Russian-Jewish Fallen Soldiers of World War I

The Award-Winning Searchable Database of Indexes to Jewish Records of Poland
JRI-Poland is an independent non-profit tax-exempt organization
under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.

Background

Russian State Library logo

In early 2013, Jewish Records Indexing - Poland learned of the availability of these lists of Russian casualties from WWI for the years 1914-1916. Under the coordination of Joel Ratner, Jewish genealogical Special Interest Groups were invited to collaborate on a project to create detailed extracts of all information in these Russian language lists. (While the lists for 1917 and 1918 are not currently available, it is hoped that they will also be scanned and accessible for extraction.)

The lists are published on the website of the Russian State Library (www.rsl.ru). There are images of more than 50,000 pages covering the years 1914-1916.

Many of the Russian Gubernias (provinces) did not have sizeable Jewish populations and thus many pages did not include Jewish soldiers. For Gubernias with a significant numbers of Jews, the ratio of Jewish to non-Jewish soldiers listed is still relatively small.

Sample page

The following fields appear in the record entries:

  • Family Name
  • Given Name
  • Patronymic
  • Rank
  • Religion
  • Marital Status
  • Gubernia (where the list was compiled)
  • Uyezd (district where soldier originated)
  • Town (town where soldier originated)
  • Status
  • Date (when soldier declared dead, wounded or missing in action)

Polish Gubernias

Jewish Records Indexing - Poland undertook the extraction of all "Polish" Gubernias and the former Grodno Gubernia (for which a large area covers current part of Poland). The work was carried out by a retired archivist in Poland familiar with all aspects of Jewish records, surnames and given names.

Although the publication is Russian, the names were transliterated into Polish spelling for consistency with vital records.

Overview of Polish data

The database includes 4310 soldiers with 3365 different surnames. 2532 were listed as Missing in Action, 1333 Killed in Action, 332 Wounded and 2 AWOL (absent without leave). Click here for a list of all SURNAMES extracted from the database.

More than 1000 towns are represented; understandably, most soldiers were from the larger centers of Warsaw (317), Łódź (194), Lublin (97), Białystok (66) and Grodno (59). Note, however, town names were only mentioned in 3/4 of the entries. Where town names are not included, the Powiat (District) is often provided. Click here for a list of all TOWN names extracted from the database.

The Gubernias with the highest number of soldiers were Grodno (872), Warszawa (801), Lublin (701) and Piotrków (588).

The lists were of lower rank soldiers and identified as: Private (3142), Rifleman (463), Shooter (191), Grenadier (165), Lance Corporal (132), Gunner (71), Junior Sergeant (23), Artillery (17), Drummer (5), Senior Sergeant (5).

Click here to download an Excel file with detailed analysis of above data.

How to find possible entries for your family

  1. Review the Surname Frequency List for your family name.
  2. Enter the name with EXACT spelling in the JRI-Poland search page.
  3. Very important: Do not select a region or indicate a town.
  4. The link to the entry will appear in the first stage search results under "no specified region".

IMPORTANT: All information appearing in the original publication of the Russian-Jewish Fallen Soldiers lists has been included in the database. There is no further information available. However, researchers may obtain a scan of the pages(s) with your family entries by making a qualifying contribution of $18 or more in support of this indexing project. To contribute, click here. Under Allocation of Contribution, please write "Russian Jewish Fallen Soldiers."

Funding - Your donations are needed

Jewish Records Indexing - Poland fundraising is typically "shtetl-specific" with researchers interested in specific towns asked to contribute to the funding of their town's data. However, the RUSSIAN-JEWISH FALLEN SOLDIERS OF WORLD WAR I project includes residents of more than 1000 towns. Thus the "shtetl-specific" fundraising model does not apply.

We are pleased to advise that The San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society has made a generous grant to JRI-Poland for this project, funding 40% of its cost, and enabling JRI-Poland to release the data prior to the project being fully funded.

Researchers making discoveries of family members are asked to make a contribution of their choice to the project in order to enable JRI-Poland to complete the funding. No amount is too small. Please click here to make your donation.