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Former USSR – Russia, Ukraine & Belarus


Map of Former USSR

Virtually all extant records in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus [formerly the USSR] are stored in State Archives.


At the beginning of a project our first step is to review the information you have along with the sources.  Next, we access all the inventories of the archive of a particular region in order to ascertain what documents are available.


We work with local researchers in many regions of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.  However, given the vast areas involved we cannot have a person based in every place.  If we do not have local researcher in the precise area required we can still access by means of sending one of our colleagues based closest to that area.  This will then mean that some travel expenses and possibly even overnight accommodation may be required.  All such potential costs are identified and agreed prior to commencement of your project.


Map of UkraineThe archive documents and local research reports are all written in Russian, but you will receive the translated report.  Copies of the original documents can be made at your request and subject to the rules of the local archive.  Again, a translation is also provided.


Pre 1920 records:


The two most common and well preserved archive documents in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus are Church Books and Revision Lists.


Church Books  [pre 1920]


Church books contain birth, marriage and death records.


Revision Lists


Revision Lists contain family lists with the age information.


Revision Lists were written by Treasury Chamber for the purpose of recording tax payers and military recruits.


Provided that the archive records are well preserved – and the ancestors stayed put -  then the ancestral line can often be traced back to the middle of the eighteenth century.


Post 1920 records:


After 1920 there are Soviet civil registration records. They are kept on both national and regional basis depending on the place of research.


There are no indexes, all records are kept in State Civil Registration Archives.


Note:  In order to apply for a copy of a birth, marriage or death certificate from the Civil Registration records one needs to confirm that he/she is a direct relative due to State data protection policy.


They are confidential and cannot even be looked through in the reading-room of the archive.  But if we have documents proving the relationship then we can arrange a written inquiry and usually this results in a certificate being produced and forwarded by mail. 





The first all Russia (including Ukraine and Belarus as they were parts of Russia at this time) census was taken in 1897. Even this census is not preserved in all archives.  Besides, since XVIII century Revision Lists had the function of population accounting as well. 


Some Other Record Sources:


There are Court Records which are records of Courts, estate, adoption etc.  These are kept at State Archives.


Insurance Records which are records of estate evaluation and the information relating to whether insurance was paid.  These are kept at State Archives.


They are confidential and cannot be looked through in the reading-room of the archive. But if there are documents proving the relationship the archive answers to the written inquiry and sends the certificate by mail.