Author Topic: Cossack Identify Uniform +/- @1881 Picture. Yr help requested!  (Read 14826 times)

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Offline Mike

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Re: Cossack Identify Uniform +/- @1881 Picture. Yr help requested!
« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2010, 12:52:35 PM »
The shoulder boards are of a retired general, but his exact rank cannot be seen. Most probably it's major-general, since he wears no St. Vladimir 3rd class which was a must for higher ranks. I'm now more convinced that he is indeed llya Tolmachev who was promoted to major-general at his retirement from active service in February 1914.

The two bearded men in white robes are orthodox priests. The photo appears to be taken in 1918-1920 or even later, in emigration.

Offline archvstlisa

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Re: Cossack Identify Uniform +/- @1881 Picture. Yr help requested!
« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2010, 10:38:22 PM »
Dear Nicola and Mike:
Firstly – I must tell you I have been savoring your exciting details and just found time this weekend to try to put it all together and gather my notes and further questions.  Thank you for everything so far.... (I’m just trying to put together a nice album for my family with as much detail as I can, maybe later getting more detailed with history. FYI.. I’m doing it on Shutterfly after having had all these photos scanned through ScanCafe service.)

There is one thing that concerns me still and that is timeline. Also, if the timeline is wrong, we could still have the wrong guy.

My GGmother was born in 1881.  Married and left the area (I think) by 1900. My GGfather, from the Volga region, became a priest. They went to China AT THE LATEST by 1906. Never went back to Russia.  In the village picture, she is in the white dress on the left.  She immigrated but we have no information or reason to believe that Tolmachev ever immigrated.  She would not be in their immigration picture being just a god daughter. (The Cossacks were treated badly later and many did leave, were killed, etc.  So I know that is something else for me to look into.) The full uniform photo could have been sent to my GGmother in the post.

So here is what I have so far as my caption for the photographs in the album:

Believed to be Ilya Tolmachev - Major-General of the Calvary, Colonel of Sunzhensko-Vladikavkazskiy regiment of Terek Cossack Host, Commander from approximately 1910-1913.
pic 1. Shows the epaulets of a Colonel (with no stars), a high military rank in Russian Empire which meant 6th degree in the "Table of Ranks" and highest social status. (WHAT EXACTLY IS THE LETTER OR EMBLEM ON THE EPAULETTES?)
pic 2. Shoulder boards are of a retired general, likely major-general (WHAT EXACTLY IS THE LETTER OR EMBLEM ON THE Shoulder Boards?)

Here is what I gleaned from both of your postings, probably all wrong (Some further questions IN CAPS):

1.   (neck) Order of St. Anna 2nd class Badge with Swords ( WHEN I WAS  TRYING TO FIGURE THIS OUT, I THOUGHT IT WAS A ST. STANISLAUS BADGE)
(top row right side of photo)
2.   (Cross with Swords) ? St. Stanislaus Badge with swords of the 1st degree, St. Stanislav 2nd class
3.   (Cross with Swords) St. Vladimir Badge 4th class
4.   (Bad area of the photo. Can this be identified by the ribbon or a guess be made?)
5.   (two coin medals) Commemorative Medal of Coronation of Emperor Nicholas II (1894-1917) (Dates photo after 1994) (Several other coin medals may be hanging here.  ANY GUESSES ON WHAT THEY MIGHT BE?) Such as likely....Commemorative Medal of Reign of Emperor Alexander II (1855-1881) &/or III, (1881-1894), 

(bottom row right side of photo)
6.   (Large Cross with Swords) The cross is a commemorative award for the 50th anniversary of the pacification/conquest of the Caucasus. It gives this photo a "time-stamp": after 1909 (In 1859 Shamil was caught and arrested.)  but prior to 1914. (QUESTION: COULD THIS BE A 1859 CROSS RATHER THAN A 1909 CROSS? WHY NOT?)
7.   (Star) Order of Noble Bukhara Star (The Emirate of Bukhara was defeated by Russia in 1866, it became a Russian protectorate in 1868. ) I CAN’T FIND ANYTHING ABOUT THIS AWARD.  ANY KNOWLEDGE HERE?  BATTLE/TIMING, ETC. BOOKS TO READ!
8.   (Badge/Jetton/Ribbon on left side of photo) What is it???

Here are some further questions I was pondering while putting the previous together:
1.   What was Ilya before he became commander?
2.   Would he have always served in the same regiment?
3.   Who came before Ilya Tolmachev as the unit commander? (Just in case THE TIMELINE IS not a match) 
4.     What is the russian/cossack word for his rank?
5.   How can I find out more about that unit?  Is there a specific regiment #?
6.   What is Ilya Tolmachev’s complete name? Vasily? I can’t find anything about him on the English Internet.
7.   Any way to figure out how old Ilya Tolmachev was/when/during?  This could help with a time line. Books, articles, etc.
8.   Where can I find out more information about him? Tereks, Specific battles? Can you direct me to a book or source?
8.   Do you know what ethnic group did the Terek’s belong to?

I know this is a lot of stuff – I’m just trying to go as far as I can with my online research and your help, but I recognize this may not be what you spend all your time on, so let me know when you’re tired of it. 

Thank you so much!!!  Whenever you know, can provide, I am thankful for it. Sorry for the length. I get a bit obsessive with this stuff.

Lisa

Offline Mike

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Re: Cossack Identify Uniform +/- @1881 Picture. Yr help requested!
« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2010, 05:01:43 AM »
Wow, too many questions...
- Tolmachev's full name was Ilya Timofeyevich.
- His predecessor in commanding the Sunzhensko-Vladikavkazskiy regiment in 1907-1910 was Nikolay Fisenko. In 1915 he was awarded St. George 4th class, so on a retirement photo he should have appeared with that cross. Since the retired general wears no St. George, he cannot be Fisenko.
- The letters on the colonel's shoulder boards are CB (Сунженско-Владикавказский).
- No insignia or cypher are seen on the general's shoulder boards, other than the "zigzag" pattern of a retired general.
So far.

Offline Nicolá De Valerón

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Re: Cossack Identify Uniform +/- @1881 Picture. Yr help requested!
« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2010, 09:14:05 AM »
Dear Lisa, you are welcome!

I must say that you have a certain talent for questions;). Oh, and such a big number...

About epaulets and allegedly Ilia Tolmachev, yes these are epaulets of retired General (Major General) with no prominent insignia. I mistaken in the first time, because I thought this man wears active military uniform with General of Cavalry epaulets.

About Ilia Tolmachev, I must say that this is only Mike's version, although he really know something in this case and this version is very suitable. We cannot make real judgments now without serious documents. I can assume for example that this man is POPOV Ivan Dmitrievich (1853-1928), Major-General (1912), Orthodox, Veteran of Russo-Turkish war, Ataman of Piatigorsky division of Terek Region (1907-1917) (Your GF was born in Pyatigorsk), died in emigration in France (photo was taken in emigration) and holder of St. Anna of 3 with swords, St Stanislaus of 2 with swords and St. Vladimir of 4th with swords (very close to you GF). But this is only my version.

About Orders, I already answered you clearly (Mike corrected me) that this man at least on this photo have only these MILITARY awards: Order of St. Stanislaus of 2nd degree (on neck), St. Anna of 2rd degree, St. Vladimir of 4th degree and Bukhara star. Others are different anniversary and minor decorations. If we start talking about all these endless Imp. Russian decorations for hundreds of Regiments and other military units, we'll not stop till the next weekend. But if you want....

And answers to some questions:
4. No, there was no official equivalent of Cossack rank (like Esaul) for Major General. There were only official Cossack posts like Ataman, but this is not the rank.
8. There is a lot of sources, but you didn't told where you live and about your Russian language knowledge. Of course, based on this I can recommend your some literature.
9. There were an endless number of different Caucasus ethnic groups of that place and at that time, from the most big Russians to less spread like Kabardinians, Chechens, Balkars and maybe even some Ukrainians.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2010, 09:18:33 AM by Nicolá De Valerón »
"I think that if Shakespeare lived in our times he would not be able to write. Many of his works are not welcome on stage nowadays: The Merchant of Venice – anti-Semitism, Othello – racism, The Taming of the Shrew – sexism, Romeo and Juliet - hideous heterosexual show..." - Vladimir Bukovsky.

Offline Mike

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Re: Cossack Identify Uniform +/- @1881 Picture. Yr help requested!
« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2010, 10:01:43 AM »
About Ilia Tolmachev, I must say that this is only Mike's version... I can assume for example that this man is POPOV Ivan Dmitrievich (1853-1928),
I don't insist that he actually is Tolmachev, it's only an assumption, and so far the known details fit. As to him possibly being Popov, that officer never served in either Sunzhensko-Vladikavkazskiy regiment or any other Terek Cossack line unit. He was an artillery officer given a series of administrative appointments within the Terek host. I'd presume that Popov continued to wear the artillery insignia on his epaulettes and shoulder boards.

Offline Nicolá De Valerón

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Re: Cossack Identify Uniform +/- @1881 Picture. Yr help requested!
« Reply #20 on: March 14, 2010, 12:46:23 PM »
About Ilia Tolmachev, I must say that this is only Mike's version... I can assume for example that this man is POPOV Ivan Dmitrievich (1853-1928),
I don't insist that he actually is Tolmachev, it's only an assumption, and so far the known details fit. As to him possibly being Popov, that officer never served in either Sunzhensko-Vladikavkazskiy regiment or any other Terek Cossack line unit. He was an artillery officer given a series of administrative appointments within the Terek host. I'd presume that Popov continued to wear the artillery insignia on his epaulettes and shoulder boards.

Yes, this is also only my presumption. We both have made good presumptions. As a result - two beautiful presumptions. I only think that we can hardly start serious talking judging by this. I saw that Lisa started to create theories and even decided to start researching in Caucasus region in the Sunzhensko-Vladikavkazskiy Regiment about Ivan Tolmachev judging only by presumption and by letters on the epaulets;)!. Just my opinion.

About an artillery, I think that he could have possibly wear both his native artillery uniform and one of the typical Terek Cossack Regiments uniform, where he served de facto.
"I think that if Shakespeare lived in our times he would not be able to write. Many of his works are not welcome on stage nowadays: The Merchant of Venice – anti-Semitism, Othello – racism, The Taming of the Shrew – sexism, Romeo and Juliet - hideous heterosexual show..." - Vladimir Bukovsky.

Offline Mike

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Re: Cossack Identify Uniform +/- @1881 Picture. Yr help requested!
« Reply #21 on: March 14, 2010, 01:18:59 PM »
About an artillery, I think that he could have possibly wear both his native artillery uniform and one of the typical Terek Cossack Regiments uniform, where he served de facto.
Being a district Ataman, he had to wear a Terek Cossack uniform - beshmet, cherkeska, papakha, dagger etc., but without regimental cyphers.

Offline archvstlisa

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Re: Cossack Identify Uniform +/- @1881 Picture. Yr help requested!
« Reply #22 on: June 05, 2010, 09:14:31 PM »
Hi dear Mike and Nicola –
After a hiatus, I would like to come back again to these pictures with some minor new information and timeline questions.

Firstly, from your earlier question - I would like to state for the record I do not speak Russian, sometimes I am able to use online translation functions. (I am starting to recognize the alphabet!) Also I was born in San Francisco, CA and now live about an hour away from there.

Now I would like to go back an assumption or two and further pick your delightful brains, if you will still let me!

1.   My great-grandmother’s family have connections to both Sochi and Pyatigorsk. So the GROUP PHOTO could be either place or somewhere in the 168 miles in between potentially. (She’s the one in the white dress in the GROUP PHOTO).  So could her COSSACK GODFATHER be a Kuban or Black Sea Cossack instead of Terek?  Do Kuban or Black Sea Cossacks wear approximately the same kind of uniforms as Tereks? Did they work together?

  • (Actually Mike-You already said he wears a CB insignia so it seems unlikely MILITARY GODFATHER is anything but Terek but just want to share the new location detail.  I read your post that Kubans and Tereks wear similar uniforms, but wasn’t sure about Black Sea Cossacks.)

2.   Also the GROUP PHOTO was ABSOLUTELY taken in or BEFORE 1905-1906 at the latest.  My Great Grandmother and her husband were in China in 1907 (Caucasian cross here must be prior to NOT between 1909 -1914 unless given out 3 years early.)  So I’d like to assume for a few moments that COSSACK GODFATHER is NOT Ilya Tolmachev nor Nikolay Fisenko but possibly an EARLIER colonel / regiment commander.

3.   Hence my earlier question about the timestamp of the Large Cross with Swords medal he wears in his FULL UNIFORMED PHOTO. We assumed the cross was a commemorative award for the 50th anniversary of the pacification/conquest of the Caucasus 1859-1909.  But could he have received a cross for ACTUALLY being in the battles on or before 1859? Could there be a 25 year award or another date that would fit a little better for a slightly different timeline?

An Alternate Timeline for COSSACK GODFATHER (Lisa’s Idea)
1836--1846 (or earlier) birth guesstimate
1859     13 – 23 years old (Surrender of Imam Shamyl)
1884     38 – 48 years old (My Great grandmother was born in 1881 so my assumption is her Military God father was somewhat contemporary of GGMa’s father who died between 1881 and 1906.)
1885-1905 In this timeframe the FULL UNIFORMED PHOTO was taken
1906     60 – 70 years old (or older) GROUP PHOTO taken around 1905-1906

Given this new line of thought, who could COSSACK GODFATHER be?


Take your time, no rush. Anything that helps uncover the mystery!  Thanks so much.

Yours, Lisa
archvstlisa

Yes I know I overwhelm with detail.  Sorry for that. But I am getting closer to printing the family album book and want to make sure I can back-up my claims and perhaps can ‘verify’ the info from another source too.   BTW-You think I’m tough with questions you haven’t heard from the rest of my family![/list]

Offline Mike

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Re: Cossack Identify Uniform +/- @1881 Picture. Yr help requested!
« Reply #23 on: June 06, 2010, 01:46:11 PM »
it seems unlikely MILITARY GODFATHER is anything but Terek but just want to share the new location detail.  I read your post that Kubans and Tereks wear similar uniforms, but wasn’t sure about Black Sea Cossacks
Not unlikely - impossible. The CB ciphers means the Terek Cossack, period. As to the Black Sea Cossacks, they didn't exist after 1860 when their host was renamed Kuban. At that time Pyatigorsk was an important town within the Terek host's territory, while Sochi was a small resort village without any military presence.

Offline archvstlisa

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Re: Cossack Identify Uniform +/- @1881 Picture. Yr help requested!
« Reply #24 on: June 06, 2010, 04:05:28 PM »

Thank you Mike - that confirms what I thought about her birthplace and the Kuban (same as Black Sea) cossacks. 

The problem is a family dispute whether GGma was born in Sochi or Pyatigorsk.  I have some family memoirs that say Pyatigorsk, but everyone has believed Sochi for so long, they are disputing the memoirs. I think this is extremely strong evidence.

Still - the idea is that her family came from Sochi to Pyatigorsk before her birth.

I know Sochi didn't even have a port for a while but used a neighboring one until some sand barriers were built. Now it's going to be an Olympic site!

Offline Daniel Briere

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Re: Cossack Identify Uniform +/- @1881 Picture. Yr help requested!
« Reply #25 on: June 15, 2010, 04:39:09 PM »
Hi Lisa,

I had a close look at the photo of the man in full uniform of « polkovnik » colonel (Cossack ranks were the same as in the regular Army starting at the rank of colonel and going higher) of the 1st Sunzhensko-Vladikavkazsky Regiment (also translated as the Sunzha-Vladikavkaz Regiment). Here are 2 things I noticed and that would concur with your « alternate timeline » :

The 1st « coin » medal fully visible immediately at the right of the 3 orders (crosses of St. Vladimir, St. Anne & St. Stanislas) looked rather like an Alexander II medal than a Nicholas II one to me (Alexander II had wiskers instead of a full beard). Most Alexander II medals showed him looking to the right but there were a few looking left. All of these had something written around his face except one : the silver  medal « For the Subjugation of the Western Caucasus » (За Покорение Западного Кавказа) established on July 12, 1864 and awarded to all who had taken part in the campaign of 1859-1864 in the Western Caucasus. It was worn with a combination ribbon of St. George & St. Alexander Nevsky (the St. George ribbon part is clearly visible on the photo). (a Nicholas II Coronation medal would have been worn with a sky blue St. Andrew ribbon instead).

As for the « Large Cross with Swords » (worn below the 3 Orders), it seems to me you are right about it being an early combat award rather than the later 1909 commemorative one. The « Cross for Service in the Caucasus » ( Крест За службу на Кавказе) was also established on July 12, 1864. The date of « 1864 » was inscribed on the lower part of the cross (which isn’t visible here, nor are the insciptions on the left & right). But the main difference between the 1864 Cross and the 1909 « 50th Anniversary of the Termination of the Caucasian Wars » Cross  is visible on your photo : the 1864 cross had the double-headed eagle Russian coat of arms in the center medallion while the 1909 Cross had a large « L » (Latin for 50) instead.

So it’s obvious to me that he receive at least 2 military awards for service in the Caucasus in the 1860s. Lets say he was 25 in 1864, he would have been 65 in 1904 and most probably retired from active duty by then.  BTW, the black full dress Caucasian tunic (cherkeska) he’s wearing over a Terek sky-blue « beshmet » shirt was grey between November 1900 and August 1903 (reverted to black afterwards). This leads me to believe that the photo was taken before Nov. 1900. On the other hand, the letters « C.-B. » (cyrillic for S.-V.) on the epaulettes and shoulder boards appeared in June 1882 when the Sounzhensko-Vladikavkazsky regiments were created (as a result of the Sunzha & Vladikavkaz regiments being combined). Therefore the photo cannot have been taken before this date (June 1882). I wrote S.-V. regiments, as there were 3, only the 1st being an active duty one, the 2nd & 3rd being inactive cadre regiments. Apparently their number (i.e. : « 1. C.-B. »; « 2. C.-B. »; « 3. C.-B. ») was inscribed on the shoulder-boards & epaulettes only during Wartime. On peace time footing the 1st S.-V. Regiment’s markings were only « S.-V. » .  So we have a probable timeline for the photo : 1882-1900 showing an officer who was was on active military duty in the Caucasus as early as the 1850-60s. Now someone has to find out who was the Commanding Officer of the 1st Sunzhensko-Vladikavkazsky Regiment was in the late 1800s… 

P.S. : the 1st S.-V. Regiment was stationed at Khan Kendy (Elisavetgrad Province) which is now know as Stepanakert in the currently disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Hope it helps!

I’ll try to answer some of your other questions later.
Daniel Briere

Offline archvstlisa

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Re: Cossack Identify Uniform +/- @1881 Picture. Yr help requested!
« Reply #26 on: June 17, 2010, 10:57:42 AM »
HI Daniel - Muchas gracias! Tesheker ederrim! Merci!

These tiny details are just so interesting to me.  Thank you very much for the careful response and time you put in.  This man is the only link to find out more about my Matrilineal line.   I feel finding out more about him could lead me to the name of my Great Great Grandfather and then also my Great Great Grandmother - possibly.  We have the Patriarchal  last name Sheleff which is unusual but no first names and no maiden name.  Sheleff has a meaning in Hebrew but we were part of the Orthodox Christian Priestly 'caste' so I don't believe the family was jewish.  (However there are the 'mountain jews' a special case and also there were many converts.

Of course I also think 'my' Terek Polkovnik is also an extremely interesting man and I want to learn more, regardless.  I have had a fascination with the Caucasus for a long time and read "The Sabres of Paradise" three times. Now that these details are coming to light I find I want to learn even more  particulars, such as:

His Personal data: name, birthdate, death date, family, was he part of the Terek People's Republic?, was he killed by Bolsheviks, what happened to his family
General data: leadership, structure, formation of the regiment, battles, what it was like where they were stationed, why there (seems far away from the action?), what would have been his responsibilities, how often would they go 'home,' travel times, Noble Star of Bukhara - how a person would get it?

I'm not asking anyone to just do all this but I would appreciate links, direction that anyone can point me to - of course I am limited by English, and web translation.

I found this site with some interesting things:
http://regiment.ru/reg/III/E/9/Sun-Vlad-1/1.htm

I am also appreciative of Nicola and Mike for educating me on so many things as well.  I love this site!

Thanks so much Daniel!

Offline Mike

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Re: Cossack Identify Uniform +/- @1881 Picture. Yr help requested!
« Reply #27 on: June 17, 2010, 02:32:34 PM »
While "shelef" indeed has a meaning in Hebrew ("harvested field") and occurs in Israel as a surname, Шелёв and Щелев are common (albeit not particularly widespread) Russian surnames.

Offline archvstlisa

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Re: Cossack Identify Uniform +/- @1881 Picture. Yr help requested!
« Reply #28 on: June 17, 2010, 05:38:26 PM »

Thanks Mike -
Do you know if it has a different meaning than in hebrew or any meaning at all? Any reference I can go to to read more?

Lisa

Offline Mike

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Re: Cossack Identify Uniform +/- @1881 Picture. Yr help requested!
« Reply #29 on: June 18, 2010, 02:52:26 AM »
Several almost similar Russian surnames are apparently associated with the word щель meaning slit, slot, crack.