Before Russia invaded Ukraine, which sometimes seems like a lifetime ago, I began a quest to discover my great Aunt Ella’s correct birth year. Since then I have poured over the documents in my possession and read over pieces of information sent to me by my friend in St Petersburg.
Was I named after Empress Alexandra (pictured above), wife of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia? It is a question I have been asked time and time again. It was not something I ever discussed with my mother. How do parents decide on names for their children? I had a few
The war in Ukraine has turned my thoughts to my grandmother. Her father’s estates were situated in western Russia, not far from the current border with Ukraine. I remember her telling me how beautiful Kyiv was, so she must have visited it at least once. Recently I again sorted through
On February 14, 1914, my maternal grandparents, Paul and Olga Woronoff (neé Countess Kleinmichel) were married in the Feodorovsky Cathedral in Tsarskoye Selo – I have written about their wedding here and talked about it here on YouTube. So 108 years ago they would have been on their honeymoon. I
This week I began to sort through the numerous photo albums which I inherited. My parents and grandparents, and no doubt other relatives, were very vague with their inscriptions on the photos, if they wrote anything at all. Some are inscribed with random names like “Helen”, or with simply a
On 1 January 1946 my great-grandmother, Catherine Nicolaievna Jakowzoff (formerly Countess Kleinmichel), sent a Christmas / New Year greeting to her granddaughter, my mother. The images of the card and the photo she sent are above. At the time of writing my great-grandmother was 81 and living in France, and
- Knowing your place: the boundaries around relationships in pre-Revolutionary Russia
- Searching for an April birth month and finding more questions
- Ella – elegant, enchanting and somewhat elusive – was she also evasive?
- What’s in a Name? Was I named in memory of the Empress?
- The Tsar is buried… the Emperor is no more…
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