JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Russian Empire Business Directories, Vsia Rossiia #general

Logan J. Kleinwaks

The 1895, 1899, and 1900 editions of Vsia Rossiia, a business
directory covering all of the Russian Empire, are now full-text
searchable in their entirety at Since
they are written in Cyrillic, use one of the following procedures to
search (by default, all sources on the site, not just Vsia Rossiia,
will be searched simultaneously):

1) If you know the Cyrillic spelling of your search term, enter that
in the search box at the top. If you do not have a Cyrillic keyboard,
you can enter Cyrillic letters by clicking on the keyboard icon to the
left of the search box.

2) If you do not know the Cyrillic spelling of your search term, enter
the Latin script spelling and make sure that either "Add Latin ->
Cyrillic" (the default) or "Only Latin -> Cyrillic" is displayed in
the drop-down list below the search button. With the "Add" option
selected, the search engine will look for possible Cyrillic
transliterations of your search term in addition to the Latin spelling
you entered, while the "Only" option will only find Cyrillic

Regardless of which procedure you use, the search engine will attempt
to find both masculine and feminine forms of your search term,
essentially using the rules for Russian names. If you know that your
search term has an unusual gendered form, you should manually enter
the Cyrillic spelling of that form.

The search engine will completely ignore the Cyrillic yer characters,
so there is no need to include them in your search term. You also do
not need to worry about differences in pre- and post-reform Russian

The automatic transliteration has been optimized for search terms that
are surnames of Russian, German, Polish, Romanian, Lithuanian, or
Latvian origin, and will try to find Cyrillic transliterations with
Russian spelling (in the future, Ukrainian, Belarusian, and Bulgarian
spellings will also be checked).

The automatic transliteration finds valid transliterations using about
15 different transliteration systems, and considers the possibility of
both common transliteration errors and forgotten diacritical marks in
the search term. You do not have to enter letters with umlauts,
ogoneks, etc., but you might see false positives if you omit
diacritical marks that should be present. Note that it is not
uncommon for there to be several different transliterations in Vsia
Rossia or other Cyrillic sources on the site, none of which is a false
positive (e.g., "Hoffmann" appears as four different Cyrillic

If you are searching for a place, rather than a personal name, keep in
mind that the Russian place name might not be a transliteration of the
Polish, Lithuanian, etc. place name.

The automatic transliteration and manual Cyrillic searches do not yet
work with the OCR-Adjusted or D-M Soundex search options.
Transliteration also does not work for search terms consisting of
multiple words (Boolean AND).

Search results link directly to page images of Vsia Rossiia, hosted on
the Russian State Library's website. Since I cannot offer on-image
highlighting without hosting the images myself (or with cooperation
from the Russian State Library), you will need to examine the
resulting image in order to find your search term. The text snippet
in the search results can help you locate your search term. Also note
that many pages consist of alphabetized sections.

To view the Vsia Rossiia images without searching, visit: (1895, vol. 1) (1895, vol. 2) (1899, vol. 1) (1899, vol. 2) (1900, vol. 1) (1900, vol. 2)

Vsia Rossiia is not the only source containing Cyrillic that is
searchable at (e.g., many yizkor books,
directories for Warsaw, Lodz, and Bulgaria), and I will be adding
hundreds more in the future (most >from the Russian State Library). If
you know genealogists interested in Russian directories, please spread
the word. I welcome suggestions of directories to add, but please
note that I will only do so if the original source of the images is
clear and if that source has not specified any conflicting usage
restrictions (also, I have a huge backlog).

Note that parts of these and other editions of Vsia Rossiia are (and
have been for years) searchable as a manually-transcribed database at, an independent project, as
opposed to the Optical Character Recognition (OCR)-based index I use.

Happy searching and Happy Chanukah,

Logan Kleinwaks
near Washington, D.C.

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