Fort Ross Russian genealogyA new digital archive sheds light on the little-known Russian-American immigrant experience.

If you’re an American researching your Russian genealogy, you will be happy to know about a new digital archive. The Fort Ross Conservancy Digital Archive is a free online repository for digitized documents and photos relating to Russian immigrants to the U.S. and the Russian-American experience.

The core of the collection comes from the Fort Ross Conservancy, a state park cooperating agency in Sonoma County, California. The Conservancy has stewardship over important historical buildings, photographs and documents pertaining to Fort Ross, described in this news report as “the hub of the southernmost Russian settlements in North America in the 19th century. Together with Alaska, it was an important epicenter of 19th century Russian-American relations.”

What the Archive Includes: The news release describes the collections to be digitized only as a “significant number of documents, photographs, letters and other evidence.” The Fort Ross Conservancy website lists among its holdings “30 albums of archivally-preserved historic photographs and almost 3,000 titles in the reference and circulating library.” Click on the Digital Archive itself and you’ll see what’s up already.

Major partners named in this effort are the Library of Congress and the Russian Academy of Sciences. Interestingly, however, the project does have some corporate sponsors, including U.S energy company Chevron; the Russian shipping company Sovcomflot and Transneft, a Russian oil pipeline company. A news report states that according to Transneft, “In the current atmosphere of tense relations between Moscow and Washington, the Fort Ross Dialogue remains one of the few platforms where the sides cooperate in a constructive and friendly manner.”

Do you have relatives from the group known as “Germans from Russia?” Genealogy Gems Premium website members can now access Premium podcast episode 130, in which a special guest joins us to talk about this fascinating group of immigrants.

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