Re: Deciphering Russian records without surnames #russia


The easy part first - recognizing text from late 1700's - early 1800's.  There are a number websites that list samples of Russian letters as they changed over the past couple of hundred years, that you will find helpful, for example this site:  You will have to adjust it to the document you are reading by looking for letters in common names, as there are definitely going to be idiosyncrasies between different writers at that time.  Documents became easier to read by the 1820's, as the letters and style closer resemble modern letters.

The "no surnames issue".  This is a tough one.  You might get lucky if you are able to match given, patronymic, age, as well as the relatives names.  However, the issue is that at the time most people had double names, but different records might include either both, or just one of the names of the person as well as their patronymic.  This becomes a guessing game.  Also, your relatives might have not lived in the same locality during the prior census, so the match might be against someone else entirely.

Mike Vayser

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