New WWII Soviet Army database gives faces to veterans

Russia will be going all out for the 75th anniversary of WWII’s Allied victory. That benefits anyone who had ancestors or relatives in the Soviet Army during WWII.

Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation has created a new database called Road of Memory, offering photos of WWII Soviet Army veterans.

The database was started in the late spring and has been growing each day by several hundred. Road of Memory is close to having 300,000 veterans documented with their personal photos. (Update: It’s about to tip over to about 2 million, as of May 2020.)

Each page on veterans has a link to the Memory of the People database, which details 18 million awards given to Soviet Army servicepeople.

It is well worth checking if anyone has posted photos of relatives and ancestors who served in WWII. Some people have posted additional information on the lives of their relatives who served in the Soviet Army.

The new database also is perfect for anyone who has photos of unfamiliar Soviet Army soldiers who need their service story completed more fully.

Road of Memory can be searched just by first name, patronymic name (middle name in honor of the father such as Ivanovich and Vasilevich), or last name. This works great when exact full name spellings are not known.

Here’s how to use the database:

  1. If you don’t know Russian, use Google Translate or Stephen Morse’s website for translating names into Russian.
  2. Copy the names into the box that says найти героя on the top right.
  3. Open each result link in a new window. If you don’t, the website requires you to restart the search.
  4. Copy and paste all text into Google Translate to see it in English.

If useful matches aren’t found, repeat the steps a few times a month. This database is growing on a daily basis.

Road of Memory is likely just the beginning of more online material on WWII soldiers. It wouldn’t surprise me if a large collection of Soviet Army military records is added online next year in honor of the 75th anniversary.

Follow this blog with the top right button to learn about news on important databases.

Related posts:
Millions of records added to WWII database (with a guide for searching the 18 million file database)
Free database on WWII soldiers grows by more than 5 million records
The cure for fearing Russian-language genealogy websites to make breakthroughs
Secrets of searching the Internet in Russian and Ukrainian like a native speaker

 

Millions of records added to WWII database

World War II ended 73 years ago and the Russian government is making sure the war stays fresh in people’s minds. That comes at a great advantage for those researching their relatives who served in the Soviet Army.

The latest update to Memory of the People adds 18 million service records, 1.3  million award records and 900,000 killed in action records to the database that has grown to about 70 million records.

To easily work through the website, here are some translations: фамилия: last name; имя: first name; отчество: patronymic name (middle name from the father, i.e. Ivanovich); год рождения: birth year; and воинское звание: military rank.

To view the search page in English, use this link. (Click on specify if the search boxes don’t appear.) The keywords still need to be in Russian. Keywords can translated from English to Russian by using Google Translate or Transliterating English to Russian in One Step.

Here’s a look at the search page:

This may seem like a lot of work but it will be a very long time before this information is posted in English, due to the politics and work involved.

This database allows researchers to avoid searching for the Russian military archives website, writing to the archives for information and waiting weeks for a response that will read that the information is posted free online.

Russian Military Archives provides a guide to this database in English here. The entire website can be used viewed in English through Google Translate, using this link.

For those ready to search this incredible database, here are some tips for more successful results.

  1. Open a Microsoft Word or text document for copying and pasting results. It is best to save the results somewhere so the search doesn’t have to be redone. Also, keep a list of people, surnames and villages/towns searched in a document.
  2. Start searching with all known information here. (Click on specify if the search boxes don’t appear.)
  3. If results don’t appear or good matches aren’t found, slowly eliminate keywords until more results appear.
  4. Copy and paste the results into Google Translate to see them in English.
  5. In case typos have occurred, it is recommended to search solely by village or town. Copy and paste the Russian translated village or town name into the place of birth search box to view everyone who is included in the database from that town or village.
  6. Keep a close eye on the results because names of places duplicate throughout the former USSR. You’ll need to know the neighborhood (rayon) and region (oblast) where your relatives lived.

Remember to keep trying. The joy of finding information in Russian databases is amazing. So much can be learned when facing challenges, even if it’s just the challenge of the Russian language.

Follow this blog by clicking on the top right button for more news on databases and other resources.

Check out more free databases here. The free information doesn’t end here.

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.