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Russian Empire's Senate Bulletin

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Elena Tsvetkova
BLITZ Genealogy Services
St. Petersburg, Russia
March 16 2004

A little known but good resource for genealogy research in the Russian Empire is the Senate Bulletin. This government periodical contains Senate announcements regarding state, government and court affairs and can be a rich source of information on residents throughout the former Russian Empire. [The announcements concerned all persons living in Russia (all social classes). However, not everyone is to be found here. Persons listed are those that had to provide the government with specific information or proof of some sort.]

The Senate Bulletin was published four times a year as part of the "St. Petersburg Gazette" newspaper from 1822 until 1916. Each volume consisted of four sections and contained 18 sub-sections. Announcements were grouped in a lesser number of sub-sections when first published, though the content was the same.

The Senate Bulletin sections are listed below:

Section I.
1. Lawsuit appeals.
2. Appeals of hearing decisions, resolutions, and other legal proceedings.
3. Appeals of heirs and of creditors and debtors payments.
4. Revoking powers of attorney.
5. Lost documents.
6. Bankruptcies and publications of legal proceedings in the Commercial Court.
7. Limitation of the legal capacity of elderly people.
8. Cessation of the limitation of the legal capacity of elderly people.
9. Public auctions and sales.
10. Appeals regarding land surveying and various publications not included in the above sections.

Section II.
11. Affairs passed to the Ruling Senate for examination.
12. Legalization of redemption acts and permissions to receive loans from estates.
13. Appeals of state contracts and deliveries.
14. Subpoenas of people for legal proceedings.
15. Detention of vagrants.

Section III.
16. Deeds.
17. Gifts, dowries, rejection legalization.
18. Wills and testaments.

Section IV. - Regarding opening and regulation of the Warsaw Court District.

The following are examples of the type of information provided in the Senate Bulletins:

  • Sub-section 3 of Section I (appeal for heirs) contains announcements such as the following:
    The Justice of Peace of the 5th section of the Kovno Court District appeals for the heirs of the noble Ulinski-Rymkiewicz, Ivan Lavrientievich and Eva Mikhailovna deceased in the manor Pagavsentz - first of March, 1877, later in March, 1860. The heirs must present their rights for their movable and immovable property located... [the place of location and the property itself are described].

  • Announcements published in Sub-section 9 of Section I (regarding auction and public sales) describe the property in detail, including the location and information about former owners.

  • Announcements about bankrupt persons may provide specific information of the situation and names. Sometimes this information helps to establish family relations.
  • The widow Anna Ignatievna Kalusovskaia (nee Vishnevskaia), Kazimira Ignatievna Vishnevskaia and Felicia Ignatievna Anusevich (nee Vishnevskaia) and their attorney Leopard Mikhailovich Anusevich filed a claim regarding the case of Boblevski and Kholstoi regarding the revoking of power of attorney...

  • Sub-section 16 of Section III contains many announcements, because the transfer of real estate had to be registered by district notaries and published there, even if the property was a small plot of land or a simple wooden shed.
  • Announcement #15663. March, 1894. (Section III, Sub-section 16).
    Don Army Region. Chief Notary of the Novocherkassk District Court announces the registration of a deed of purchase dated March 1, 1894. This concerned the estate of the Cossack Basov, Abram Vasilievich. The estate is in the manor Kamyshnoe of the Melekhov village of the 1st Don River District. It consists of a vineyard, 28 sazhens in length and 10 sazhens in width and a wooden edifice. The estate was purchased for 100 rubles on a public auction by A.V. Basov from Basova, Tatiana Vasilievna - the widow of a Cossack.

  • The following is an example of an announcement from Section III, Sub-section 18:
  • The following document was included in the Register of the Nizhnii Novgorod Province concerning transfer of real estate.

    Certificate #7732 dated December 1892, was issued to hereditary honored citizens Ivan Eduardovich Girar, Baroness Henrietta Stempen, Melania Godilier, wife of the councilor of state Maria Karlovna Martens, captain Karl Karlovich Von Komeng, Riga citizen Eduard Karlovich Von Komeng, wife of captain Alina Karlovna Remeren, wife of mechanical engineer Henrietta Karlovna, Baroness Von Stempen and a petty bourgeois from the city of Poshekhonie Anna Ivanovna Koroleva for transfer of property, which they inherited from councilor of the state Heinrich Eduard Girar [Girard]. The property includes a house with additional premises, a wing and land of 499,5 square sazhens in the city of Balakhna in Novinskaia street

    Working with such a large number of announcements published in four volumes each year is a formidable task. Fortunately, alphabetical indexes to all issues by section were published up to the year 1915 as additional volumes. However, during different periods of time, the bulletins and indexes were set up differently. Some are more user friendly than others.]

    Use of the Senate Bulletins has proven successful in finding specific information especially in cases when clients have limited initial data [or a surname is less common conventional genealogy research methods are unable to provide results]. Information from the Senate Bulletins can make it possible to further trace a family by more precisely targeting the archival research. [These publications are found in the larger national libraries of Russia, as in the Russian National Library in St. Petersburg.]

    Blitz Information Center, based in St. Petersburg, Russia and California is an archival research company working for clients around the world. Our professional researchers perform a wide range of genealogical and informational searches. Blitz has been in business since 1992 and is a reputable, reliable research company with proven resourcefulness in navigating through the constant changes in the archival system of the Newly Independent States (Former Soviet Union).

    For more information, please contact:
    Kristin Nute Blitz Coordinator USA
    907 Mission Avenue
    San Rafael, CA 94901
    415-453-3579 / enute@igc.org


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