Reading Russian Documents: Birth RecordsRussia “How to” Guide, Intermediate Level: InstructionOctober 2019GOALThis guide will teach you: Important vocabulary related to birth records. How to read a Russian Orthodox columnar birth entry. How to read a Russian language record for a person in the Russian partition of Poland.INTRODUCTIONYou may want to consult the following “How to” Guides before continuing: Cyrillic Alphabet Cyrillic Script Reading Russian Documents: The Alphabet Reading Russian Documents: Deciphering the Handwriting and Understanding theGrammarThe table below reflects important vocabulary that you may find in birth records.
For additional vocabulary, please see the Russian Genealogical Word List.1Place Names and JurisdictionsThe Russian Empire consisted of jurisdictions called guberni (singular form: gubernia), oblasti(singular form: oblast), uyezdi (singular form: uyezd) and okruga (singular form: okrug). TheEuropean, or Western Russian Empire, was divided into guberni, or states. The guberni werethen further subdivided into smaller districts or counties called uyezdi. The Caucasus, CentralAsia and Far East areas were also divided into states called oblasti, and counties known asokruga.2 There are several variations for the word village or town, as illustrated in the tablebelow.HOW TOBeginning in 1722, Russian Orthodox churches were required to keep a record of birth,marriage and death records. There was no standardization until 1806, when a printed form wasestablished. In 1838, the form was revised slightly and remained in use until the time of theRussian Revolution in 1917/1918.3 This guide will teach you how to read the form used between1838 and 1917/1918.1“Russian Genealogical Word List,” FamilySearch Wiki (http://familysearch.org/wiki).2 Sergei G. Pushkarev, Dictionary of Russian Historical Terms from the Eleventh Century to 1917,(New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1970); 28, 69, 74, 167.3“Russia Church Records,” FamilySearch Wiki (http://familysearch.org/wiki).
Look for a Cover PageOrthodox Church books are often organized by yearand subcategorized by record type – birth, marriageand death. Cover pages mark the separation ofbirth, marriage, and death records. To the left is anexample of a cover page for birth records for theyear of 1884.Although this and the headings found within thechurch books will be written in Church Slavonic, youdo NOT need to know how to read Church Slavonicto read a baptismal record. Translations of columnheadings are provided for you below, and the entrieswill be written in handwritten Cyrillic script.Column HeadingsRussian Orthodox Church books consist of a left and right page. Translations of the columnheadings are provided below.
The number column is the xth child born in that year. The gender will be found in thecorresponding column.In the date column, if you do not find the month written above the numeric dates, check theentries above. The name of the month may be written at the top of the page, or at the beginningof a new month.The column entitled Parents’ standing, name, patronymic and surname and religion, generallyfollows this format. Bolded words represent standard vocabulary used in each record.[Of] (name of province) губернiи (name of district) уѣзда, села (name of village),(occupation and name of father) и законная жена его (name of mother), (religion).Свяшенникъ (name of priest).[Of] (name of province) gubernia (name of district) uyezd, selo (name of village),(occupation and name of father) and his lawful wife (name of mother), (religion). Priest:(name of priest).
The final column is optional and is often left blank.Paragraph Form (In Russian Partition of Poland)To learn how to read a Polish birth record written in Russian, please see the Reading RussianBirth Records (In Poland) “How to” Guide.4 2019 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reprinted or reproduced inany form for any purpose without prior written permission.Approved 10/2019“Reading Russian Birth Records (In Poland),” FamilySearch Wiki, Russia “How to” Guides(http://familysearch.org/wiki).4
Reading Russian Documents: Birth Records Russia “How to” Guide, Intermediate Level: Instruction October 2019 GOAL This guide will teach you: • Important vocabulary related to birth records. • How to read a Russian Orthodox columnar birth entry. • How to read a Russian language record for a person in the Russian partition of Poland.