Russian archives introduce new WWII database on Nazi victims

Databases are plentiful on those who served in the Soviet Army, but what about the civilian victims of Nazi occupation in Russia?

Now that missing piece to document the experiences those who suffered during Nazi occupation has arrived in the form of a new database.

More than 46,000 Russian victims of Nazi persecution on Russian territory are documented in the new database, “Crimes of the Nazis and their accomplices against the civilian population of the USSR during the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945.”

Naturally, there were many more victims than currently documented in this database but this is a great beginning. I expect many more records will be posted to this database.

Thankfully, this free database doesn’t involve any registration. Also, victims can be searched by name or found through the alphabetically listing separated by the Russian letters. Filters help narrow down the name searches.

Records on this database also can be viewed by regions of Russia, Belarus and the Soviet Karelia Republic and the autonomous republics here.

This information cannot be obtained from any other website. Not a chance that these records are on the noted  Arolsen Archives database. Russian archives won’t hand over these scans to a German-based organization.

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

  1. Download Google Translate or another language translator for web browsers.
  2. Use Google Translate or this website to write names in Russian.
  3.  Start simple with searching by surnames and use first names to reduce the number of results.
  4. If results don’t appear, go through names in the alphabetical listing. The surnames may be spelled differently or incorrectly in the database.
  5. To download the images,  click on the text to the right of the scanned image. If you download the small image on the left, it will be a grainy and useless scan.
  6. Then the images for the victim will appear. Click on each image to see it in full view. The image can be downloaded from here.
  7. For more information about the scans, click on the white bar that says Указатели и теги (Pointers and tags). The towns and regions mentioned in the scan will be listed first, then the victims and finally tags for the type of crimes.
  8. Make sure to save the downloads in two places.

The scans be translated in three ways.  They can be retyped using the keyboard here on Typeit and then copy and paste the text into Google Translate.

Those who have a cell phone with a working camera can download the Google Translate app onto their phone.

Once it is downloaded, click under the blue bar to set the translation to Russian- English, press on the camera image and hold the phone steady. The app will give a decent translation of the typed text within the scan.

The easiest way to get translations is to ask nicely for help on Facebook genealogy groups that focus on Russian genealogy.

Besides this database, the website has a list of Russian regional projects offered by archives on how World War II affected people of their areas. The list can be found here.

I will post again when a large update is made to this database. Follow this blog with the top right button to catch important posts on databases and helpful resources for Russian and Ukrainian genealogy.

Related posts:
New database documents 1 million WWII citizen heroes who defended Moscow
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The cure for fearing Russian-language genealogy websites to make breakthroughs
Secrets of searching the Internet in Russian and Ukrainian like a native speaker
Expert guide to using Google Translate in Russian and Ukrainian genealogy

New database documents 1 million WWII citizen heroes who defended Moscow

Russian archives have been busy posting WWII records online this year, in time for Russia’s celebration of the 76th anniversary of Victory Day on May 9.

The latest database is honoring citizens who helped with the defense of Moscow  during the war. A third of recipients were women and children. People who came from Yarolsav Region (north of Moscow Region) to construct defensive structures also received the medal.

More than one million people were awarded the For the Defense of Moscow medal. Those who received the medal can be found here, with scanned documents detailing their information. Personal details on these people can include their birth year, political party affiliation, nationality, employer and work title.

(Check out this video guide on using the database for those who are unfamiliar with Russian.)

The “For the Defense of Moscow” Medal database offers document scans for free and without registration. The scans can be downloaded in the same way as any English-language website. None of the subscription genealogy websites have this information or documents.

Award recipients can be searched just by last, first or patronymic name (such as Nikolaevich for a man whose father was Nikolai). A list of recipients appears when a Russian letter is clicked on but that is not the complete list of recipients for each letter.

So here are some tips on using the database without knowing Russian:

  • Have Google Translate in the next window for translating names. 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.
  • If results can’t be found on close relatives, try searching for cousins, no matter how distant. It sometimes takes a random cousin to bring new life to research.
  • Remember to swipe to the right to see all the documents on a person included in the database. The video guide shows how to do this.
  • Download any scans that could be on relatives or ancestors and save them in at least two places.

Once records are found, many Facebook genealogy groups for Russian and Eastern European genealogy are available to help with translating documents.

Here is a sample document from the database:

More ambitious souls can retype the Russian text with this online keyboard and copy and paste the text into Google Translate to read the information in English.

This database is just the beginning of documenting citizens’ efforts to help the Soviet Union win the war. Last year, a similar database was posted for the defense of Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg).

The database documented about 67,000 people in May 2020 and now the database has grown to almost 180,000 documented medal recipients.

These medals also were given to civilians in Odessa (Ukraine), Sevastopol, Stalingrad (now Volgograd), Caucasus, Transartic and Kyiv (Ukraine). Hopefully, databases for civilians who received the medal in these cities will appear online in the near future.

Follow this blog with the top right button to hear about the latest news in Russian and Ukrainian genealogy research, including new databases and updates to important databases.

Related posts:
Database reveals details on citizens, evacuees and soldiers from the Siege of Leningrad
New Soviet Era database releases free documents on more than 1 million citizens
New WWII databases reveal amazing information, honoring 75th anniversary of victory
The cure for fearing Russian-language genealogy websites to make breakthroughs
Secrets of searching the Internet in Russian and Ukrainian like a native speaker
Expert guide to using Google Translate in Russian and Ukrainian genealogy

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.

Related posts:
Newly published genealogy guide will help get a better hold on Russian genealogy
New WWII Soviet Army database gives faces to veterans
New database documents fighters of independence of Ukraine from 1917-1924
Arolsen Archives quietly adds 13 million more WWII records…

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

 

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