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Russian Heraldry and Nobility

Russian Heraldry and Nobility - book cover

The Book: This book Russian Heraldry and Nobility (1992, first edition, 700 pages) was published and copyrighted by Dramco Publishers, Boynton Beach, Florida (now West Palm Beach Florida). It was authored by Donald R. Mandich and Joseph A. Placek.

The Catalog Listings: It bears ISBN Number 0-9633063-9 and (the U S A) Library of Congress catalog card number 92-71637. A copy has been acquired by the FHL (Family History Library) at Salt Lake City Utah, USA and is (under the FHL Dewey Decimal System: 947.22 D6 m 1992 and has it been added to the open stacks there.

Thrust / Purpose of this Book: Its main thrust seems to be to translate into English and organize (using an English A-Z alphabet method) the main body of Russian heraldry, as published by the Russian government in serial form from 1797 until 1840 under the title Obschii Gerbobnik Dvorianskikh Rodov Vserossiiskoi. Thus it essentlially represents what may be the first a summary general armorial, in the English language, of noble families recognized by the Russian Empire. These armorials date from prior to the end of World War I and the susequent fall of the Tsar Nickolas and his Russian Empire in two massive 1919 revolutions lead by Kerensky (spring) and Lenin (October).

As such, it presumes the reader is generally familiar with Armorial standards used elsewhere in England and other nations and empires in the western and central part of Europe. Persons lacking thee skills should refere to any of many good basic English language heraldry texts.

Overview of the Contents of the Book: In addition to a very brief history of Russian Heraldry and its structure (17 pages), it contains three major chapters:

  • one chapter on Blazons (text descriptions) of family arms (205 pages)
  • one chapter of gray scale heraldry illustrations (6 to a page, some of them computer enhanced) taken from the 10 volume source mentioned above on 263 pages and
  • a 30 page transliteration of the ssurnames in Cyrillic to a Roman character English language version of the family names.

Genealogy Content: To the authors' great credit - and what seems to set this excellent reference book apart from (and above most) other modern heraldry books I have seen - is its inclusion of a 193 page chapter on the genealogy of these noble families. To say it is a "genealogy gemstone" of great prize to the vast majority of Russian record searchers doing their work in the Roman characters of English (and not just in Russian Cyrillic) is hardly an overstatement.

Catalog Listings and Indexes: It is cataloged by the Library of Congress under Russia-HeraldryRussia-Nobility and Russian Heraldry and Nobility. However it could just easily have been also cataloged under Russia-Genealogy-Nobility. An important part of it devoted to "Genealogical Notes Introduction" (pages 214-217) and "Family Genealogies" (pages 217 to 407).

Availability (Contact the Publishers): The publisher of Russian Heraldry and Nobility, Mr. Donald R. Mandich, still has several hundred copies of this book for sale.

Publisher's Price and Address: US$135.00 (includes postage and handling). This book is shipped book rate. Canada and overseas orders are shipped surface rate. The publisher can be contacted at:

Dramco Publishers
1675 Cypress Row Drive
West Palm Beach, Florida 33411-5109
Telephone: (561) 792-9771 (new number)

No Everyname Index In The Book - The Reason For This Finding Aid: While the heraldry chapters are well organized in logical A-Z English alpha order (using the author's choice of the 11 Cyrillic to Roman transliteration methods available to them), for some reason - perhaps a concern as to the 700 page size - they omitted an important index to the genealogy chapter.

Content of the Genealogy Section In addition to alternate surname spellings, each genealogy description gives a summary of the cogent details, including full names for prior heraldry appoinments and summary genealogy of prior and subsequent holders of these armorials. While most fiefs granted them by a Tsar are not mentioned (but available in Cyrillic in the 10 volume Obschii Gerbobnik Dvorianskikh Rodov Vserossiiskoi, major cities or regions are listed and in most cases are recorded below.

Wide Scope of Russian Heraldry Not only does this chapeter document a summary of the source of "native" Russian nobility coming from various migrations from the east the "Golden Horde", the Tatars", etc., but visually scanning in gives an insight into the extremely broad reach of the Tsars - not only Poland, Livonia and Germany, but vitrually every European country (including England, Scotland and Spain) except Belgium, Luxembourg, Norway and Portugal.

It was not uncommon to grant a patent of nobility to a leader of a trbe or army and then turn over the governance of a region they controlled to that leader ... in return for fealty to the Tsar.

Scope of these Finding Aids: This FEEFHS Finding Aid is a series of three manually extracted flat file listings in alpha order. They are based on 1) English language transliterations of the "English-Russian Alphabetical Name Index" (pages 671-700) supplimented by 2) the addition of most surnames and locations mentioned in the book's "Genealogical Notes" Section (pages 217-298).

As such, it represents a fairly complete (and prsently the only) genealogical finding aid available for this reference work, or for that matter, for any other English language Russian reference work known to be on the web. As the first such online Finding Aid for the Russian Empire, it is also unique in being suppoted by a set of both vintage 1882 and 1909 online Russian Empire map sets and an online gazetteer to the 1909 Russian Empire maps.

Use It With FEEFHS WebSite Maps to Find Localities: Note the locations mentioned below can aid you in identifying the specific location on one of the FEEFHS Russian Empire maps, in conjunction with the new Online Russian Empire Gazetteer being created (it is upto G and thus still under construction) and the FEEFHS WebSite Index (always found on the top and bottom navigation links of every FEEFHS Web page.

Index to The Finding Aids: The English A to Z Surnames and Localities of finding aids for transliterated Russian surnames and localities found in this book are posted on these three Web Pages: