Russia Handwriting

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In order to read Russian handwriting it is important to understand the language. Be sure to use the wiki articles Russia Languages and the Russian Genealogical Word List to help you.

Overview

Russian is a variation of the Cyrillic alphabet. It has a printed and script form, both of which have changed over time. The most important changes to be aware of are those made in the 1918 spelling revision that removed several letters.

Here is the Russian alphabet printed, in script, with English transcriptions and pronunciations. Note that some letters have multiple lowercase forms.
File:Russian Alphabet Key.pdf

Field Guide to Russian Letters is another online resource that includes the obsolete letters, and multiple handwritten examples.

Tutorials and Classes

  • Reading Russian Handwriting Records on the FamilySearch Learning Center is a very helpful video lessons series. They allow you to learn the Cyrillic letters, practice identifying them and their sounds, explore common column headings in Russian records (Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Jewish, and Lutheran church records), and practice reading handwritten examples.
  • The Russia "How to" Guides are read along lessons that teach the Cyrillic alphabet and how to read birth, marriage, and death records with accompanying activities.

Word Lists

Dictionaries

Books

In Their Words: A Genealogist's Translation Guide to Polish, German, Latin, and Russian Documents (Volume 2) by Jonathan D. Shea and William F. Hoffman

Other Resources