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:
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Expert guide to using Google Translate in Russian and Ukrainian genealogy

 

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

 

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.

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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

Russian State Public Historical Library offers amazing free genealogy document scans

A lot more Russian genealogy documents are sitting online waiting to be discovered than can be imagined.

Russian State Public Historical Library, the country’s largest scientific library specialized in history, keeps busy by posting scanned old books and booklets that can’t be found easily elsewhere. The website doesn’t involve any fees or registration and offers simple downloading.

The historical library has more than 200 genealogical and biological references on topics ranging from coats of arms to lists of mischief people expelled from Moscow here. I have listed below more than 35 books/booklets that would have the most interest.

Here is a link to a Zoom video that simply explains using the historical library website.

Most of the below books/booklets are listing people in alphabetical order.

Here is the order of the Russian alphabet:

А Б В Г Д Е Ё Ж З И Й К Л М Н О П Р С Т У Ф Х Ц Ч Ш Щ Э Ю Я

Before panicking and closing this page, have your family surnames translated from English to Russian on Google Translate or here. Having the names in Russian is half the effort involved with using these books/booklets.

The next important step is downloading Google Translate browser app or any other similar app onto your desktop or laptop computer. The app will automatically put Russian State Public Historical Library’s website into English.

The last half of the effort involved is lots of clicking and comparing your Russian surnames to the text in front of you. Once you make it to a page with the starting letter of your surnames, it will be lots comparing to see if any information exists on your ancestors or relatives.

Here’s an example how the website looks like before becoming too intimidated by a Russian website:

Once you find your family surnames in these books/booklets for the first time even if it is nothing about your family, your confidence with Russian documents will boom. I promise.

Don’t panic if you are not sure whether you found anything of importance. Facebook is loaded with friendly genealogy enthusiasts to help with translations of your downloads.

Below these links are more important guides for Russian and Ukrainian genealogy. Remember to follow this blog with the top right button to catch more posts on free resources in Russian and Ukrainian genealogy.

Nobility:

Pedigree book of princes and noblemen of Russia and abroad. printed 1787

List of noblemen of the Kingdom of Poland, with a summary of the evidence of the nobility; Appendix II to the list of nobles of the Kingdom of Poland (in Polish) printed 1851

Yearbook of the Russian nobility (in French) printed 1899

An alphabetical index of persons who were granted privileges in 1901 printed 1901

A list of titled families and persons of the Russian Empire from 1894 to 1908 printed 1908

Genealogical information about Russian noblemen and noble families descended from extramarital unions printed 1915

Nobility by region:

An alphabetical list of the noble families of the Bessarabian province, included in the noble genealogy book printed 1901 (now Moldovia)

Alphabetical index of the noble families of the Kostroma province, included in the genealogy book, divided into six parts, from 1790 to 1899 printed 1900

Alphabetical list of noble families included in the genealogy of noble books of Mogilev province printed  1908 (now Belarus)

Moscow nobility: an alphabetical list of noble families with a brief indication of the most important documents in the genealogical files of the Archive of the Moscow noble deputy assembly printed 1910

List of noble families included in the genealogy book of the Penza province. printed 1900.

List of noble families of the Sedletsk province printed 1910 (now Poland)

The nobility of the Tula province. – Tula, 1899-1916. printed 1916

Coats of Arms:

The general coat of arms of the noble families of the All-Russian Empire, begun in 1797 printed 1836

The coat of arms of the noble families of the Kingdom of Poland, the highest approved (in Russian and Polish) printed 1853

Coats of arms of Little Russian noble families printed 1892

Merchants: 

An alphabetical index of the names and firms of merchants, industrialists. printed 1899

Kazan merchant assembly. List of honorary and full members of the Kazan merchant assembly for 1914/Kazan merchant assembly printed 1914

Reference book about the persons of the Petrograd merchants and other ranks, joint-stock and share companies and trading houses, who received from November 1, 1915 to January 1, 1916 class certificates for the 1st and 2nd guilds, trade certificates of 1 and 2 categories for commercial enterprises, 1-5 grades for industrial enterprises, 2 and 3 grades for personal fishing activities. printed 1916

Persecution:

Alphabetical list of persons expelled from Moscow by order of his Excellency Mr. Moscow military governor-general, from August 11, 1848 to January 1, 1853 printed 1853

Alphabetical list of political criminals, deprived of the rights of state by court, whose property is subject to confiscation to the treasury, until October 1, 1864  printed 1865

Alphabetical index to books and pamphlets, as well as numbers of timed editions, the arrest of which was approved by court orders on April 15, 1914 printed 1915

Political Persecution:

Named and systematic index [to the historical-revolutionary bulletin “Hard labor and exile” for 1921-1925. printed 1928

Named and systematic index to the historical-revolutionary bulletin “Hard labor and exile” for 1926-1928. printed 1930

Political penal servitude and exile: biographical directory of members of the Society of Political Prisoners and Exiled Settlers printed 1929

Name index to the historical-revolutionary bulletin “Hard labor and exile” for 1929-1930. printed 1932

Political penal servitude and exile: biographical directory of members of the Society of Political Prisoners and Exiled Settlers. printed 1934

Military:

List of lieutenant colonels by seniority for Russian Imperial Army [1838, 1840, 1843-1844, 1848, 1842, 1855-1857, 1859, 1861-1881, 1883-1914]  Information about the passage of service, awards, and since 1887 – year of birth, religion, marital status, education. 

Alphabetical list of settlements in the Don Cossack Region. printed 1915.

Civil War:

Red heroes: a list of participants in the Civil War, awarded the Order of the Red Banner. printed 1920

A personal list of casualties at the front in the personnel of the workers ‘and peasants’ Red Army during the civil war. printed 1926

World War I

The second list of the killed, wounded, missing lower ranks of this war. printed 1915

Named list of wounded and sick soldiers in hospitals and infirmaries. – Pg., 1915-1916. printed 1916

Lists of Russian prisoners of war delivered from Germany. printed 1917

List of Russian subjects caught in the war abroad. printed 1914

List of addresses of refugees. printed 1916

List of Refugees Wanted by American Migrants printed 1916

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The art of researching Ukrainian ancestors on Ancestry.com

Documenting Ukrainian cemeteries for FindAGrave has been quite the boot camp for me. I never imagined it would be so complicated to find information on these immigrants on Ancestry.com.

Thankfully, I have learned so much about how to find these people on Ancestry.com with my determination. Hopefully, this knowledge will finally help others in their journey to research on Ancestry.com.

Here are the surprising facts I learned about researching Ukrainian immigrants, many of whom were from western Ukraine and Galicia:

  1. The last names of husbands, wives and children sometimes are not always spelled the same.
  2. The tradition of spelling surnames by gender doesn’t always continue in the USA such as Dobrovolska for women and Dobrovolsky for men.
  3. Surnames are sometimes written in English with random vowel changes from the original transliterated spelling of the Ukrainian name.
  4. The birth date on gravestones sometimes doesn’t match information mentioned on documents on Ancestry.com. The birth year has been off by 5 years for some people. So don’t automatically eliminate a possible document match without further digging.
  5. First names are sometimes an English name that starts with a similar starting letter sound as the original Ukrainian first name.

So how can Ukrainian relatives and ancestors be found on Ancestry.com with so many complications? The best tool for researching Ukrainian immigrants on Ancestry.com has been the * (shift and 8 together on pc’s and mac’s).

To search Ukrainians with complicated names, spell with as many letters as possible and use an * at the end for the unsure endings. See the image below for an example. This method really helped me to confirm name spellings for people buried at Ukrainian-American cemeteries I was documenting on FindAGrave.

When this doesn’t work, it’s time to switch the suspected vowels to every possible vowel. The use of i,y,j also make the searches complicated so switch the order of those letters in every possible combination.

If too many results appear, here are some tips to narrow them down:

  1.  Select a gender.
  2. Click on United States or their chosen country under Collection Focus.
  3. Add the state in the place your ancestor might have lived box and click on exact under the box.
  4. Tweak with the Search Filters box on the top right to move between exact, sounds like and similar.

Here are some other important reminders:

  1. Anyone who came from Galicia could be listed on Ancestry.com as being born in Ukraine, Poland and Austria. Those people also could be listed from Carpathian Mountains or Malopolskie.
  2. If a US immigrant on Ancestry.com appears as a good match for your family tree, consider searching for them in this database or getting their Social Security application if they lived past 1936. The amount of information on the application is amazing and could confirm or deny suspicions.
  3. Research matches completely: spouses, children, siblings, parents, etc. before moving on. Those who came to the new country without knowing English couldn’t perfectly fill out documents. (My grand uncle is listed as coming from Kesin, Soviet Union, when he came from Kyiv.)
  4. Keep track of different spellings for the surnames you are researching on paper or a text file. It can really make the difference when doing further research on the families.
  5. Change the box on the bottom left to show 50 results per page so important patterns could be seen on the same page.
  6. Remember these important endings to last names: ycz/icz;  zyn; jy/yj, czuk/tschuk/juk; chenko/czenko and czyj.

If none of these suggestions work, it will likely take 20th century research to find records on Ukrainian immigrants. It will be time to call the Ukrainian churches near where they lived.

I have been stunned by the number of Ukrainian immigrants buried in an American cemetery who don’t have records on Ancestry.com or were noted in only one record. It takes determination to research Ukrainian immigrants but the knowledge gained will be worth a pricey genealogy class.

Related posts:
Guide to finding the mystery family villages of Russia and Ukraine
Guide for spelling Russian and Ukrainian names to break those solid brickwalls
Best tips on uncovering U.S. documents on mysterious Soviet Union relatives