Revision (per capita censuses)

At the beginning of the 15th century a capitation was introduced, the unit of which was the male soul. In accordance with the new taxation system, a new form of population registration has been adopted – the so-called revisions of “poll censuses”. In total, 10 audits were conducted in Russia.

First revision (1718-1727)

The decree on 1 audit was issued by Peter I on November 26, 1718. It began after the publication of the Senate decree of January 22, 1719 and lasted until 1727. Not only Russians, but also most other peoples, were rewritten. And yet, a number of peoples (Bashkirs, part of the Tatars, etc.) were not taken into account. In addition, initially the audit did not extend to the Baltic states, Little Russia, Sloboda Ukraine, as well as to Ukrainians who lived in Russian provinces. True, later on all these territories, local audits of the population were carried out or other forms of population registration were carried out (for example, in Little Russia, “censuses”, taking into account the number of yards and employees of the Cossacks).

Second revision (1743-1747)

2 revisions were made after the publication of the decree of December 16, 1743: it began in 1744 and ended in 1747. It, like 1 revision, did not again affect a number of peoples (Bashkirs, parts of the Tatars, Siberian tribes, Lapps). 2 audits were not carried out in the territory of Little Russia either. Nevertheless, the 2nd audit covered some categories of the population that were not covered by the 1st audit. In particular, residents of Ingermanlandia (part of the present Leningrad region inhabited by Finns), Ukrainians on Russian lands and in the Slobodsky regiments, as well as foreigners who converted to Orthodoxy, were taken into account. The Senate decree of March 22, 1746 stipulated that the ethnicity of the population considered by the audit should be separately recorded, while it was permitted not to indicate their ethnicity when counting baptized foreigners.

Third revision (1762-1764)

17 years after the start of the second audit, it was decided to conduct a third audit. This time, the government came to the conclusion that all female persons were included in the revision tales. Prior to this, their number was determined by doubling the number of males. The third revision began in 1762 and basically ended by mid-1764. Taking into account all the passes and “runaway souls”, the total population of Russia by 1763 amounted to 23,200 thousand people. However, the audit underestimated a significant part of the population, and later, already in the course of the next, 4, revision, a large number of ascribed souls unaccounted for by 3 revisions were discovered. By the beginning of the 3rd audit, a list of categories of the population subject to audit accounting was finally established, and the form of documents drawn up during the audit was developed. From revision 3, a single printed form of the revision tale is introduced, which lasted almost unchanged up to 10 revisions. Starting from the 3rd revision, information about all male and female persons (last name, first name, middle name, age, estate, place of residence) was entered into the tales.

Fourth revision (1781-1783)

In 1781-1783 underwent 4 revisions. Unlike all the previous ones, it spread to the whole territory of Russia, covering also those marginal areas where only its local estimates were carried out before. She indicated the ethnicity of not only “unbaptized Gentiles”, but also “newly baptized”, that is, who converted to Orthodoxy in the 30-50s of the XVIII century. Ethnic communities that had long adopted Christianity did not stand out: Belarusians, Poles (except those who lived in Riga), Latvians, Estonians, Izhors, Karelians, Finns, Komi, Permian Komi, etc.

Fifth revision (1794-1796)

On June 23, 1794, a personal decree was issued to conduct the next, 5th audit, which should be completed by the beginning of 1796. The forms of documents remained the same as during the Fourth Audit. According to its results, in Russia there were already 28,300 thousand people.

Subsequent revisions (6-1811, 7-1818, 8-1833, 9-1850, 10-1857)

Subsequent revisions – 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 began to be carried out respectively in 1811, 1815, 1833, 1850, 1857.
In the tale form of the 7th revision for some categories of the population, information about the profession is entered; information about the female gender is highlighted and made up the right side of the tale.
The revisions did not completely cover the entire population, most of them did not cover the entire territory of the country, and were stretched in time (although the terms of their implementation were gradually decreasing). For almost a century and a half, revisions were in fact the only fairly broad form of accounting for the population of the country, only in some areas, in addition to them, local estimates were carried out.

Revision tales. What was indicated

Audit tales allow you to establish the following information: the estate of the person submitting the tale; age, last name (if any), name, patronymic and place of birth; place of permanent residence; the presence of male and female children (except 1-2 and 6 revisions) indicating the time and place of their birth; relatives and “working people” with the indication of surnames, first names, age and estate; amounts of taxes paid to the treasury; property status of the person giving the tale (not always); in some cases, 1-5 revisions – nationality; 1 revision – physical disabilities (“mutilated”, “blind”). It is possible to establish exactly the age at the time of the census, and not the year of birth, therefore, the calculated year of birth for different revisions usually differs.

Categories of the population listed in the revision tales of those times: bourgeois, clergy, soldiers, guilds, from the merchants, peasants. The latter category included the following groups: free cultivators, odnodvorods, stalls, black-sown, domestic, economic, specific, etc. Civil status of each of the corresponded subscribers for the current and past revisions was included in the “census forms”. For example, military service had the following options: surrendered to recruits, surrendered to warriors, in the militia, sent to prisoner companies. Information on population movements was considered important, where there were such options as: resettled, independently resettled, transferred, came from nowhere, in an unknown absence, on the run, freed.
However, even the latest revisions were very far from the general census, since they did not include a huge group exempted from the census. The following were exempted from accounting:

  • Nobles.
  • Gos. employees.
  • Home teachers.
  • Lower military ranks (Don, Black Sea and other Cossacks).
  • Honorary Citizens.
  • Persons belonging to the postal and theater departments.
  • All persons who have obtained academic, medical, or academic degrees.
  • Masters of state-owned factories, etc.

Where are the audit tales stored

Not all revision tales have survived. Not all surviving are described (that is, they were included in the inventory), that is, even if they are, they will tell you that they are not. Surviving ones are not always given to researchers – for this they must be stitched, numbered and in good condition. But in fact they are stored in the federal archives – funds Landrat books and revision tales, College of Economy (RGADA); The Senate, the Department of various taxes and fees of the Ministry of Finance (RGIA) – and in the regional archives – funds of the governor’s offices, state chambers, petty bourgeois, county provisional revision commissions of the All-Russian People’s Censuses, personal funds.


Good luck in finding.