How Russian archives are preparing for the future

These days you can see the words “genealogical boom in Russia” everywhere in Russian newspapers and on internet.  Archives are struggling with the number of genealogical requests from Russia and overseas.  The waiting period for replies varies from anywhere between 1 month to 6 months and sometimes even longer.  The archives are trying (subject to government financial support) to improve the processes by digitising the most important and often requested funds.

Few weeks ago through internet searching I came across the website of ELAR corporation (ЭЛАР). It is a leading technology information corporation which helps Russian archives, libraries, museums and governmental organisations to digitise the documents.  ELAR Corporation offers a range of innovative technologies and complex modern equipment to help with automation, modernization and preservation of archival documents.

So who used the services of ELAR so far?  Pay attention as this list gives us a great insight into archives’ funds.


Projects already carried out in this sector:

  • In 2006 fully translated into electronic format the inventories of Russian State Historical Archive , 7.2 million units of unique vintage documents (which exist in a single copy) from the history of Russia XVIII – beginning of XX century. The result of this project is a database “Electronic Inventories of Russian State Historical Archive.”
  • Introduced automated systems and electronic databases in State archives of Chelyabinsk region, Samara region, Nizhny Tagil city’s historic archive, Republic of Mordovia, Murmansk region.
  • Performed number of projects in archives of Kirov, Tomsk, Tula regions and Stavropol Territory.
  • Introduced information retrieval system “Electronic Inventories of State Archive of Russian Federation” designed for quick access to information resources..

By December 2013 ELAR digitised, scanned and indexed:

  • Documents of 100,000 personalities, containing the genealogical information from the “Collections of births of parishes and churches of the Alexander County Arkhangelsk diocese”.
  • documents from the funds of the White Army in the Russian State Military Archive
  • 14,500 pages of documents from the fund “Great Don Army headquarters” for 1917-1920 in the Russian State Military Archive
  • All-Russian Agricultural Census 1917- Penza province documents totaling 53,000 cards with information about the surname, name, patronymic name, place of residence, family composition, respondent (“householder”).
  • all vital records’ funds (ZAGS) in Kaliningrad region for the period 1946-2003, 8750 books containing about 2 million records

Ongoing projects:

  • More than a million soldiers’ names will be added to “Memorial” database.  The information will be added from the personal files of military recruiting stations and distribution documents of various battalions.
  • By October 2013 electronic copies of 11 volumes of Memorial Books of Penza region were added to this database.

What to expect:

In upcoming year ELAR will be introducing automated systems, digitisation and electronic databases in State archives of Republic of North Ossetia – Alania, Voronezh and Nizhny Novgorod regions and the State Historical Archive of Chuvash Republic.  It also won the tender for digitizing archives collections of the State Archive of the Novosibirsk region.

Fresh from the press (ELAR’ Facebook page) – 10 June 1014.  ELAR continues the digitisation of documents of Historical archive in Omsk region.


  • Together with Russian State Library for Arts ELAR implemented a project to transfer the newspaper clippings of the library into an electronic view. The project touched more than 800,000 newspaper clippings which highlighted Russian theatrical news. The unique collection has a variety of programs of theatrical performances, most of which are only available in this archive.
  • Created an electronic full-text database “Petersburg studies” for Central State Public Library of V.V. Mayakovski.
  • Digitized Rare Collection from Russian State University of Physical Culture, Sports and Tourism
  • In the near future, anyone can visit the site of Orel Regional Public Library of Bunin and get acquainted with its unique collections.


Corporation ELAR in collaboration with:

  • State museum “Tsaritsino” started processing museum’s documentation. Within four months company’s specialists scanned all inventory books and created their electronic versions.
  • State Tretyakov Gallery has translated into an electronic format all inventory books of museum. These documents contain valuable information about the funds, collections and rare editions of museum.

It also created an information research system for the main catalogue of the Scientific Library of Moscow State University of Lomonosov.

I was exited to find this website as it gives family researchers across the globe an optimistic feeling of what to expect in the future from the Russian archives.

Stay tuned on a Facebook page as I will re-post the most important projects from ELAR’s Facebook page.

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