European Ancestors – British in Russia (Part 5)

Russian Flag

Russian Flag courtesy of Wikipedia

This post is part of a series of 10 posts about the British Community in Russia. You can read the complete series HERE.

Beginnings and Context to Research

The best way of beginning to research is to start and understand the foundations of the community and the context.

  • Papers of Lady Muriel Paget  – as part of the University of Leeds Special Collections
  • Society of Genealogists (SOG) holds a number of books relating to Russia within it’s library. The catalogue is available to all to search and can be found HERE. The search of the library catalogue and the various databases is open to all.
  • The Great Britain-Russia Society – gbrussia.org Provides an opportunity to gain cultural content and travel information
  • The Russian Revolution & Britain 1917-1928 – as part of the digital collection, Archives online at the library of Warwick University – The University has 650 documents digitised and freely available. There are also a smaller collection relating to the Soviet Union 1928 which are a resource in the University’s module on Stalinism in Europe. The majority of records are not digitised and will require visiting the library, having made an appointment. The University also has a selection of genealogical research guides.
  • Russian online Genealogical records at FamilySearch Wiki
  • British humanitarian activity in Russia 1890-1923 by Luke Kelly, published Palgrave Macmillian and available in both eBook and paper format
  • The Treaty of Commerce between Great Britain and Russia 1766 -A study on the development of Count Panin’s northern system, An article by Knud Rahbek Schmidt published online August 2008 in the Scando-Slavica Journal Vol 1, 1954 Issue 1 (Pages 115-134)

You can read the complete series, of the British Community in Russia HERE.

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European Ancestors – British in Russia (Part 4)

Russian Flag

Russian Flag courtesy of Wikipedia

This post is part of a series of 10 posts about the British Community in Russia. You can read the complete series HERE.

Despite the mass exodus of the British Community in Russia during 1918-1921 a few remained in Russia, they were typically old or too ingrained into the Russian way of life. In 1930 the diplomatic relationship was renewed and Lady Muriel Paget set up a charity with the aim of providing some relief to those remaining of the British Community.

For almost a decade, Paget worked tirelessly to track these individuals down in order to provide some assistance. The government too, had provided assistance, albeit, limited assistance, whereby a small villa was set up outside Leningrad where members of the British community could relax during the summer months.

In 1931 four individuals representing Metropolitan Vickers, who were a British heavy electrical engineering company and founded in 1899 and who traded until 1960, found that they had their four employees arrested by the Russian authorities on suspicion of espionage. This was one of the first trials that took place under Stalin.

Following this, fewer people went to Russia, although some British Communists went to Russia during the 1920-1930’s and a few remained there.

In 1939, war broke out and the identification of those from the British community became almost impossible and that marked the end of the British Community in Russia.

You can read the complete series, of the British Community in Russia HERE.

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European Ancestors – British in Russia (Part 3)

Russian Flag

Russian Flag courtesy of Wikipedia

This post is part of a series of 10 posts about the British Community in Russia. You can read the complete series HERE.

The Bolshevik Revolution later that same year marked the beginning of the end of the British Community. Soon families saw that factories and mines were nationalised with those individuals who were not a worker or a peasant treated as suspicious. Bank accounts frozen, large houses and properties seized, motor vehicles confiscated. Some individuals found work as engineers, governess and managers, but others were forced to sell their belongings to survived.

People began fleeing Russia, crammed onto trains heading to Finland, smuggling out what they could, with jewellery and other valuables sewn into clothing. Those that had significant money invested in the banks or in business had to decide between fleeing or remaining in the hope of positive change.

Meanwhile, British soldiers arrived in the south of Russia and at Murmansk to try and intervene in the Civil War that was developing. Many Britons were arrested with some shot. It was to be the end of 1919 before the British and Russian governments to reach agreement of repatriation of their respective citizens.

Many Britons, in a desperate state were smuggled into Finland, or across the Black Sea to Constantinople, where refugee camps had been established by the Red Cross with the support of government and charities. Here they could settle and recover, gradually dispersing having found work. Although some still had not found work nor the means to move on, and were still reliant on charity provisions.

Post Revolution and Civil War, some Britons returned to Russia to seek opportunities, alas they were treated cautiously and subject to arrest by the KGB. Support from the Consulate was not always possible and the degree of suspicion, on both sides was significant.

You can read the complete series, of the British Community in Russia HERE.

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European Ancestors – British in Russia (Part 2)

Russian Flag

Russian Flag courtesy of Wikipedia

This post is part of a series of 10 posts about the British Community in Russia. You can read the complete series HERE

By 1900, the British population in Russia was about 10,000 with many families established in Russia, such as:

  • Gibbons in Moscow and St Petersburg
  • Carrs in Archangel
  • Hills who were scattered across the Country

These families were connected by both trade or marriage. Under Russian law, the third generation to be born in Russia was automatically declared Russian, therefore many pregnant women returned to Britain to have their babies. The travelling was problematic during the Russian winter, when their passage was inhibited by snow, snowdrifts, and ice which blocked the railways. In childhood, many children returned to Britain to attend public schools, which in turn strengthened the link between the family living in Russia and the family living in Britain.

The British living in Russia were mainly middle class. The birth register at St Petersburg’s  consulate for the period  of 1856-1912 recorded the following occupations:

  • Merchants
  • Bankers
  • Mechanics
  • Cotton Carders
  • Electrical and Mining Engineers

Those living in Russia were able to obtain British goods at a shop in St Petersburg. The Shop sold a variety of goods including tea and shortcake. An English club was also available, where English beer, Scotch Whiskey could be found and drunk whilst playing billiards.

Anglican churches could be found at St Petersburg and Moscow, they had their own chaplains, as did religious venues for other denominations. The British community was large and reasonably affluent, however things were about to change and they would not return.

As the Great War broke out in 1914 there was a huge rush to register children born earlier, with the Consular Registers being located at the National Archives in Kew. Registration as British prevented the Russian call up and provided the means for an exciting route to serve, if needed, because these young men would need to return back to Britain to enlist. In anticipation, a listing of all British men who were able bodied, and able to serve in the military was undertaken.

The English Club located in St Petersburg, although renamed Petrograd, created a fund that sought to support the wives, widows and children left behind following the males returning to Britain to join the military. Many young men left Russia, travelling to Britain via Sweden and Norway.

Russia was not prepared for war against Germany who was modern with a well provided for army. Russia had it’s first Revolutionary War in 1917, here was opportunity to become a real democracy and to be seen as an such, on an equal footing with other European countries. Those that did not believe that, began taking action to move property and family abroad; essentially outside of Russia.

You can read the complete series, of the British Community in Russia HERE.

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European Ancestors – British in Russia (Part 1)

Russian Flag

Russian Flag courtesy of Wikipedia

This post is part of a series of 10 posts about the British Community in Russia. You can read the complete series HERE

In the 16th Century, Russia was a small medieval country. The main exports were hides, honey, wax, whale oil, flax and furs and the British traded these in exchange for western goods.

The port of Archangel was established in 1584 to facilitate foreign trade,with the links between Russia and Britain, remaining in tact until 1920, when the Bolsheviks took over.

Despite, the British trading regularly , it was not until the reign of Peter the Great (1682-1725), that the British Community because established. Peter the Great wanted to expand and develop his country. He had toured extensively throughout western Europe, bringing in benefits of trade and technology.

He moved the capital from Moscow to St. Petersburg, which was a new city on the Baltic Sea. Peter had visited Britain previously, and later on, employed British shipbuilders and artisans, believing that the establishing of factories and the building of ships would provide opportunity for him to modernise his armed services. He hired professional soldiers and sailors to train and instruct his fellow countrymen.

After Peter died, the employing of westerners continued. In the 17th and 18th Centuries, Russia began expanding in the areas of what is now Poland, Finland and the Baltic States. During the 19th Century there was great expansion of the British community. The period after the Crimean War led to modernisation of the Russian economy, in turn this led Czar Alexandra II to free the Serfs and introduce legal and economic reforms which brought Russia into the modern world.  This saw a new generation of Britons setting up mines and factories in Russia, and to build railways.

In the south of Russia, cotton began growing on a large scale, with those in charge following the expertise of the Britons, to build cotton mills, as large as those in the British city of Manchester.

In the 1860’s, the brothers, William and John Yates established a paper factory. The mill began to be successful and the family began to settle into life in Western Siberia. By 1918, the family owned a mechanical works and five mills. The work they undertook was reported to be of good quality and they were known through the whole of Siberia. By 1914, the family had amassed a fortune wealth of approximately £350,000, although much of it would be confiscated under the Bolsheviks.

Not unexpectedly, the mining industry was doing rather well, the spread was across Russia, producing coal in the Ukraine, platinum in the Urals, copper in the Caucasus and gold in eastern Siberia.

Experts were recruited into the beginning of the oil industry, to run the oil rigs and to build, and maintain the pipelines. By the turn of the 20th Century, the Russian oil fields produced more oil that the rest of the global oil fields combined.

The recruitment of employees from Britain led to an increased amount of young women who were employed in Russia as governesses to the children of wealthy families. The first governesses in Russia were documented in 1830 and within 50 years, this was seen to be a “suitable” way for a independent women to earn a living. These young women lived in mainly large cities, but many families had second homes and estates in the rural areas of Russia, with many of these families taking holidays in the Crimea and Finland.

You can read the complete series, of the British Community in Russia HERE.

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Introduction to One-Name Studies Course – Lesson Four

Pharos Lessons

Copyright – Julie Goucher 2020

The fourth lesson of the Pharos Introduction to One-Name Studies course has just been sent to students

Our third chat session will take place a little later this week, please check the Pharos forum for details and the link.

For more details, confirmation of the forthcoming dates and to book please visit the information page HERE.

Posted in Introduction to One-Name Studies (Pharos course 901), One-Name Studies | Leave a comment

Q & A – Christmas One-Name Study, Xmas and variants

Q & A

Created by Julie Goucher – Feb 2020 Using Wordclouds.com

I received the following message from a Guild member regarding their One-Name study. As the details will make it obvious which member had the question, they have given their permission for the message to be shared in full.

My pondering’s about a possible variant or something else?
I found XMAS used as a surname.  I first noticed it a few years ago, not sure where….. FreeBMD has a marriage in Dec 1875 XMAS, Richard Auckland ref 10a 287.(transcribed by 2 transcribers)  In the other names it shows four others one being CHRISTMASRichard Auckland 10a 287, (transcribed by 2 transcribers)  The original scan are typed and the two sections are CHR and X.
I do not know what the original Parish register says?  Could there be two entries or is there an amendment and the official was being really lazy?  Saying that FreeBMD starts at 1837!
I then checked Family Search:  XMAS found 115 results!  Does this point to it being a valid name or just a clergyman or cleric being really lazy?  (Another one of my pet hates is the use of Xmas!!!)
A couple of other names are CHRISTMAN (173,756) I think that’s another line!
CHRISTMASS (2,026) seems large to be deviant, possible variant!
CHRISTMASSE (87) low enough to be deviant?  Or I seem to see mention this as Germanic?

 

This is a fascinating question because it raised the point of abbreviations and how they could, and do, come about and the impact they have on genealogical records. We then look at deviants and variants. We also are reminded of the absolute need to record when we research, what we actually see and to not use abbreviations. If we do use an abbreviation, then first and foremost we must create a core document which identifies what abbreviation is used for what word.  That said, I personally do not advocate using abbreviations, nor do I recommend writing dates solely using digits, I prefer writing the month in words, removing any confusion.

The marriage in question is in the Registration district of Bishop Auckland in County Durham. Having looked into the details of the email I received, I can confirm the transcription of the GRO Index which has been conducted by the volunteers of FreeBMD shows the marriage has been recorded as XMAS. We need to check the actual marriage register at the archives and that will confirm the surname that was actually recorded at the point of the marriage.

If indeed it was, then it is worth thinking about when did we start using the abbreviation for Christmas as Xmas, the impact that has on genealogical research and the history of it and how that becomes part of the baseline story of the study.

Xmas & Christmas 1875

Screen capture from Ancestry.co.uk

I had a quick look at Ancestry and found the marriage in question in the Registration district was recorded as both Xmas AND Christmas.

I then did a little test. Christmas is a common name in my native Surrey. I did a quick search for a parish that I know has Christmas references, here is a birth for the Surrey parish of Elstead.

Ann Xmas Index

Screen capture from Ancestry.co.uk

The image here, shows the transcription of the baptism of an Ann Xmas baptised  16 October 1715, the daughter of Thos Xmas.

As Ancestry has the images of the registers online, I searched for Ann to see what it said….Xmas or Christmas?

Ann Xmas Elstead

Screen capture from Ancestry.co.uk  – Ann Xmas daughter of Thos Xmas 16 October 1715 Elstead, Surrey

The register revealed the use of Xmas, which I found surprising. The register was in shocking state, I can tell that because not only have I seen the images on Ancestry, I searched the microfilm 30 years ago looking for the Ellis entry that was a little further up the page. The image confirms that Ann Xmas daughter of Thos Xmas 16 October 1715 Elstead, Surrey.

So revisiting the questions above, it is likely that the Registrar did record the baptism as Xmas and it is entered twice, once as Xmas and once as Christmas because of the abbreviation. I will look at the register as soon as I am able.

In this situation I would add Xmas as a variant, along with Christmass and Christmasse.

I also had a look at the distribution map for Xmas and found that, this yielded more questions than answered, meaning that the Guild of One-Name Studies member who is researching the surname Christmas is going to have more fun with those results and considering the detail.

In conclusion, I was sure that the abbreviation for Christmas to Xmas was a modern invention, but evidently not. The X representing the cross and Mass (Mas) an addressing the coming together of people to celebrate.

In the meantime, if you have Christmas ancestors, certificates or photographs and would like to share them with the Christmas study, please leave a comment.

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Introduction to One-Name Studies Course – Lesson Three

Pharos Lessons

Copyright – Julie Goucher 2020

The third lesson of the Pharos Introduction to One-Name Studies course has just been sent to students

For more details, confirmation of the forthcoming dates and to book please visit the information page HERE.

Our second chat session will take place a little later this week, please check the Pharos forum for details and the link.

Posted in Introduction to One-Name Studies (Pharos course 901), One-Name Studies | 2 Comments

Blog Structure – Blog Writing Series (6)

Blogging - Spoke in genealogical wheel

Copyright Julie Goucher, May 2020

So, you have your nice new blog ready to go and you need to sit and compose a post.

Firstly, it does not have to be a long post – perhaps 500-800 words, though you could go up to 1000 words.

A good topic for a first post is probably a welcome to my blog. Here share who you are and remember, never share more than you are comfortable with. Also, never share more than you would be happy to tell a stranger you met at a bus stop or on a train!

Also write about what you are planning to share on your blog – it might be about your surname study, or it might be a blog that encompasses all your genealogical research or even a blog that encompasses a variety of things, including your genealogical material and that of your studies.

You might decide to create a timetable of material, so you might focus on your attention on Monday’s with your explorations of National Trust or heritage venues over the weekend, You might decide that on Thursday you write about genealogy. I don’t have a set schedule, but having typed the idea I might try it! You might decide to write organically, if you fancy writing then do and if you do not, then don’t! I do recommend though a loose structure of writing so you keep “feeding” your blog readers.

If you do create a blog do leave a comment with your URL so I can stop by!

This is part of my Blog Writing Series. Next we are going to look at Engaging with others

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Blog Structure – Blog Writing Series (5)

Blogging - Spoke in genealogical wheel

Copyright Julie Goucher, May 2020

In this post we are going to look at posts and pages and if there are differences.

Firstly, assuming you are reading this, then you are reading a blog post. Posts can be written at any time and scheduled to post at a later time. They can also be part written then saved, in which case they are draft posts.

When you first create your blog site you can also specify if you want readers to land on a static page or just to the most current post. This blog is scheduled to show the most recent post, which will be this one, until I write or publish the next post, although you can change that at any time.

If you look up to the black banner at the top, which is the menu bar, you will see a number of headings – the last one is Surname Research and if you click that link you will be reading a blog page. As I write so much about One-Name and surname research I created a landing page which has the posts and series relating to surnames collated together on one page. To achieve this I write the name of the category and then link to the category posts.

This is part of my Blog Writing Series. Next we are going to look at writing a blog post.

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