Timeline project – Russian ancestry, history and genealogy

For everyone who does their own Russian ancestry research I recommend to prepare the timeline. If you are still struggling with your research, join me in Master Classes.

Benefits of the timeline

  • The timeline puts everything into perspective. 
  • Picks errors and inconsistencies.
  • Raises questions.
  • Helps to see possible relationships. 
  • For older people, it helps memory to pull out special moments and events.
  • It is fascinating to discover similar family events which happened in different generations.
  • It helps to learn Russian history.

What happens in practice?

The timeline starts with dotting specific years or dates without comprehending the data .  All known and non-proved dates you know about your ancestors need to be included.  This could be birth, death, marriage, education, work, medals.

At this stage, it is important to include big political events which happened in Russia around this time. This is when you start raising questions and doing the research.  Do not forget to copy the source documents or websites for further references. And read the books about these events!

I also put great emphasis on researching the area where ancestors lived and worked.  There might be some specific events which happened in the town or village.

Then specific years are broken down into months or weeks depending on the amount of information you gather on this period. 

Only this way you will get a better picture of your ancestor’s life in this period.


Significant historical events

Below are just some of the significant events in turbulent history of Russia over the last two centuries.  

1812              War with Napoleon

1821             Odessa Jewish pogroms

1825 –          Decembrist uprising

1830 —        November uprising, Polish-Russian war

1832             Emperor Nicholas I established the official class of honoured citizens 

1853-56  —  Crimean war

1858 –           last of the ten “revizski skazki”– revision lists

1861 –          Emancipation of serfs and transition from feudal to industrial Russia

1877/78 —   Russo-Turkish war

1881-1884    a large-scale (over 200) wave of anti-Jewish riots swept through south-western Russia (present-day Ukraine and Poland)

1881            Three days of rioting in Warsaw against Jews, Jewish stores, businesses, and residences in the streets adjoining the Holy Cross Church

Feb 1882  –  people in St Petersburg and Moscow were allowed to use the phones for the first time

1897 –          First ever census in imperial Russia

1903-1906    Second wave of Russian Tsarist pogroms

1904/05-      Russo-Japanese war

1903-1906   another bigger wave of Jewish pogroms. Review a selection of books on Jewish heritage

1905/07-      first Revolution in Russia.  Review a selection of books on Revolution 

1.8.1914 –    World War 1 started, online projects on WW1

26-29 May 1915  Anti-German pogroms in Moscow

Feb 1917 –  second Revolution

Oct 1917 –   third Revolution

Feb 1918 –   The Gregorian calendar was implemented in Russia by dropping the Julian dates of 1–13 February 1918

November 1917 – October 1922- Civil War

1920/23 –    Soviet census

1926 –         Soviet census

1937/38 –   Stalin’s Great Terror. Review a selection of books on Great Terror

22 June 1941 – 9 May 1945 –  Second World War between Soviet Union and Germany.  Review articles on “Memorial”/ Review a selection of books on Leningrad siege and evacuation records

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