For everyone who does their own Russian ancestry research I recommend to prepare the timeline. There are few benefits of the timeline:
- The timeline puts everything into perspective.
- It picks errors and inconsistencies.
- It raises questions.
- It 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 of birth, death, marriage, education, work, medals and everything else you know about your ancestors.
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.
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
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
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
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