News from Russian archives – December 2014

From interview with the Head of Archives Agency of Sakhalin region

From interview with the Head of Archives Agency of Sakhalin Oblast/region, Larisa Dragunov, on 17 November 2014, who highlighted interesting facts about the work performed by the archive, problems met by archivists today and future prognosis about Russian archival system:

  • The current framework for Russian archives is based on the digitization of all inventories held by all Russian state and regional archives and creating a single structured searchable database.
  • The issue of loading vital documents online has been raised this year at Council for Archives’ meeting in St. Petersburg, which was attended by archival institutions from all regions of Russia. Today there is no answer to this question.
  • Saving documents in their original form is the major task for archivists. Experts define a 10-year shelf life for newsprint, but the archivists extend the life of newspapers by digitization. The local Sakhalin historical archive stores periodicals from 1930s which can be obtained in electronic format at the archive’s premises. (Many archives have the copies loaded on the archive’s website (such as, Yaroslavl archive).
  • All vital records books of Sakhalin churches have been digitized -220 books with about 20 thousand records. The earliest parish register of Aleksandrovsk church dates back to 1869.
  • Archivists store paper documents for about a thousand years. But how will the archives store electronic documents for future generations? After all, hardware and software are constantly changing. Something to think about.

Please note that 1897 Sakhalin census is online.  You can read about it here.

The full version of interview can be found at


Unique archival documents passed to the governor of Sverdlovsk region from Austria

Austrian Black Cross, a public organization looking for information about prisoners of war, missing persons and refugees of WWI and WWII, passed information about  60,000 soldiers and prisoners of war (citizens of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union), who died in Austria.

The information will be published on the site of Austrian Black Cross (a request for search can be send at and Archives’ administration of Sverdlovsk region in nearest future and will be available to all those, who are still looking for information about their missing relatives.

Full article at


State Archive of Kostroma region translates documents into electronic format

The main part of the archive’s collection is represented by funds of various institutions, organizations and enterprises for the period from the end of XVIII to the end of the XX century.

The documents show local history through Land surveys, documents covering the War of 1812, the peasant reform of 1861, rural and Stolypin reforms, the revolutionary events of 1905 and 1917, collectivization, World War II, education in Kostroma region and so on.

The largest and most information-packed funds from pre-revolutionary period are Office of Kostroma Governor, Gubernia government, local Treasury Chamber and District Council.

These will not be available on-line.  If you live outside of Russia, a request needs to be sent to the archive for the genealogical research.

More details in article published on 2 Dec 2014


Red Cross in Geneva

Red Cross in Geneva
Red Cross in Geneva

From August 2014 anyone can perform an internet search for their lost in WWI ancestor in a database based on archives from the International Prisoners of War Agency (IPWA) which was established in Geneva by the International Committee of Red Cross in August 1914.

During the First World War this organization collected documents about about 2,5 million prisoners of war.

The database is located at

More info at


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