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Guide to Russia ancestry, family history, and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, and military records.

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Country Information

Russia is a country in Eurasia bordered by NorwayFinlandEstoniaLatviaLithuaniaPolandBelarusUkraineGeorgiaAzerbaijanKazakhstanChinaMongolia, and North Korea. It was known as the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1991. The official language is Russian.[1]

Russia Map

Russian Regions-EN.png


Imperial Russia (Russian Empire) before 1917 was divided into governorates (gubernias or provinces). These were sub-divided into several uyezds or districts. Russia and Ukraine and other former Soviet republics were, and are still, divided into oblasts/provinces which were and are divided into raions/districts. Peripheral areas like the Caucasus sometimes use krai instead of raion for district. It is generally good to know both the old and the new jurisdictions in which a smaller place is located, because currently the FamilySearch Catalog uses the new jurisdictions for Ukraine, but the old ones for Russia. Archives all over the former Soviet Union concentrate their holdings according to oblast borders. Old documents refer to the old jurisdictions, and most of our Russian and Ukrainian microfilms are from the old Imperial time.

List of the governorates created in 1708:[2]

Current administrative division consist of 46 oblasts (oblastey, singular - oblast), 21 republics (respublik, singular - respublika), 4 autonomous okrugs (avtonomnykh okrugov, singular - avtonomnyy okrug), 9 krays (krayev, singular - kray), 2 federal cities (goroda, singular - gorod), and 1 autonomous oblast (avtonomnaya oblast') as follows.Although retaining a lot of similarities, administrative-territorial division and regions boundaries undergo substantial changes during the 20th century, affecting the records storage sites.



  • Adygeya (Maykop)
  • Altay (Gorno-Altaysk)
  • Bashkortostan (Ufa)
  • Buryatiya (Ulan-Ude)
  • Chechnya (Groznyy)
  • Chuvashiya (Cheboksary)
  • Dagestan (Makhachkala)
  • Ingushetiya (Magas)
  • Kabardino-Balkariya (Nal'chik)
  • Kalmykiya (Elista)
  • Karachayevo-Cherkesiya (Cherkessk)
  • Kareliya (Petrozavodsk)
  • Khakasiya (Abakan)
  • Komi (Syktyvkar)
  • Mariy-El (Yoshkar-Ola)
  • Mordoviya (Saransk)
  • North Ossetia (Vladikavkaz)
  • Sakha [Yakutiya] (Yakutsk)
  • Tatarstan (Kazan')
  • Tyva (Kyzyl)
  • Udmurtiya (Izhevsk)

Autonomous Okrugs

  • Chukotka (Anadyr')
  • Khanty-Mansi (Khanty-Mansiysk)
  • Nenets (Nar'yan-Mar)
  • Yamalo-Nenets (Salekhard)


  • Altay (Barnaul)
  • Kamchatka (Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy)
  • Khabarovsk
  • Krasnodar
  • Krasnoyarsk
  • Perm'
  • Primorsk (Vladivostok)
  • Stavropol'
  • Zabaykal'skiy (Chita)

Federal Cities

Autonomous Oblast

  • Yevrey [Jewish] (Birobidzhan) Note: Administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses)

    More Russia Research Strategies

    Research strategies give guidance on how to research or what records to search for first. Below are additional research strategy Wiki articles for Russia.

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    Research tools can include resources that assist in locating correct records to search and determining the correct locality to search in. Below are links and Wiki articles to research tools in Russia.

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    Below are FamilySearch resources that can assist you in researching your family.

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    1. Wikipedia contributors, "Russia," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 28 March 2016.
    2. Wikipedia contributors, "Administration divisions of Russia in 1708-1710," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 29 April 2016.