Tatarstan citizens to learn the genealogy of their family with the help of State Archive by 100th anniversary of Tatarstan

The department is launching the genealogical portal by the remarkable date

The State Archive of the Republic of Tatarstan has started to work on the creation of the genealogical portal, in preparation for the 100th anniversary of the TASSR (Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic). As explained by Gulnara Gabdrakhmanova, the head of the state committee on archival affairs, the department finds valuable evidence on the history of the Tatar people in neighbouring regions and in other countries: Kazakhstan, Turkey and even in Japan and the United States. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

The Idel-Ural State

The Republic of Tatarstan received its modern name in 1992 when the relevant law was issued: “To rename the Tatar Soviet Socialist Republic into the Republic of Tatarstan,” Deputy Director of the State Archive of the Republic of Tatarstan on scientific researches and publications Ildar Shafikov, reading the text, showed the document to the correspondent of Realnoe Vremya. The copies of the most important documents from the 14th to 20th century related to the history of the Tatar people were shown to journalists in the Republican Cabinet of Ministers.

“The republic was not born in one moment, it was preceded by two years of disputes, which took place not always in the offices, sometimes they drew weapons,” said Shafikov. There were even several variants of names, the main — the Tatar-Bashkir Republic or the Middle Volga, Idel-Ural State.

Thanks to the documents, one can trace the chain of events and actions that preceded the creation of the republic in stages:

“For example, the Decree of the Council of People's Commissars on the establishment of the Commissariat for Muslim Affairs in 1918 is the event preceding the creation of our republic, a very important milestone. The letter of Chairman of the Kazan Provincial Executive Committee Khodorovsky with Lenin's resolution is written with a pencil: “It is necessary to meet.” The resolution of the Council of People's Commissars on the assignment to the Rural People's Commissariat for Ethnic Affairs for the maintenance of the Commission for the convening of the Constitutive Congress — it is almost the eve of the creation of the republic.”

The documents in the Tatar language in Japan, the US and Kazakhstan

The State Committee on Archival Affairs is working not only on the return of individual documents but also on their entire corpuses related to the territory, the history of the republic — in recent years, the work has been underway on the acquisition of the first third of the materials of the census record of the 18th century): “The goal — to open our historical heritage to society. Since the beginning of 2019, our specialists have carried out business trips to eight federal and three regional archival institutions,” Shafikov said.

According to him, Muslim documents were found in the Tyumen and Tobolsk archives, “but they do not comply with the requests due to that they cannot read them.” It is a similar situation with the documents on the Arab chart in Mari El, Sverdlovsk Oblast, Perm Krai. In Tyumen Oblast, the staff found that part of the registers of births was in the storage of the local rural museum. Some documents were even found abroad — in Kazakhstan, the USA.

“Tatarstan is now being in the process of acquiring 12 books published by the Tatar communities of Tokyo in the ‘30s of the last century. Together with Turkish colleagues, more than 50 documents on the history of Tatarstan have been revealed. From the documents, it follows that in the ‘20-30s the Turkish Republic was actively interested in the experience of the Tatar ASSR translation of the Tatar language from Arabic to Latin script due to similar processes that were taking place in Turkey itself,” said Shafikov.

According to Gulnara Gabdrakhmanova, the head of the State Archive, the need to look for important documents outside Tatarstan is connected with that the territorial division of the republic was often changed: “Part of the territories passed to our neighbouring regions, regions and republics, we are now very actively, first, interacting with them: it is Mari El, Kirov Oblast, Orenburg, Bashkiria, Ulyanovsk, Samara. We are actively working with other regions and have sent letters to all of them. We are already receiving answers to what documents concerning the Tatars they have in their archive. Our employees go there, create inventories, there will be a directory where it will be clearly stated in what archive, on what subject, what document, in what foundation, what inventory.”

Specialists from the State Archive of the Republic of Tatarstan go to the place to work with documents with which local workers cannot work, help to translate them. Then the digitized documents are transferred to Tatarstan.

Tatarstan citizens are looking for data on ancestors in the archive

Since 2018, the State Archive has held the republican contest of genealogical research My Genealogy. Last year, there were more than 500 works, this year — more than 900. Most are made by children and only 177 — by adult participants.

As Shafikov explained, any Tatarstan citizen can make his genealogical tree asking for help in the State Archive: “We have master classes every month, to the public. More often, of course, it is children and elderly citizens who come, but middle-aged people also show interest.”

According to Gulnara Gabdrakhmanova, Tatarstan archive workers during the business trip to Turkey were very impressed by the portal, where everyone can create their own family tree. In this country, the system of data collection for each genus and family has been working since the beginning of the last century, so it is impossible to quickly create a similar project in Tatarstan, but the first steps are already being taken: “Each surname has its own specific code there. We have another idea. The genealogy portal starts its work by the end of this year, what approach we have organized there you will see using it. Unfortunately, entering only your surname, one cannot find your genealogy like in Turkey, but in a few clicks your pedigree can be collected.”

Sergey Gorokhov, the deputy director for the storage of audio-visual documents and mandatory copy, spoke about the use of intelligent systems based on machine learning in the archive, including the reception of documents — it also makes it easier to work with documents for the average person. For this purpose, the system of search of archival documents in the Unified Information System of the republic has been developed. The system provides an accuracy of 15-20% higher when issuing a result compared to traditional, said Gorokhov: “It allows to search for the necessary files not only in text format but also in video and photo content.”


Gabdrakhmanova noted the lack of personal funds in the archive, so now the committee is working in this direction. “We have launched a campaign, we <...> are inviting people who keep some interesting materials in their archives. Indeed, we lack photos. The exhibitions are interesting primarily for photo and video documents. Therefore, we invite everyone to transfer family archives, it can be photos, correspondence, dissertations, diaries and other documents. All families are interesting to us,” she explained to journalists.

“Why we have converted it into a campaign: people addressed to us once, called, and we saw that our foundation isn't so rich to represent some interesting things. There are no any criteria there, we will accept everything, and our expert commission will evaluate: the photo that was presented to us — whether we include it in the Archive Fund or just create a personal collection.”

If the state organizations are obliged to transfer the documents to archive, commercial do it at their will. To attract them, the committee has developed a competition, supported by President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov, for the best archive of a commercial or non-profit organization. The prize fund is 4,5 million rubles. Among this year's winners — the Chief Veterinary Directorate of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Tatarstan, Main Investing Constructing Administration of the Republic of Tatarstan, Nizhnekamskshina and others, six of them in total. Gabdrakhmanova noted the project of the winner — Veterinary Directorate — the electronic fund of documents containing important information about anthrax cattle and Beccari pits: “If they create it, it will be a unique development for the whole region, which will be used by everyone.”

By Leysan Nabieva. Photo: