Russian ancestry – Medals

Another tip on how to research Russian ancestry.

Do you have medals or photos of your ancestors with medals?  Medals can tell the story. You can also find a personal record of your ancestor based on a medal.

I will separate medals into following categories:

Medals of Imperial Russia 1702-1917 (Награды Императорской России)

There are many websites which cover these medals.  This website is a starting point.  Once you locate the exact medal, a request to archives more likely will bring you a result. Russian State Historical archive in St Petersburg has fonds on medals in Imperial Russia.

Medals of Soviet Union 1918- 1980s (награды СССР)

This site also includes medals of Imperial Russia. How to get records of medals from Soviet Union period?  There are no publically available databases.  The archive will  depends on the type of medals awarded.

Military medals of Imperial Russia 

Records of these are located in RGVIA in Moscow- Российский государственный военно-исторический архив.

One client has a photo of his great-great-grandfather with medals.  A simple request to Military archives in Moscow (we had the full name and approximate place and decade of birth) revealed his military record.

A new website has been released with the names of Knights of St George Order – check here.


Military medals of the Second World War (1941-1945)

This topic is currently getting a huge attention from Russian government. A database have been developed with the list of some medals.  If you know the exact name of your ancestor, you can research his medals.  If there is no record, a letter to archives might reveal more.  Please note that the database is not a complete register. The database not only lists all medals but provides you with a scanned version of the wording of the actual award, so you can learn what exactly your ancestor did.

Through this database I was able to locate an award of my client’s grandfather in 1945.  We have learned that he was mobilised on the second day of the war and finished the war on 11 May 1945 in Prague.  There were also details of his regiment which we can pursue further.

Happy searching.  If you are still not sure or cannot locate the medal, contact me and I will be glad to help you.

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