Re: Sons exempt from Russian draft #general

Ted Gostin <tgostin@...>


Saw your message on JewishGen with a question about sons exempt >from the
Russian draft.

I think the problem is your assumption that "oldest" son was exempt >from the
draft. As far as I know, this was not true. However, "only" sons were
exempt >from the draft, under the assumption that they might be the sole
source of support for parents. It was for this reason that sometimes a
family with more than one son would give a son away in adoption to a family
with no sons (at least "officially") so that he would become an "only" son
and therefore be exempt >from the draft.

This exemption doesn't seem to be very clearly explained in most sources
I've read, but is often referred to as if it were widely know. It is only
briefly referred to in Stanislawski's book _Tsar Nicholas I and the Jews_,
when he discusses ways the Jews tried to avoid the draft. I'm sure it is
better explained in Russian law books and Russian-language books on military
history, but as far as I know, no one in the Jewish genealogical community
has translated any official source explaining the exemption.

So it should not be a surprise that an oldest son appeared in a draft list,
since that status did not exempt him >from the draft. It was status as an
"only" son that would provide that exemption.

Ted Gostin
Sherman Oaks, CA 91413-1321
Member, Association of Professional Genealogists

-----Original Message-----

Subject: Draftee Lists; Russian Empire
From: Marv Goldberg <>
Date: Mon, 06 Oct 2014 14:06:16 -0400
X-Message-Number: 1

A general question about draftee lists in the Russian Empire. If it's
true, as I've read, that the oldest son was exempt >from the draft, would
he still appear on a draftee list (which I assume was a list of persons
the military was looking for)?

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