If your ancestor have served in Imperial Navy than the Russian State Archive of Navy (RGAVMF) is your first reference.
This archive is one of the oldest archives in Russia and is a rich source of historic and genealogy information. It originated as the Archive of Admiralty-Collegium on 17 January 1724 according to the verbal decree of Tsar Peter I and gathered documents for the Collegium, its expeditions and offices/institutions/organizations of the Russian Navy from the moment of its creation at the end of the seventeenth century until 1940.
The archive’s funds include the information on commands of fleets and flotillas, naval educational establishments and scientific and research institutions, naval ports, shipbuilding and other navy yards, hydro-graphical and scientific expeditions, as well as personal papers of eminent navigators and naval commanders. The war activities of the Russian Navy from the end of the 17th to the beginning of the 20th century are also reflected in the documents of the archive.
- for personal funds: http://www.rusarchives.ru/guide/rgavmf/lichny.shtml
- for information by a ship name http://www.rusarchives.ru/guide/rgavmf/ship/a.shtml
- by name http://www.rusarchives.ru/guide/rgavmf/name.shtml
The archive’s internal electronic database is also a great resource and an indication on whether the information you need is there.
An additional source in research of any records for your Navy-serving ancestors is a great collection of various administrative books freely available on internet:
- List of civil ranks in Navy department /General Maritime List 1848 -1917
- List of those who completed Navy Cadet Corps education between 1897 to 1905. Published in 1905
- The list of the ships personnel, combat and administrative institutions of the Navy Department – Years 1914 and 1916
and much more. Google and Yandex.ru are not to be dismissed plus a numerous number of books to increase your personal knowledge about the Russian Imperial Navy.
A simple request to the archive is more likely to produce a personal file for your ancestor.
All you need to do is START – start writing to the archive, start researching. If you need any help no matter how big or small, write to me. You might be on a verge of discoveries!!!