Russia Jewish Research
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"Russia" may refer to:
- The present-day country Russia and historical Kingdom of Russia, which coincide to a large degree. The country/kingdom of Russia existed within the Soviet Union, the U.S.S.R., and the Russian Empire.
- A short-form reference to the Soviet Union or to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) which existed between 1922 and 1991.
- The Russian Empire which was formed in the 1500s and officially proclaimed as such by Tsar Peter I in 1721.
United States census records and arriving passenger lists often simply list the place of birth or origin as "Russia," usually meaning the Russian Empire and not the country of Russia. Careful research is needed to pinpoint the province and city/town, and from that to determine the present-day country.
To view a map showing the extent of the Russian Empire, click here.
Jewish Research resources on the FamilySearch Wiki are organized primarily by the present-day country, and not by the former designations. If possible, determine the city/town of origin and then search under its present-day country.
Alphabets and Languages
- U.S. Library of Congress Transliteration Tables for Cyrillic Alphabets.
- Transliterating Russian to English in One Step, online automatic transliterator by Steve Morse.
- Russian Genealogical Word List
Presently being developed, contributions welcome!.
Maps of Jews in the Russian Empire
- For a map showing the percentage of Jews in the Pale of Settlement and Congress Poland, c. 1905, click here.
- To view an additional historical map showing the historical percentage of Jews in governments, click here.
Definition of "Pale of Settlement" from Wikipedia.org:
The Pale of Settlement (Russian: Черта́ осе́длости, chertá osédlosti, Yiddish: דער תּחום-המושבֿ, der tkhum-ha-moyshəv, Hebrew: תְּחוּם הַמּוֹשָב, tḥùm ha-mosháv) was the term given to a region of Imperial Russia in which permanent residency by Jews was allowed and beyond which Jewish permanent residency was generally prohibited. It extended from the eastern pale, or demarcation line, to the western Russian border with the Kingdom of Prussia (later the German Empire) and with Austria-Hungary. The English term "pale" is derived from the Latin word "palus", a stake, extended to mean the area enclosed by a fence or boundary.
Gazetteer of Jewish Communities
- Use the JewishGen Communities Database by clicking here.
Jewish History in Russia
- Read the Wikipedia.org article History of the Jews in Russia, by clicking here].
- Explore The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe by clicking here.
JewishGen.org Family Finder
Find others, possibly cousins, searching for your family name in the same countries, cities, and villages. Search the JewishGen Family Finder by clicking here. Free registration required.
Ashkenazi Amsterdam in the Eighteenth Century "Research of the family origins and heritage of Dutch Jewry (A.R.)"
Russian Jewish Records
- In 1835 Russia mandated the keeping of Jewish records. Two copies were made. The official copy was turned into the government usually the city council - gorodskaia duma. Beginning in 1857, a Crown rabbi, paid by the state, kept the registers.
The JewishGen Databases
- JewishGen.org has indexed millions of Jewish records from the Russian Empire. These come from many different sources, e.g., vital records, voter lists, business directories, and ghetto records. The records are organized for searching under the present-day country names. Access requires free registration.
To search, click here.
Jewish Research by Country
Links to Jewish Research pages for countries comprising the former Russian Empire may be found here.