Extract Facts from an Army Portrait


I don't know much about my step-grandfather prior to his emigration from Russia in 1906 other than the fact that he was in the "Czar's army" and he left Russia to escape the brutality of that army.

It is this picture of my step-grandfather and his friend from the army that is the only clue I have:

enter image description here

How can I identify rank, regiment, location of service, date, or any other information that might be of help from what's shown in the picture?


Posted 2012-10-10T03:05:34.410

Reputation: 16 148

I'm with Gene: name of photographer and Chelm - a city/town/shtetl in Poland 69 km E of Lublin. – Steve Chernoff – 2012-10-10T03:57:33.273

2I don't think this picture was taken in Russia proper. My guess it was in what is modern Poland, given the name of the photography studio. Do you have a copy of the back of the picture? – Gene Golovchinsky – 2012-10-10T03:34:16.850

@Gene - If you must know, there is nothing on the back of the picture. Also, a large area of Poland today was part of Russia then. – lkessler – 2012-10-10T03:53:38.223

Can you post a larger version of the image somewhere? – fbrereto – 2012-10-10T03:56:08.693


@Gene - p.s. His Canadian Census record said he was from Osek, Russia. I looked everywhere I could for Osek, Russia and couldn't find it. But lightbulb, because of your comment, I just looked up Osek, Poland on Google and Eureka: http://www.jewishgen.org/jri-pl/town/osiek.htm - Thank you! Thank you! I didn't expect to get this sort of help so early into the site's opening, like 6 hours!

– lkessler – 2012-10-10T03:58:44.443

@fbrereto - The image is about actual size 2 1/2 x 4 inches and the image shown actually shows detail better than the actual picture does. Zooming in to 400% with your browser is effective, but there's no more detail to be had. – lkessler – 2012-10-10T04:04:21.303

Yes, sorry I wasn't clear: it was probably the Russian army, but either they were stationed in Poland, or took the picture on a trip to Chelm

– Gene Golovchinsky – 2012-10-10T04:05:58.213

@Gene - And why would they have gone to Chelm? – lkessler – 2012-10-10T04:07:59.007

Dunno. Could be it was the nearby town. Could be, like @SteveChernoff says below, that there was an Army garrison there. – Gene Golovchinsky – 2012-10-10T04:09:14.153


Have you lodged this question with ALL EXPERTS - Military History http://en.allexperts.com/q/Military-History-669/. While not a genealogy site, they are experts at military uniforms and information.

– Loan – 2012-10-10T04:16:55.007



First, when I researched the name I located the following record:
National Archives and Records Administration
U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 Record for Henry R Ostrowski enter image description here

I'm not implying this is the ancestor but as reference to the Place name as the documents reads, Russian Poland.

I researched multiple military uniforms for all the listed regions, the only real similarity I found will be in the photo provided below

enter image description here

compared with the photo in question enter image description here

I believe that these uniforms aren't an exact match. The insignia on the cap however are of Russian Military origin, these appear to show on both photo's. The difference is that the photo originally provided wasn't in the Imperial Army and the photo that I've introduced was of The Imperial Russian Army. Hence the slight difference in the headgear.

Ezri Rediker

Posted 2012-10-10T03:05:34.410

Reputation: 2 224

Yes, the insignia on the cap are a connection. I should try to look up info on that insignia for more clues. – lkessler – 2012-10-14T00:07:36.253

this photo may give a better view of the insignia. [link]http://www.bochkavpechatleniy.com/data/photo/4582/d42989f53cafa6cb426a59eae36847cf.jpg

– Ezri Rediker – 2012-10-14T01:49:29.863


The Forensic Genealogy website might help you analyze the photo and includes some other helpful links as well.

Lorraine W

Posted 2012-10-10T03:05:34.410

Reputation: 1 158