Sources for your research

For your search to have a holistic and evidence-based history, you need to turn to official written sources. To have documentary evidence of the information you found and recorded. Such sources, to some extent, carry the administrative burden and fixed information that was used in official institutions and organizations. These sources include metric books and confessional murals, which were conducted in religious institutions and revision tales, which were compiled to account for taxpayers.

For example, in the Russian Empire, the Orthodox Church and the state constituted a single church-political body, a single organism. One of the indicators of their unity was the impossibility of drawing a clear line between secular (in the usual sense of the word) and church legislation. Formally, the Church was part of the administrative apparatus of the empire, and this imposed on it part of the administrative functions of the state, namely, the registration of the population.

Each settlement of the Russian Empire belonged to a particular church parish, and acts of civil status were recorded by parish priests in a metric book.

The metric book

It is a collection of chronological records of birth, marriage and death in the prescribed form. This is a registry of acts of civil status. The widespread maintenance of metric books in the Russian Empire began by decree of Peter I in 1722. The conduct of civil status acts passed from church to state only in 1917 with the advent of Bolshevik power.

In addition to metric books, confessional paintings were also conducted in the parishes of churches. (In another way they are also called confessional sheets, spiritual or Lenten paintings).

Confessional murals

Also a very important genealogical source. This document is a list of all families living in the church parish. With an indication for each person whether he was during this year during Lent, or during the other three fasts for confession and if he took communion with his priest, and if not, for what reason (for example, during his infancy).

Another source containing important information for the study is revision tales – documents of the personal census of the tax-paying population of the Russian Empire, covered by revisions of the 18th – mid-19th centuries. The emergence of audit tales is associated with the tax reform that began in 1718, when the household tax was replaced by poll tax, and taxes began to be levied on the “male soul”. The reform required the organization of per capita population accounting. In the fall of 1718, by royal decree, it was ordered to collect “tales” about the number of souls in each locality.

Revision tales

A roll-call list of the population of a particular locality, which indicated the name, patronymic and surname of the owner of the yard, his age, name and patronymic of family members with an indication of age, attitude to the head of the family. During the eighteenth and mid-nineteenth centuries, 10 revisions were carried out (from 1719 to 1858).

Thus, the main role in the study is most often played by metric books, confessional murals and revision tales.

Good luck in finding.