Entertaining history of Russian surnames

Entertaining history of Russian surnames

For centuries in Russia, surnames have been more than surnames. By family names, as they were called in official documents, understanding people could establish not only the social status of the subject of the Russian Empire, but often the occupation of his ancestors, as well as part of the country where their family appeared and strengthened.

That is why, before the abolition of serfdom, Russian peasants had no names at all, and the emergence of a family name signified a transition to the next level of the social ladder — at least a departure for the fishery and acquiring a passport in this connection.

At the same time, the patronymic was slyly entered into the document as a surname, and therefore the Ivanovs, Petrovs and Sidorovs did not count in Russia. Individual, highly valued workers were given names by their professions, which led to the appearance of the Kuznetsovs, Sapozhnikovs, Plotnikovs and others. But those who are not lucky, entered as a surname street nicknames, given by fellow villagers or owners of peasant souls.And therefore, among the subjects of the Russian Empire there were an abundance of the Pentyukhovs, Durakovs, Durnovs, Durnevs, and even the Dabilovs.

Entertaining history of Russian surnames

It must be admitted that landlords, endowing farmers with surnames, were not limited to assessing their intellectual abilities - and together with the Durakovs appeared the Kosorotovs, Kosorukovs, Kozobryukhovs, Kosolapovs, Tolstobryukhovs and Tolstopyatovs. And Sukin, Kobelev, Martyshkin and other Skotinins in Russian cities and villages were a dime a dozen. However, this was not the limit. Particularly cynical representatives of the color of Russian society gave their peasants names, among which Zadov and Siskin were among the most euphonic.

The situation with the nobility themselves was no better. Unlike in Europe, where noble families descended from the names of estates handed down from generation to generation, in Russia only in the rarest of cases, as a rule among princes, the names were derived from the names of their estates and patrimonies. The majority of the nobility and aristocracy had no offspring. And it didn’t occur to anyone to be called by the name of the estate received for the service and for the duration of the service. So noble family names sometimes not only did not differ in nobility, but also betrayed an origin, which their bearers tried to hide by all means.

Entertaining history of Russian surnames

For example, representatives of the famous family of Tatishchevs everywhere and everywhere argued that their surname does not come from the word “thief” (thief, robber), but from the two words “thief” and “look for”, and their ancestors did not rob the robbers. Another way went the nobles Naryshkins. There is a version that they were originally called Yaryshkins, and their ancestors, judging by their last name, served in the old days as petty police officers — Yarygs. But having got into favor with the tsar, they allegedly begged for the right to change the name and became known as the Naryshkins.

Over time, the change of the surname solely by royal mercy became for the Russian nobility the main, and then the only way to improve and ennoble the family name. However, it was not possible to change absolutely everything that was not quite euphonic and rustic names of noblemen and not to confuse the entire state account.

Entertaining history of Russian surnames

An attempt to establish an elementary order and to separate the service noblemen Ivanovs from the Ivanovs burghers was undertaken by Catherine II. By her decree, a different spelling of the patronymic was introduced for officials and officers of various classes. The one who would now be called, for example, Peter Ivanovich Kuznetsov,having a low rank in Catherine’s times, Pyotr Kuznetsov was recorded in the official papers without patronymic name to the captain inclusively. Having received the following ranks, but not becoming a general, he was already called Peter Ivanov Kuznetsov. But only having attained the rank of general, he became Peter Ivanovich Kuznetsov.

However, the tricks of the German mind of the Empress did not help streamline Russian life. Every nobleman in his soul thought of himself as a high rank and therefore in informal correspondence he called himself a general's. And after the nobles, the same form of writing the patronymic was picked up by the merchants and small city inhabitants, so that the way of writing the full name entered by Catherine II was preserved only in government documents.

Entertaining history of Russian surnames

Of all the Russian estates, only one - the clergy - has received the right to virtually free change of names. A certain logic in such a decision was. The priests had, in most cases, peasant roots, and as a result of this, one of them could have been called “Father Jeremiah Sukin,” which hardly raised the authority of his ecclesiastical authority. And therefore in religious schools, seminaries and academies, the change of surnames to new ones, invented by teachers and church authorities, was widely practiced.

Often, family names were only slightly different from common people. But future clergymen were called not Ivanovs, but John, not Larionovs, but Illarionovs. But far more often, seminarians were given names in honor of biblical heroes, holy or religious holidays. So in Russia, the Resurrection, Blagoveshchensk, Preobrazhensk, Petropavlovsk, Pervozvansky and even Magdalinsky appeared. A lot of seminary families descended from the names of animals, plants and minerals. It also had Latin or Greek roots that were strange to the Russian ear. Therefore, having met a man with the surname of Diamonds or Tranquilatatin, one could be sure that you were dealing with a former seminarian or a descendant of a clergyman.

The names of the seminarians were also given, depending on their success in school, and the best students received the names of Lyubomudrov or Dobromyslov. Those whose successes left much to be desired could henceforth be called Vetrinsky. And during the time of study, the name could be changed more than once, and a case was described when a seminarian who became lazy for the edification changed the name to Krapivin, in honor of the plant with which they tried to guide him on the right path.

Entertaining history of Russian surnames

The ease with which the names of future clergymen changed was explained very simply. In the Russian Empire, the church was involved in all civil registration — births, baptisms, weddings, and deaths. And his own hand, as you know, the lord. For the same reason, until the middle of the XIX century, there was another category of population, which, at the request of the church, was allowed to easily get a new surname, but only once, - Jews who converted to Orthodoxy. However, in 1850, the government decided that the right to live outside of the Pale of Residency after baptism was sufficient incentive to get out of Judaism. A combination of a Christian name and patronymic with a Jewish surname allows you to accurately determine the estate belonging of their bearer. So the change of names "banned" banned.

In those same years, the whole system of changing the family name was formed in a more or less complete form. The right to a surname, as well as to a title of the husband, was acquired after wedding of his spouse. But about any right to leave the maiden name in marriage was not discussed in the legislation. Exceptions were not allowed, and the spouses could get a double surname only with the highest permission and for special reasons.For example, the last name of a fading family, where there were no male heirs, was allowed to be transferred to the husband of the bearer of a noble family name. And when Sumarokov-Elston was married, when he married the heiress of the Yusupovs' princes, he was the highest allowed to be called both titles and three surnames.

Entertaining history of Russian surnames

A special order existed for the appearance of names of illegitimate children. When they were baptized, the name was given according to the calendar, the patronymic - on behalf of the godfather, and the surname was formed from it. So, in this case, by the coincidence of the patronymic and surname it was possible to assume that their carrier is illegitimate. Only if the father of the disgraced maiden agreed to give her surname to her grandson or granddaughter, an exception to the general rule was made for the newborn. True, this category of subjects of the empire could change the name without serious hassle. But only in one case - if the child was recognized by his father.

Surname could change in the case of adoption. But at the same time there were a lot of rules and reservations that made changing the name, if not impossible, then extremely difficult. Well, for all bearers of discordant surnames there was only one way - to write a petition to the highest name and wait for an answer, which, as a rule, was negative.And the name that poisoned the lives of its carriers, continued to pass from father to son for many decades.

Entertaining history of Russian surnames

There were, however, exceptions to the general rule that occurred at the initiative of the military authorities. Famous shipbuilder Academician Alexei Krylov recalled:

“NF Drozdov was appointed Chairman of the Board of the Putilov Plant, and in his place, the Major General with a loud last name, in Russian strange sounding: Bordel von Bordelius, was appointed as the head of the plant. However, in Kronstadt for a long time, the respected Privy Councilor Bardakov was in charge of the commissariat. His son entered the Marine Corps. Somehow, bypassing the company standing in the front, Arsenyev (head of the corps Dmitry Arsenyev. - “Power”) asks:

- Your last name?

- Bardakov, Your Excellency.

- What a vile surname! Add it to the lists under the name "Burdyukov."

The change of the surname according to the law was made only by the decree of the Senate on the department of herald "with the highest permission granted through the commission of petitions." Arsenyev, having appropriated the royal rights for himself, simplified this procedure. ”The mass change of surnames occurred at the beginning of the First World War, when the family names of Russian subjects of German origin were russified. But this exception only confirmed the general rule.

Entertaining history of Russian surnames

After the February Revolution, almost nothing has changed. The petitioners also filed documents to the Office of petitions, but first the fate of the office itself under the new democratic government hung in the balance, and then the Provisional Government thought more about its own survival than about the names of citizens of free Russia. And then the citizens decided to take the issue of the family name in their own hands. In the regional government, formed in different parts of the former empire, went the flow of requests asking for a change of names. For example, the subsequently famous white General Shkuro, before the revolution, bore the name Skur and passionately wanted to get rid of it. In November 1917, he appealed to the Kuban government with a request to change the name to Shkurinsky. But then already independently reduced the received surname to Shkuro.

To change the names demanded not only by opponents of the Soviet government, but also by its supporters.In January 1918, the newly created People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs received a petition to change the names of the group of sailors of the Black Sea Fleet. Part of the petitioners wanted to change the incoherent names. For example, Anton Petrov Kobelev wanted to continue to be called Skobelev, as the famous general. Sailor Ivan Durakov wanted to be Vinogradov, Efrem Gnilokvas - Stepanov, Semyon Spider - Pavlovsky, and Kondrat Schek - Shcheglovsky. And only Valentine Sevruk from the destroyer “General Kondratenko” wanted to get a revolutionary surname - Garibaldi.

Entertaining history of Russian surnames

The demands of this kind became more and more, and it was increasingly difficult to ignore them. It turned out that the people's power does not want to listen to the aspirations of the people. In the end, after several delays in the discussion at Sovnarkom, the Small Sovnarkom took up the issue, where serious passions flared up. Freedom to change the name, in fact, destroyed even if not a brilliant account of the population that existed under the previous government. But giving citizens incomplete freedom was unworthy of real revolutionaries. So on March 4, 1918, the text of the decree "On the right of citizens to change their names and nicknames", worked out by the Council of People's Commissars, was approved by the government and signed by Lenin. It read:

"one.Every citizen of the Russian Soviet Federative Republic, upon reaching the age of eighteen, is given the right to change the family or family name freely, according to his wish, since this does not affect the rights of third parties, secured by special laws.

2. Persons who wish to change their family or family nickname apply at the place of their residence to the head of the marriage and birth record department and personally submit to him a written statement with attachment of identity documents or copies of these documents attested by the established procedure.

3. The head of the department draws up the statement, publishes it at the expense of the applicant in the local government newspaper within two weeks and simultaneously sends it to the government central government newspaper, and also informs the institution that registers criminal convictions.

Note. The institution that maintains criminal record lists is also charged with maintaining lists of variable names and their periodic publication.

four.After a period of two months from the time of publication in the central government's government newspaper, a person who has changed his or her last name or nickname has the right to demand that this name be included in all acts of civil status.

5. When a family name or a nickname is changed by persons in a marital union, this change is followed by their children up to the age of eighteen.

6. Spouses of persons who change their surnames or nicknames, and their children over the age of eighteen take new names: the first - of the spouses, the second - of the parents, in the case of their consent. Whether they agree or disagree

They make a written statement either in conjunction with their spouses, or their parents, or independently of them in the manner indicated above.

Entertaining history of Russian surnames

The order established then was maintained for a long time. As it was said in the poem of those times, “I will go to the Izvestia office, // I will pay eighteen rubles // And I will say goodbye forever there // With my former name.// Kozlov I was Alexander, // And I don’t want to be any more! // Call Nikanov Orlov, // I pay money for this. // Perhaps, with the last name new // My fate will be different // And life will begin to flow differently, // When I get home ... "

Entertaining history of Russian surnames

The Durnevs became the Rudnevs, the Vshivkins, the Volskys, the Yachkins, the Kostromes, the Bores, the Dontsovs, and the Bzdikins, the Lenskys. However, as soon as the process of Stalinist state-building entered the stage of tightening the screws, the freedom to change the names went into a revolutionary past. And again, as in tsarist times, for obtaining permission began to demand compelling valid reasons. It is strictly forbidden to change the name, “if the applicant is under investigation, the court or he has a criminal record” or “if there are objections from the interested state authorities against changing the name, surname and patronymic”. And in the questionnaires a graph appeared where it was necessary to indicate all the changes in surnames and their reasons. Again, as before the revolution, the supreme ruler of his own free will could change the name of the subject, and often did so.

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