Necropolism and genealogy

In his searches, he has to read a lot, travel, ask and turn to new research methods unknown to us earlier. One of these methods is the discipline of necropolism. Let’s get to know her more closely. What will she give to our research.

Necropolism is an auxiliary historical discipline, the main subject of study of which are cemeteries (necropolises), their description, study and preservation. Very important for historical and genealogical (biographical) research.

In pre-revolutionary Russia, necropolism was quite well developed. In the XIX – early XX centuries, the efforts of enthusiasts published both separate articles and fundamental consolidated works on the central and provincial necropolises of the Russian Empire.

So, the famous Russian biographer and literary historian Vladimir Saitov, who originally published his work The “St. Petersburg Necropolis” (M., 1883) as an appendix to the magazine “Russian Archive”, in 1912-1913, carried out a unique publication of the generalizing work The “Petersburg Necropolis” in 4 volumes.

After 1917, all such studies were considered class alien, and since 1929 they were completely unsafe. The abolition of all titles and estates, anti-religious propaganda, the closure and destruction of many thousands of churches and monasteries with their ancient necropolises led to the loss of a huge layer of national historical memory.

Only materials related to revolutionary events, the Civil and World War II were published.

Genealogy as a scientific historical discipline is unthinkable without the use of these necropolises. First of all, it is data on the time and place of death and burial of specific people. However, descriptions of necropolises, produced for different purposes, and, accordingly, having a different look and content, can also be a source of other information about the dead.

“Materials of necropolises are important not only for clarifying the dates of life and activity of individuals and their genealogical relationships, but also for understanding the diverse phenomena of state-political and sociocultural history.”

Academician S.O. Schmidt

Descriptions of necropolises in Russia appeared more than 200 years ago in the form of a collection of tombstones, however, only in our days necropolism has gained popularity. Scientific conferences devoted to necropolises are held, more than a dozen publications with lists of people buried in a particular cemetery or group of cemeteries are published annually. More and more new types of literature on necropolises are appearing: biographical dictionaries of those buried in a particular cemetery, obituary indexes with basic biographical information, etc.
To date, hundreds of necropolises have been described both in Russia and abroad. In terms of their content, martyrology also adjoins them – memorial lists of people who died as a result of various reasons in a given territory. However, until now, there has been no special bibliographic indexes on necropolism studies in Russian literature. Only brief (within one and a half dozen names) lists of such literature are known in I.M. Kaufman and P.A. Zayonchkovsky.

Good luck in finding.