Russia Military Records

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Military records identify people who served in the military or who were eligible for service. They may be very useful for genealogical research, especially the detailed service records of the 20th century. The Family History Library has some records of the Russian military conscription lists and other related docs of the 19th and 20th centuries. Use Familysearch.org and search the FamilySearch Catalog for “Russian Military Records”.

Russian State Military Archive

Founded in 1920 as the Red Army Archive, the Russian State Military Archive was opened to research in 1990. As it contains a large number of files of foreign origin, among them papers relating to Jewish organizations, the archive is of high interest for non-Russian-speaking researchers. Most of these files were taken from libraries and archives from all over Europe to Russia by the Soviet Trophy Brigades in the aftermath of the Second World War.

1941-1944 SIEGE OF LENINGRAD


Revision Lists

Research use: The single most comprehensive genealogical source for identifying family groups. Due to the difficulty in using metrical books, the revision list provides the most information for the least amount of effort. The original returns are bound in volumes that are sometimes three to four feet thick, making them very difficult to handle except on microfilm.

Record type: Population enumeration for the purpose of assessing a poll tax and identifying those for conscription into the military.

General: Ten official revisions were conducted through 1859. Revisions were conducted irregularly in intervals ranging from five to twenty years: first (1721-1724) second (1743-1747), third (1761-1767), fourth (1781-1787), fifth (1794-1808), sixth (1811), seventh (1815-1825), eighth (1833-1835), ninth (1850-1852) and tenth (1857-1859). One copy was kept in the county treasury (uezdnoe kaznacheistvo) and the other was sent to the provincial fiscal chamber (gubernskaiia kazennaia palata). Separate lists were kept for the different social classes such as merchants (kupechestvo), townspeople (meshchane) and peasants (krestiane). Revision lists (skazski) are filed and bound by districts and large cities.

Time period: 1721-1859.

Contents: Revision no. of household, name, parentage, age, sex, nationality, social rank, and family relationship. Beginning with the second revision, information was included on a person's age at time of previous revision and information about those who left or died between revisions and date of death. Females were not recorded in the first, second, and sixth revisions. The fourth and fifth revisions included information on the parentage of the females but this was dropped as of the sixth revision. Sometimes the lists are accompanied by supporting documentation.

Location: Revisions four through ten are found in state archives. The first three revisions are at the Central Archive of Ancient Acts in Moscow. Sometimes a local copy of revisions 1-3 are found in state archives.

Population coverage: 75% coverage (less for first two because female names were excluded). This record was not compiled for non-taxed classes: the nobility, high officials, clergy, military, and foreigners. Also, many people evaded enumeration.

Reliability: They are not completely reliable because of efforts to evade taxation or conscription by avoiding correct enumeration.[1]

Conscription Lists

Research use: Hard to research because lists are arranged chronologically by district. However, they serve as a census substitute for males.

Record type: Military record of conscripts

General: Lists of those being called up for military service. Drafting of selected groups began earlier but as of January 1, 1874, all 21 year-old males were subject to military service. Conscription occurred each year in October. Initially, the term of service was 6 years active and 9 years reserve. The length of active duty was reduced to 5 years in 1876 and then varied between 3-5 years thereafter. Deferments were granted for only sons, sole breadwinners, etc. Over 50 percent of the draftees were not inducted.

Time period: 1874-1918.

Contents: Name of draftee, birth date, religion, marital status, literacy; later lists include names of father and brothers, and the brother’s ages.

Location: State archives.

Population coverage: 15-40% depending on period of time.

Reliability: High.[1]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Russia,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1996-2001.