Documents and their names

When studying genealogy and doing genealogy research, you have to deal with various documents. All documents have their own name, and some after many years have received more than one name. One document could be called differently, which can confuse a researcher who has just begun to study the history of his family. Let’s see what’s what.

So far, cases have been considered when a document was called primarily by a simple term (Letter, Record, Memory) without combination with definitions. In such names, the features of individual genres and types of document are particularly distinct.

However, the document’s names are more often found in the form of a combination with the adjective: Blessed Letter, Verchaya Record, West Memorial, Borrowed Cabal, Name Painting, etc. We consider it appropriate to consider such self-designations of documents to be difficult.

It happens that the self-name of a document is, as it were, “scattered” in its parts, but it is advisable to reduce these parts into a single, whole name. So, in one place of the text part of the document we see the word Pokrutnaya, and in the other – the Record (Mem. Sib. Source., Pp. 217-220) 1703. In one part of the document we see the combination of Polyubovy boundary, and in the other part – Memory (ASVR, II, pp. 172-174) 1482. The same author named the document first, the Record, and then called the same document Clearing (M-ly IYUKD, III, pp. 74-75) 1686. In another case in the text part the document is called the Receipt, and in the processing part the same document is called the Receipt, then the Ordinary. There are many such cases.

For research purposes, it is useful to combine these names scattered throughout the document into a single whole: Turn-by-turn record, Amicable boundary memory, Clear record, Ordinary receipt. Such phrases are referred to as compound terms.

The concepts of a simple, complex and compound document title are also needed in order not to mix a separate document and a combination of documents in one case. These concepts may be useful in compiling document inventories for archivists.

The different names of one document is a fairly common phenomenon, and linguists could not help but pay attention to it. Judgments on this subject are unanimous: the reason for the different names of one document must be seen in synonymy, due to the fact that the language of the pre-Petrine era is not well established and in different cases, including in the names of documents, uses different vocabulary. This point of view was most clearly manifested in the monograph of F.P. Sergeyev, who writes: “… Many of the one-word terms functioned as synonyms (or as equivalent designations) for long-standing borrowing of a letter: sheet – letter – message – scripture – label; cf. also note – tsidulka – letter, etc. [p.211].

Good luck in finding.