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Our Story Begins In 1883...


I believe this definition of “what is history” from the Valdosta State University (Georgia, USA) website:

History is the knowledge of and study of the past. It is the story of the past and a form of collective memory. History is the story of who we are, where we come from…

sums up my purpose for creating our family’s website:

From Russia With Love (a play on words using the title from the popular 1963 James Bond movie).


This website chronicles our Russian ancestors’ journey’s to America. My goal is to aid us in forming a collective memory and hopefully have each of us learn about where we came from. This is a living website, which means we can add, subtract and edit as we discover new information or find new pictures. If you would like me to edit, subtract or add any information to our website please contact me.


If our ancestors did not emigrate to the United States, locating documents for them is nearly impossible. The Russian Consulate in San Francisco is closed due to the ever-unstable relations between Russia and the United States. There are private companies that will search Russian databases and archives, but their cost is astronomically high. In addition, they do not guarantee any findings or results.

In regard to documents found, there are some inconsistencies, especially in the spellings of surnames and recording dates. I did my best to confirm all information found on our website.

From Nina Bogdan (see credentials listed below):

With respect to name spellings, please note that people in the same families often ended up spelling their names differently, whether because of “official” error or because people arrived at different times and chose different spellings in English. Many people changed their names completely as well,….

On some of our families’ documents, like other Russian emigrants, they would list themselves as “stateless”. Nina Bogdan, author of Russian San Francisco, explained why the status of “stateless” was used:

This is an important point—being “stateless” was not an advantage in any way. Russians became stateless because their country no longer existed, and the Soviet government decreed that subjects of the Russian empire who did not return were not citizens of the Soviet Union. This greatly complicated the situation for Russians who left Russia after the revolution because they had no government officials to turn to for assistance—emigre consular officials tried to help (they were Russian diplomats who had not returned to Russia), but once other governments started to recognize the Soviet Union, “stateless” people had no standing. Being stateless was an enormous hardship, which worsened over time as having national passports became standard (and after WWII, mandatory) in order to be able to cross borders…”.


This website was a collaboration of many people and my gratitude will be never ending. First of all, to Katrina, Susan, Brenda, John, and Leanne for discovering more of the priceless firsthand account documents from Mary Ellen’s house. My Obi-Wan Kenobi and historical reference editor is Matt Rowland. Matt is a history teacher in San Diego and more importantly he is a close friend to Brandi and Rory. Irina, who owns her own salon (Haircuts Plus) in Rohnert Park and is from Russia, she was my translator and interpreter of a majority of the original documents. Her assistance was priceless. Brian Wallace (K2 Website Design) and his patience in working with me as we developed this website. Melissa and her patience in allowing me to take over our kitchen table while I was coordinating this material. Lastly, Nina Bogdan, MA, PhD, an Adjunct professor, and author at the University of Arizona. Her guidance and literary works kept me engaged and forever widen my knowledge of the Russian story in San Francisco.