Russia Directories

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Directories are alphabetical lists of names and addresses. The most helpful directories for genealogical research are provincial directories and city directories (published annually in the 20th century).

Published directories were issued annually for major metropolitan centers. They identify the residence for heads of household as well as provide lists of government employees, members of private and charitable organizations, lists of professionals and tradesmen. They exist primarily for the later 19th and early 20th centuries. Some of these are available in major research libraries around the United States.

A person’s address can be very helpful when searching an un-indexed census of a large city. Inclusion or omission in successive directories can indicate when the person came to the city, left the city, or died.

Even telephone directories are officially a taboo in most Russian regions, starting with Moscow and St. Petersburg. People use outdated directories stolen from law-enforcement agencies.

Residence Books

Research use: Not only identifies family groups and ages but links family to past residences, leading to other sources.

Record type: Police record of residence.

General: The population was registered at their place of residence. Each person was then issued an internal passport that served as the major form of individual identification. During the Imperial period they were called inhabitant books (obyvatel’skie knigi) and after the Revolution they were called home books (domovye knigi).

Time period: 1800s-present.

Contents: Head of household, family members, ages, religion, occupation, address and former address.

Location: State archives.

Population coverage: 30% coverage because of record loss.

Reliability: High.[1]

Russian Directories from the FamilySearch Catalog


  1. The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Russia,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1996-2001.