Author Topic: Family story about being in service to the Romanov family  (Read 2181 times)

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Offline EstelleM

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Family story about being in service to the Romanov family
« on: March 31, 2019, 10:38:32 AM »
Hello everyone, I was wondering if you may be able to help.
We have a family story that a sister of my great-great grandparents may have been in service to the Romanov family, possibly as a nurse. We think it could have been Mary Mills (sister to my great-great grandfather) or Clementine Gregory (sister to his wife). She would have been English.
When she left their service, she was given a small wooden cross with mother of pearl inlay. Sadly the cross seems to have now been lost.
I was wondering if there is a way of finding out the names of English servants or nurses to the Romanov family? Or if anyone has come across these names? I would be grateful if anyone could point me in the right direction.
I'm quite prepared for this to be a family story that can't be proved or that may have been embellished but would really love to try and find out more information if possible.
Many thanks for any help

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Re: Family story about being in service to the Romanov family
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2019, 07:37:01 PM »
There were no English servants to the Imperial Family aside from a tutor or governess. This is almost certainly just another "family tale" which we have heard literally hundreds and hundreds of times. "Everyone" seems to have an ancestor who worked for the Imperial Family.

Offline JGP

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Re: Family story about being in service to the Romanov family
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2019, 11:19:09 PM »
Yes there were.  The chief maid of the Empress was Madeleine Zanotti, of English and Italian parentage, whose home before she came to Tsarskoe Selo was in England.   http://www.alexanderpalace.org/palace/maids.html
« Last Edit: March 31, 2019, 11:22:34 PM by JGP »

Offline Превед

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Re: Family story about being in service to the Romanov family
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2019, 08:26:17 AM »
I'm quite prepared for this to be a family story that can't be proved or that may have been embellished but would really love to try and find out more information if possible.

It could very well be an embellished tale of an ancestor working as a nanny for more distant members of the huge Romanov family or for members of the Russian aristocracy or rich bourgeois.
Берёзы севера мне милы,
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

(Афанасий Фет: Ивы и берёзы, 1843 / 1856)

Offline sarannki

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Re: Family story about being in service to the Romanov family
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2019, 07:20:00 PM »
Hello Estelle,
Do you know if Mary's name was possibly Mary Magdalene Miller instead of Mills, and if she was married and had three children? I made a posting on ancestry.com years ago regarding a family member of mine who appears in some sort of Russian military uniform asking questions about his background and any help with identifying his uniform. While I am not sure if I have the right person, I was informed by another user that the man's name might be Michael Kautzmann and his wife Mary Magdalene Miller due to the similarities that myself and this other individual had in our family stories. While I am not sure if Mary was a nurse, or how much contact she may or may not have had with the royal family, she was married to a Michael Kautzmann who served in the Russian military. After they left Russia in 1899 they settled on the West Coast of the US. Please let me know if you think this sounds plausible, if so I would love to research and see what we could find.

Best,
Sarah

P.S. I emailed you as well.

Offline EstelleM

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Re: Family story about being in service to the Romanov family
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2019, 08:31:31 AM »
There were no English servants to the Imperial Family aside from a tutor or governess. This is almost certainly just another "family tale" which we have heard literally hundreds and hundreds of times. "Everyone" seems to have an ancestor who worked for the Imperial Family.

Many thanks for your help, Velikye. I appreciate that you've heard similar stories so many times before

Offline EstelleM

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Re: Family story about being in service to the Romanov family
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2019, 08:35:36 AM »
Yes there were.  The chief maid of the Empress was Madeleine Zanotti, of English and Italian parentage, whose home before she came to Tsarskoe Selo was in England.   http://www.alexanderpalace.org/palace/maids.html

Hello JGP, many thanks for your help. Yes, I thought that I had read elsewhere about people with non-Russian heritage being in service to the Imperial Family, which is why I would like to see if there is any truth, or not, in our own family story

Offline EstelleM

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Re: Family story about being in service to the Romanov family
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2019, 08:37:43 AM »
I'm quite prepared for this to be a family story that can't be proved or that may have been embellished but would really love to try and find out more information if possible.

It could very well be an embellished tale of an ancestor working as a nanny for more distant members of the huge Romanov family or for members of the Russian aristocracy or rich bourgeois.

Hello, Velikye, many thanks for your help. Yes I think this is very likely too. I wish I could find out more details from family, but this seems to be all we have to go on

Offline EstelleM

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Re: Family story about being in service to the Romanov family
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2019, 08:59:15 AM »
Hello Estelle,
Do you know if Mary's name was possibly Mary Magdalene Miller instead of Mills, and if she was married and had three children? I made a posting on ancestry.com years ago regarding a family member of mine who appears in some sort of Russian military uniform asking questions about his background and any help with identifying his uniform. While I am not sure if I have the right person, I was informed by another user that the man's name might be Michael Kautzmann and his wife Mary Magdalene Miller due to the similarities that myself and this other individual had in our family stories. While I am not sure if Mary was a nurse, or how much contact she may or may not have had with the royal family, she was married to a Michael Kautzmann who served in the Russian military. After they left Russia in 1899 they settled on the West Coast of the US. Please let me know if you think this sounds plausible, if so I would love to research and see what we could find.

Best,
Sarah

P.S. I emailed you as well.

Hello Sarah, thank you so much for your email and how fascinating! As far as my Mary, Mills was her maiden name. I don't have any details about a marriage for her, but it could certainly be possible that she could also be your Mary (and that she was widowed when she married Michael Kautzmann).
Do you have any further details about Mary Magdalene Miller? Such as her date/year of birth, place of birth, parents, siblings etc? Or details about where and when she married Michael Kautzmann?
Kind regards,
Estelle

P.S. I haven't received an email message?

Offline EstelleM

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Re: Family story about being in service to the Romanov family
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2019, 09:14:45 AM »
Hello admin and Превед, so sorry, I thought that 'Velikye Knyaz' under your account name was your name, but now I see it is some kind of forum status. I would edit my responses, but can't seem to find an edit option.

Offline Превед

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Re: Family story about being in service to the Romanov family
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2019, 12:46:42 AM »
Hello admin and Превед, so sorry, I thought that 'Velikye Knyaz' under your account name was your name, but now I see it is some kind of forum status. I would edit my responses, but can't seem to find an edit option.

You're welcome. You can't edit your posts after 30 minutes have passed since posting. Velikiy (=grand) knyaz (=prince) means "grand duke" in Russian. I only have that status on this forum :-) It's only now that I notice that this status is misspelled. Velikye looks like a misspelling of the transliteration of the plural form великие, velikiye.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2019, 12:53:14 AM by Превед »
Берёзы севера мне милы,
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

(Афанасий Фет: Ивы и берёзы, 1843 / 1856)

Offline EstelleM

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Re: Family story about being in service to the Romanov family
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2019, 09:35:28 AM »
Ah, I understand. Thank you for explaining :)