How to search for your Russian relatives

Are you wondering how you can find Russian relatives? Here is what you need to know.

1. Begin your search at home

The basic approach to genealogy can work well when it comes to finding Russian relatives. Begin with family and home sources to find the name of your potential relative and the village or town of their origin. In North America and the UK, you can also check immigration records for details of key events in any potential relative’s life.

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2. Find the original name

It is vital to know the original Russian name, such as Tchoudnowsky, of your ancestor. Many immigrants Anglicised their names when they came to the UK; for example, Tchoudnowsky might have been anglicised to Taylor.

3. Understand Russian history and geography

It is also helpful to understand the geography and history of Russia, particularly where the various Slavic tribes originated from. This will help you to identify the locations of your relatives and understand where they came from. This insight can also help you to overcome the administrative difficulties in engaging with different authorities across different jurisdictions.

4. Have a research plan

Use the ‘who, what, why, when and where’ questions to formally create a genealogy research plan to help structure your search. Contact records offices for relevant records and work through them in a detailed fashion, recording what you find.

5. Look at immigration patterns

If you are struggling to understand where your ancestors may have come from, you can look at patterns of immigration and help put together a likely picture of clusters and groups that might have been relevant.

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6.Learn some Russian

It can be helpful to learn some Russian to understand more about the records you are reading and bring your search to life.

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