Searching Russian Records

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By Amanda Forson,

Question. Please explain to me what the statement listed below means. I am interested in being able to search Russian records, how do I do that?

“When searching for Russians, there are records available via ordering from the GSU, such as the 1897 Russian Census and a Jewish-specific census. As already mentioned, utilizing ethnic genealogical societies can be helpful when searching for people from particular countries such as Poland. Many different ethnic genealogical societies are digitizing records, and/or regularly aid researchers in personal studies.”

Answer. The GSU is the LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. GSU stands for Genealogical Society of Utah. The microfilming efforts of the GSU have taken them all over the world, including to Russia. Their online catalog at displays records for Russia including 602 rolls of microfilm pertaining to a major census done that included all of Russia in 1897.

To find the Russian census of interest to you, you will need to go to the Library Tab of, and then to the Family History Library Catalog. Do a Place Search for Russia, and then click on Census, and the 1897 census rolls will come up. This census took over a decade in planning so that everyone would be included, and is probably one of the best cultural, statistical, and demographic snapshots for Russia for that period.

To order these or other films from the GSU, first look up the location of your local Family History Center. The Family History Library is the main genealogical library for the LDS Church, but instead of having to go to Utah, a person can look at films by ordering them into their local branch location of this library. From, go to their Library Tab, and then click on Family History Centers. Choose any country where you are wondering whether or not there is a family history center, or (an example for our American readers) United States of America, Michigan, Ann Arbor and the following location comes up:

Ann Arbor Michigan
525 E Woodland Dr
Saline, Washtenaw, Michigan, United States
Phone: 734-944-4789
Hours: M, Th, Sat, 10am-2pm; T, Th 6pm-9pm
If trying to check for an international location such as Tokyo, Japan, the following would come up:

Tokyo Japan South (English)
5-10-30 Minami Azabu
Tokyo, Japan
Phone: 81-3-3440-2764
Hours: M-F 9am-5pm
Closed: Sat-Sun,holiday

Russian genealogical records are also available online at, as are Russian and Eastern European family history societies:,

These are some places to help you get started. Granted, knowledge of Cyrillic and basic Russian would also help tremendously, but looking over these sources and familiarizing yourself with how the records are set up, especially basic genealogical words and phrases in Russian such as for house, mother, father, etc. will help you get started.

2 Responses to “Searching Russian Records”

  1. Linda Lawrence says:

    i am trying to research my grandfathers family who were from russia. not having any luck. i know the town they lived in, but don’t know how to find records. they are jewish. the town was roubel.

  2. I am looking for Finkelstein described by my mother as German Russian jews the parents of Julius Finkelstein who came to Britain and is listed as Polish .

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