Another treasure for researching World War I heroes

Databases are aplenty for World War II heroes but World War I heroes haven’t been forgotten. The newest database for World War I heroes is a great research tool, with the perk of having scanned military archive records.

Many people researching their ancestors from the former Russian Empire are challenged by using Russian websites. But In memory of the heroes of the Great War of 1914-1918 can be easily used with the directions below, even without knowing Russian.

The website has 2,278,000 entries on soldiers who received awards, went missing and/or died. The same information with scanned military records can’t be found on subscription-based websites.

In memory of the heroes of the Great War of 1914-1918  is free of cost and registration.

Here’s a peek at the search page translated into English, using this link:

To search this database, all keywords must be in Russian. Make sure to open Google Translate in the next window to the database.

If Google Translate can’t translate your ancestors’ names and birthplaces, use Transliterating English to Russian in One Step.

A few words won’t translate using the above link on the database’s search boxes- Губерния (region); Уезд: (county); Волость (parish) and Населенный пункт (community).

Here’s how to get great results:

  1. Use only confirmed information on people being searched. If a death year is not confirmed through other sources, skip that box.
  2. If the database doesn’t give any matches, redo the search by using less information.
  3.  When family information is limited, try searching by surname and village.
  4. If you are searching for more than one person, copy and paste all the keywords in Russian for each person into a Microsoft Word or another word processing document.

If you can’t read Russian, copy and paste each page of results into Google Translate.

It’s good to know if your ancestors’ surnames or villages translate into other words in English (such as cobbler, cabbage, etc,). You can double-check this by copying and pasting the surnames and villages name in Russian into Google Translate and viewing the English translations.

Some surnames and village names will translate letter by letter into similar-sounding Roman letters.

The scanned records from military archives can be downloaded from the website, drag the images to the desktop on Macs and right-click on PCs. If you don’t read Russian, do a print screen, save it to a Word document and paste the translated text from Google Translate.

If you want to try your luck with other databases, click here for other free databases.

The adventurous types can try to find more information on the Internet with new information found in the database in Russian. Here are some hints:
Secrets of searching the Internet in Russian and Ukrainian like a native speaker

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Databases of Soviet Army soldiers as POWs provide wealth of information

It’s wonderful to hear stories of Soviet Army soldiers who returned home to their families. Too many Soviet Army soldiers were taken prisoner and never heard from again.

One database from Germany provides information on 700,000 Soviet Army soldiers who died as POWs. The typical solider will have the following details: first name, last name, birthdate or birth year, father’s first name, birthplace, death date, nationality and identification number for the database.

This database is easy to use in German with the following suggestions.

  1. Change the letter v to w. Vladimir will also appear as Wladimir. Smirnov will also appear as Smirnow. The website has Ivanov written as Ivanov and Iwanow.
  2. Change the letter y to j. Vasiliy will also appear as Vasilij.
  3. If nothing can be found with the changes suggest in No.1 and 2, try the known or common spellings.
  4. Remember the e may be dropped in names such as Petr and Alexandr.
  5. Search by last or first name only if searches with first and last names are not successful.

The search box is above two phrases- Beginn des Namen (start of name) and Teil des Namen (part of name). The beginnings and endings of first names can be searched, in addition to last names.

Once information is found on a soldier, obtain additional information by sending an e-mail message in German (using Google Translate) to the first address listed here or mailing a letter to the first postal address listed.

If the people being researched aren’t on this database, check these lists that are translated into English.

Arkhangelsk Region, Russia

List of Soviet Army soldiers who died as POWs of the Germans

List of Soviet Army soldiers who died as POWs of the Finnish

Auschwitz, Poland

List of Soviet Army soldiers at  Auschwitz– There are 2,032 Soviet Army POWs in this database, listed in alphabetic order in English. One card of information is given on each soldier, written in German. The images can’t be download so print or try holding down Ctrl and PrntScr at the same time and paste the print screen into an image editing program.

Kiev

List of Soviet prisoners of war who died in German captivity in hospital No. 3 in White Church, Kiev Region, in the winter of 1941-42

Stalag 326

List of Soviet prisoners of war who died in Germany captivity

Maps

Map of German POW camps for Soviet Army soldiers

Map of Finnish POW camps for Soviet Army soldiers

If nothing can be found on the people being researched, make free search requests with International Tracing Service here. It could take a year to get a response.

Remember to look at the Free Databases page to see the other databases for researching in Russia and Ukraine.

Another gem for researching relatives who served in the Soviet Army during WWII

It takes some digging to uncover great finds for researching relatives from the former USSR. Genealogy research isn’t the commercial enterprise in Russia as it is in the English-speaking world.

So it’s a happy dance moment when one more gem is found. My latest find is Ветераны Великой Отечественной войны (Veterans of the Great Patriotic War).

This wonderful website has pages of photos and stories for more than 12,000 WWII veterans of the Soviet Union. Yes, this website is only in Russian but directions are given below on how to search and use the site for those unfamiliar with Russian.

This is the first website on WWII veterans of the Soviet Union that I have found with pictures of each veteran, plus stories of their lives. The people who contributed the photos and stories are mentioned by full name and place of residence.

For those familiar with Russian, the search box is above the first row of veterans with a button that says найти (find).

For those unfamiliar with Russian, go to this link to search. Then open Google Translate in the next browser window.

Here’s how to check whether any of the veterans included on the website are your relatives.

  1. Translate your last names and family villages/towns/cities using Google Translate or the Steve Morse website.
  2. If you are searching common Russian names such as Ivanov, Smirnov, Romanov, etc., I highly recommend searching the website with last names and family villages/towns/cities.
  3. Copy and pasta the Russian translations of last names and family villages/towns/cities into the long search box and then click on the button that says найти.
  4. If you use Google Chrome, the Russian may be automatically translated into English. If your browser doesn’t translate automatically into English, copy and paste each page of results into Google Translate.
  5. Please remember if you can’t find your last names and family villages/towns/cities after using Google Translate, the names translated into other words, i.e. last name Kapusta could translate from Russian into English as cabbage.
  6. If you didn’t get any results by using together last names and family villages/towns/cities, try only one type of keyword. Also, try using all possible spellings suggested on the Steve Morse website before giving up hope.

Now that you were brave enough to try searching in Russian on this website, try searching the whole Internet in Russian. Here’s my guide on taking that next step: Secrets of searching the Internet in Russian and Ukrainian like a native speaker.

Remember to follow this blog by clicking on the follow button on the top right of this page. Great free research resources are discussed on this blog throughout the year.

Families reveal stories of Soviet Army soldiers for the Great Patriotic War

b_polk_shapka_2The people of the former USSR will never forget the Great Patriotic War. A boundless amount of information has been finding its way onto the Internet. The only things lacking online have been faces and stories of the Red Army soldiers until now.

Бессмертного полка is filling in that gap to bring faces and stories of the average Soviet Army soldier. It’s easy to find this material on the soldiers who were most notable in the Great Patriotic War.

Now, the average and proud Soviet Army soldiers are being remembered with photos and stories by their living relatives on Бессмертного полка.  Maybe I should say LIVING RELATIVES one more time.

This is not just some website with a list of soldiers and their divisions. It’s an opportunity to find living relatives of family disconnected by the war.

So here’s how to use the website:

  1. First use Google Translate to put names and places of residence in Russian.
  2. Copy and paste the translated keywords into the search box here and click on искать. If results are not found, slowly reduce the number of keywords for the soldier being researched.
  3. When the results appear, copy and paste them into Google Translate to see which results would be most useful.
  4. If the website is intimidating in Russian, use this technique: translated name of solider and their place of residence into Google with site:http://moypolk.ru/. For example: Иванов Кострома  site:http://moypolk.ru/ Then follow step 3.
  5. To contact the person who posted a page, click on the name next to Координатор on the right that is above МЫ В СОЦСЕТЯХ (for the social network images). That person is the organizer for the region where that soldier lived.

Family also can be found by copying keywords from the soldier’s page such as full name, Родился (born) then date,  д. (abbreviation for village) then the village’s name, and медали (medals) and pasting those keywords into Google.

Make that extra effort and it could result in discovering an incredible amount of information on those long, lost relatives.

Related posts:
Massive Soviet Army WWII database tells the story of millions of soldiers
Time-killing Google search leads to massive WWI database

Unique website reveals military and repression era information from Russia

Finding a website that is easy to use and filled with information for Russian genealogy takes a lot of patience and time to uncover.

Погибшие is an incredible website with information spanning from War of 1812 to the first Chechen War. That makes it a unique website for Russian genealogy.

Usually, it would take a lot of time to cover this material on numerous websites that is just alone on Погибшие. This website provides information on some of those who served in the Patriotic War of 1812, Russian-Japanese War of 1904-1905, World War I, World War II, Afghanistan War and the first Chechen War.

Not only are patriotic Russians covered on this website, information can be found on some rebels and repressed people of the Russian Revolution and USSR.

This website is only in Russian and can be translated by using Google Translate. Here is the website translated into English.

Here are tips on how to use this website even with little knowledge of Russian.

  1. Have your surnames translated into Russian on Google Translate.
  2. Then copy and paste your translated surnames into the left box on Google Translate to see whether any of the names translate into words such as surname Kapusta (translated from Cyrillic to English will be Cabbage). When using Google Translate, someone looking for people named Kapusta will have to look for people named Cabbage.
  3. If using Google Translate makes this website too hard to understand, here is another way to search the entire website. Do step 1 and then paste one surname at a time next to site:http://xn--90adhkb6ag0f.xn--p1ai/ into Google.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Then copy and paste the search results into Google Translate to see which results are worth viewing.
  4. If this website doesn’t intimidate you in Russian, paste one surname at a time into the search box on the right above Введите фамилию солдата to find only soldiers.
  5. If you use Google Translate with this website, paste one surname at a time into the search box on the right above Enter the name of a soldier.
  6. Step 3 will be needed to search the entire website. It’s as simple as Иванов site:http://xn--90adhkb6ag0f.xn--p1ai/ into Google.
  7. Once you find information that could be useful, it’s time move onto serious searching on the Internet, based on the information you found.

Take that next step by reading Secrets of searching the Internet in Russian and Ukrainian like a native speaker.

Massive Soviet Army WWII database tells the story of millions of soldiers

The Russian government is sharing the joy of the 70th anniversary for the Soviet Army’s victory over the German army with the world. This anniversary is being celebrated with the opening of an impressive database.

Memory of a Nation 1941-1945 has more than 50 million records on Soviet Army WWII soldiers and that includes 2 million records on locations of soldiers’ burial sites.

The cherry on top of this tasty Russian torte is that paths of individual soldiers are shown on maps with details on their unit’s activities. It is so thrilling to look up my grandfather’s brother on this database and see the path he took with his unit through Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Germany and learn the medals he earned on his way to the Soviet Army’s victory.

mapvalentin

I do not have the luck of finding records of my grandfather in this database. He was a “traitor” for getting captured by the German army, then escaping a German POW camp and finding a way out of the Soviet Ukraine during the war.

Every effort to find his records have failed after contacting military archives in Ukraine and Russia. Now that effort to contact military archives is no longer needed, thanks to this database.

The only caveat in using this database is that only keywords in Russian can be used in the search engine. Names and other keywords can be easily translated on Google Translate. This website can be viewed through Google Translate here.

To easily work through the website, here are some simple translations: фамилия: last name; имя: first name; отчество: patronymic name (middle name from the father, i.e. Ivanovich); год рождения: birth year; место рождения: place of birth; and дата выбытия: date of service ending.

Out of curiosity, I searched my great-grandfather’s Russian birth village to see who would appear in the database. This may be an easier way to find relatives in the database if it is easier to translate names of villages and small towns than complicated Russian surnames.

If people who are uncomfortable with Russian websites still aren’t convinced of the database’s value, here is an article in English, explaining the database in detail.

The effort to use this database will prove to be well-worth it in results for many people.

Time-killing Google search leads to massive WWI database

Everyone has heard the saying that things will come to you when you are not looking. I was searching on Google about my paternal grandmother’s Don Cossack ancestry.

I didn’t find anything too exciting until one result was a database for Russian soldiers who were injured and/or died in World War I. Sometimes these databases can be complicated to use for those who don’t know Russian.

But this database can be searched in English! This website also has the original records for 1,068,811 men who served in the war.

Most soldiers have their full name (first, patronymic and surname); place of residence by region, neighborhood and village; military rank; religion; marital status and date of injury or death. Then, that information is listed with links to the original military records.

Here’s how to use this great resource: put the last name in the line for Фамилия, first and patronymic names in the line for Имя-отчеств, (You can’t just use patronymic name for this line.) and place of residence in the line for Место жительства. If you don’t get results when you include place of residence, remove the information.

If you can’t read Russian, copy and paste the results into Goggle Translate. The only material that can’t be translated into English is the military records linked next to Источник.

So go check out this wonderful resource. A wonderful discovery may be awaiting you.