords still need to be written in Russian to search even with using the Google Translate app.

Those who don’t know Russian also can try looking through the alphabetically listed evacuees under the search box but it will take awhile with more than 800,000 evacuees documented on the database.

This database is worth searching for anyone who had relatives or ancestors living in Leningrad during WWII. It is a database that I never imagined would get online because the complications involved to detail the information.

Hopefully, this database gives closure for those wondering all these years about what happened to their families and ancestors during the siege.

Related posts:
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New WWII databases reveal amazing information, honoring 75th anniversary of victory
Another treasure for researching World War I heroes
New WWII Soviet Army database gives faces to veterans
New database documents fighters of independence of Ukraine from 1917-1924

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.

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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:
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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

 

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
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Expert guide to using Google Translate in Russian and Ukrainian genealogy