The tasks and paths of genealogy

“Genealogy is a story of one kind or another in all manifestations of the life of its representatives, both social and family.”

Leonid Mikhailovich Savelov, genealogy scientist of the late XIX – early XX centuries

Initially, the significance of genealogy was purely utilitarian, related to inheritance law. A number of peoples have knowledge of their ancestors in the male line (in this case, as a rule, they know 2-3 generations of the female, women were not required to know their genealogy) this is due to the need to always have an argument for proof:

  • Of your property rights.
  • Relationship to a particular teip, clan, clan, which also have their place in the overall ethnic structure. In this case, knowledge of genealogy is also a kind of know-how to act in a certain situation: the way your clan’s men should act.

In Russian medieval society, in full correlation with the trends of the time and pan-European (Christian) law, genealogical knowledge was necessary to prove a person’s right (and duty) to belong to a certain estate, that is, to a certain part of society by birth right. However, at a certain point in time, this structure, invented by society itself, of the legitimation of human rights in its place in society, began to slow down society itself. There was a need to “shake up” the structure, mix it, and free the mobile part of people “without roots” in order to do something against the too “deep-rooted” representatives of the nobility.

The sentence of the Zemsky Sobor in 1682 destroyed localism, that is, the human right to occupy any position, taking into account the origin of the ancestors. The local books, the richest sources on the genealogy of the Russian nobility, were massively burned by direct royal decree – precisely in order to knock out the legal foundation from the supporters of the old parochial system.

Almost all Russian kings reformers relied on specially created by them groups of people, withdrawn from the existing social system. Ivan the Terrible relied on the guardsmen, Peter the Great – on the nobles, whose positions at the beginning of his reign were still very shaky in comparison with the positions of the boyars. Soviet power went even further, simply destroying some of the existing social strata, for example, the nobility or the kulaks in the countryside. I must say that the kulaks in themselves became a fairly new “post-shock” social layer, which was formed in the village after the decline of noble land ownership.

One can easily draw attention to the fact that in all cases the role of genealogy was dual. On the one hand, genealogical knowledge guarded the inheritance and property law, on the other hand, very often genealogy was a kind of frond against the state. That is why genealogical research in the Soviet Union, although it was not prohibited, was not encouraged. In the 60s and 70s, together with the peak of interest in the “soil workers” writers, the first wave of interest in genealogy came after the revolution. Then many representatives of the Soviet intelligentsia secretly ordered themselves genealogical research.

It is clear why the state did not encourage genealogy: it is a process of awareness, thinking. It is very difficult to make a bravura, cheers-patriotic genealogy, in a word, “genealogy on the topic.” As a rule, there will certainly be at least one relative who falls out of the general clip. All this led to the fact that a person began to think, to see a discrepancy between what was “hung” on him by propaganda, and what he began to understand about himself.

Where does the genealogical search begin

The colorful carpet of family history is woven from many visible and invisible threads: memories, documents, photographs, preserved traditions and other evidence. According to one of the typologies, all these certificates can be divided into two large groups: documentary certificates (photographs, birth certificates, registry offices, references in the press, local history and ethnographic scientific sources, etc.) and family tradition (oral and written certificates descendants and contemporaries, legends, traditions, hypotheses, etc. – all that we know about our relatives and ancestors, but can not be documented).

The main task of genealogical research is to increase and systematize precisely the documentary evidence that is sought in various sources: archives, libraries, museums. This function is embedded in the term “genealogy” (or “genealogy”, the ancient Greek γενεαλογία – a family tree, from γενεά (genea) – “family” and λόγος (logos) – “word, knowledge”), which means a systematic collection of information about kinship, succession and origin of surnames and clans.

However, do not be surprised that any genealogical research begins, oddly enough, with the study of “family tradition,” namely, the collection of various information from living family members.

Firstly, in order to collect in a single system all disparate facts, memories, testimonies about the life of your ancestors. You personally have no more than 30-40% of information about your family and ancestors. In order to restore the true picture of family history, it is necessary to interview many relatives. Without a thorough study and analysis of these seemingly little meaningful details, no genealogical search begins.

Secondly, in order to visualize the family tree, to see the family as complete as possible at the moment.

Thirdly, in order to understand: whether genealogical search is possible (that is, searching for information about relatives “deep”), is there enough data for this, or it needs to be restored additionally, in which archives the information of interest is located.

Fourth, in order to formulate a strategy and algorithm for genealogical research, choose the most time-efficient and cost-effective solutions.

Based on materials: V. Semenova, N. Yamoldinova.

Good luck in finding.