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Database of Refugees

Absolute majority of refugees arrived in Nizhny Novgorod province in 1915 were registered (i.e. listed in a common standard register) by the Executive Commission of Provincial Territorial Committee for Refugee Support. Unfortunately, Nizhny Novgorod Region State Archives do not possess common standard registration documents (lists of arrived persons); registration cards of refugees to form complete lists of immigrants are missing.

Therefore, information about refugees at the time of their arrival in Nizhny Novgorod province is being gleaned from the funds of Territorial Committees for Refugee Support, Divisional Committees for Refugee Support, District Police Offices, Municipal Councils, funds of Territorial Divisional Heads, City Councils, as well as funds of different national organizations and Tatyaninsky Committee. The collected data is supplemented by the records of Soviet period funds (1918-1922) concerning mostly the questions of re-evacuation

All the information found is integrated and represented on the site in the form of «Database» on voluntary and forced immigrants. All the data relating to each separate family of refugees is organized in several blocks:

  1. Facts regarding the head of the family: family name, name, patronymic name, age, nationality, profession, occupation
  2. Name and age of each family member staying with the head of the family with indication of family relations («Family members» block)
  3. Place of living before immigration
  4. Arrived from: residential area
  5. Place of living in Nizhny Novgorod province after immigration: uyezd (district), volost, residential area
  6. Source of information per each family name: archive records, fund, register, file, page

«Database» also reflects some additional private information if available: literacy, passport number and place of issue etc.

Unfortunately, most migrated persons are only known by their family name, name and patronymic name.

At present, information on eight uyezds (districts) and Nizhny Novgorod is available. Other three uyezds are being worked on. The lists of Lithuanian National Committee and Polish National Committee is represented. Lists of other national organizations are being prepared (Latvian etc.).

Nizhny Novgorod Province Board on Prisoners’ and Refugees’ Affairs’ – «Lists of Polish refugees»

Nizhny Novgorod Province Board on Prisoners’ and Refugees’ Affairs’ – «Lists of Polish refugees»

When searching for the information in the Database consider the specifics of refugee registration described below.

  • Records at the time of registration were made not on the basis of personal documents (most people didn’t have documents), but according to the oral information provided by the arrived persons; i.e. the information was perceived by registrars aurally. What is more, family names, first names, previous places of living were often unfamiliar and foreign to Russian registrars. Therefore, most lists of refugees being made in writing have a number of mistakes occurred during registration. Some mistakes may have been made by authors of the work when reading the documents.
  • Registration of refugees’ nationality was also a challenging issue. As is well-known, the line «nationality» didn’t exist in registers. For most people, probably, this was the question of self-identity and nationality was indicated based on the type of religious confession. So, many Belarusians, Novorossians being orthodox were registered as Russians. Many Lithuanians were registered as Polish according to Roman Catholic Faith, as this confession was sometimes called «Polish». Some nationalities, such as Tatar or Estonian were registered as «miscellaneous» due to their limited number.
  • Age of many refugees is indicated approximately.

According to the above-mentioned we suggest the search of a specific person should be performed in several steps:

  1. Search by family name. To move to the search page by family name choose uyezd (district), national committee, etc. in the list below. Indicate the family name of the person concerned in the search line on the search page and click the button “Search”. We recommend you check all the listed uyezds (districts) and national committees etc.
  2. Alphabetic list of family names. If the family name you are looking for is not found, it can be available in the Database but in a slightly modified form, probably homophonous. In this instance we recommend you use the alphabetic list of family names and perform search by the first letter of the family name. To move to the page of alphabetic search first go to uyezd or national committee in the list below. As in the first case, it is recommended to check all the listed uyezds and national committees.
    If you have found the family name similar to the required one, look through the information in the database concerning this person: approximate age, place of birth, family members to understand if that is the person you are looking for. In this case, you should go back to the search form in section 1, click the button with the name of uyezd or national committee located to the right of the family names’ list.

As a result of search you will see the family name (according to the source of that time), name, patronymic name, age at the moment of registration, place of birth and family members. For other personal information (if available) please contact site administration.

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