Cantonist Records


Two of my ancestors were forcibly drafted into the Russian Army as part of the Cantonist decree.

Where can I find the records of those draftees?


Posted 2014-08-26T19:05:11.397

Reputation: 27



These notations should appear on Russian Empire Revision Lists (which were kind of like census lists). That is, if a son was present in the 9th Revision List but not the 10th, the 10th would say that Yankel, born 18XX and age XX in the 9th list, had been serving in the army since 18XX, and therefore was not present for the 10th list that year.

Unfortunately, not all the Revision Lists for various areas survived, and not all the ones that did survive have been microfilmed, and not all of the microfilmed ones have been transcribed and put online. What town or area are you researching?


Posted 2014-08-26T19:05:11.397

Reputation: 1 860

One grandfather we have no idea from where in Russia he was; the other came from a province called Cortland (or something similar). – HBS – 2014-09-04T19:05:17.537


"Courtland" is probably Courland, which is today in Western Latvia, but sandwiched between Germany and Russia:

To find out exact town names, you need to look at naturalization records, immigration records, death records, and (if the person was Jewish) find out if they were buried in a landsmanschaften group (mutual benefit society for people from a common town) area in their cemetery.

– Asparagirl – 2014-09-06T01:44:51.247


Courland is essentially western Latvia. My g-g-parents came from near Riga. Aside from JewishGen, try Raduraksti which has a lot of translated revision lists

Sean Bentley

Posted 2014-08-26T19:05:11.397

Reputation: 11

Also some part of Courland belongs now to Estonia. So some digitized documents can be found through SAAGA project:

– George Gaál – 2016-04-05T00:27:51.737