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With this announcement, two new Surname Databases have been created and are searchable on the Routes to Roots Foundation website at These two new databases evolved from vast amounts of material that I acquired during my 30+ years of working in the archives of Poland and the former USSR.

The first of these databases is the standard Surname Database and was compiled from spreadsheets of indexed lists of names for various towns.

The second database is an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Surname Database that was created by using OCR technology to scan the contents of various Cyrillic-lettered directories (telephone directories, business directories, etc.). The search of this database is done using the spelling in Cyrillic letters, but the search form lets you enter the name in Latin letters and transliterates it into Cyrillic for you.

Both of the databases can be searched in various ways. They both allow for searching for exact matches but they also allow for searching for non-exact matches such as matches that start with or matches that contain a sequence of letters. One benefit from such non-exact matches is that you can pick up the female ending of a Russian name. For example, the female form of the male surname Odnopozov is Odnopozova. In this case, a contains search or a starts-with search for Odnopozov will pick up both the male and female forms.

Click to meet the Team Working on this Project


Source Material

Standard Surname Search -- Name lists from historians and heads of Jewish communities (both handwritten and typed); name lists from books and name lists from various archives.

OCR Search -- Business Directories, Address Calendars, Telephone books, typed name lists, name lists from books and name lists from archives.


List of Collections

The List of Collections was created geographically (Belarus, Bessarabia/Moldova, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine); and Romania (partial).

Click here to see the lists of collections

There are also two additional collections:
  • Shanghai (Jewish Refugees Reunion in 1980)
  • Sweden (survivors from other countries transported to Sweden)

Collection Description Page

There is a "Collection Description Page" for each collection with varying information. It includes links to other sources for that collection, as well as document images, town images or other relevant information and/or images. A link to the Collection Description Page will appear on each Search Results page.

Click here to see general description of Poland Collections.

Click here to see general description of Ukraine Collections.


Useful Links

Below are some links to pages that you will find useful when you do surname searches.

Spelling of Town Names

LANGUAGE: Spelling of Locality Names, Alphabets and Accents, Transliteration

Access to Document Images

Archival Abbreviation Codes for Data in the Surname Database

Some Important Notes

RTR Foundation home page > Publications