16 December 2006

Finding family on Russian Web pages even if you don't speak the language

Steve Morse's Web site offers a simple transliteration tool for converting from English to Russian.

And he also has a link to Russian Google, which makes it easy to check out possible leads to your families.

On the transliteration tool, type in any name, and see it in Cyrillic. For TALALAY, there are multiple possibilities, and I received a list with minor spelling variations.

I copied the Cyrillic characters, went back to Steve's list, and clicked Russian Google, and pasted in each name, doing a separate search for each. A lengthy display turned up, and most had a message offering to "translate this page."

While I can recognize TALALAY in the handwritten Mogilev, Belarus records, and taught myself to locate it by looking for "meaow meaow" which is what the name looks like, there's no way I could navigate Russian Google by myself, until now.

I spent about an hour clicking on the various search results, and found information about known cousins Dr. Misha (Michael) Talalay in Italy, and his brother, deep-sea ice diving expert Dr. Pavel Talalay in St. Petersburg, percussionist Peter Talalay in Moscow, and numerous others. However, I also found new information on several people whom I only had been aware of by names, including artists and architects, academics in the Urals and others.

The best part was discovering e-mail addresses for some new individuals. I've already written and hope that they will respond.

I even found my early DNA blog posting from the International Conference on Jewish Genealogy on a Russian forum.

Do try your hand at Russian searching - you might be pleasantly surprised.

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