Noble families

The word “nobleman” means: “court” or “a man from the prince’s court.” The nobility was the highest class of society. In Russia, the nobility was formed in the XII-XIII centuries, mainly from representatives of the military-service class. For their service, the nobles received land plots, the generic surnames of Ryazanskie, Galitskie, Smolenskie, Yaroslavlskie, Rostovskie, Suzdalskie, Moscowskie, Tverskie… were derived from their names most of the time. There were also surnames of foreign origin – they belonged to immigrants from Greece, Poland, Lithuania, Asia and Western Europe, who had an aristocratic background and moved to Russia. Here you can mention such names as Fonvizin, Lermontov, Yusupov, Akhmatov, Kara-Murza, Karamzin, Kudinov. Boyars often got surnames by the baptismal name or the nickname of the ancestor and included possessive suffixes. Such surname of the boyars includes Petrovs, Smirnovs, Ignatovs, Yurievs, Medvedevs, Apukhtins, Gavrilins, Ilyins. During the reign of Peter I, the nobility was replenished with representatives of non-military estates who received their titles as a result of advancing in public service. In 1785, by decree of Catherine II, special privileges were established for the nobility.

How did the nobility in the Russian Empire.

  • Titled nobility – princes, earls, barons.
  • The hereditary nobility is a nobility passed on to legitimate heirs.
  • Private nobility is a nobility received for personal service (including when you reached grade 14 in civil service), but not inherited. It was created by Peter I in order to weaken the isolation of the nobility and give it access to people of lower classes.

In 1886, V.V. Rummel and V.V. Golubtsov compiled the “Pedigree collection of Russian noble families”, which included the genealogical 136 genera of the Russian nobility. Meanwhile, it is very difficult to determine for sure the noble origin of one or another surname these days. The fact is that the names of the names or nicknames could be given not only to representatives of the nobility. Also, the serfs of this or that landowner often received names under the name of land ownership belonging to this landowner, or bore their own surname. With the exception of some very rare surnames, only the official pedigree can confirm noble roots.


Good luck in finding.