Author Topic: A Real Romanov in my town? What do you make of it?  (Read 62115 times)

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Offline Превед

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Re: A Real Romanov in my town? What do you make of it?
« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2015, 07:04:39 AM »
His story was that his mother, married to Maxim Prokofieff, was one of Alexander III's physicians and conceived a child, my grandfather, with him.

The idea that Alexander III had a female doctor and conceived a child with her is among the most unlikely I've ever heard.

Quote
Below are some images I have scanned to support the above. Again, I am not making a claim, but I am very curious and wish I knew more. The pencil drawing has been identified by a Russian teacher as a inner courtyard corridor in the Peter and Paul Fortress. Another notebook, not yet scanned, has a pencil the inside of a cell and barred window. Some pages are adorned with hand applied colorful borders and decorations.


Very unlikely that an 18th-century fortress has Gothic arches. It's most likely a detail of a Western European cathedral or an imagined architectural study.

As deceptive as appearances can be, I'd actually say that the fact that the man in question bears some resemblance to a young Alexander III is better proof. Perhaps that chance resemblance is what started the legend in the first place?
Берёзы севера мне милы,—
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

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

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Re: A Real Romanov in my town? What do you make of it?
« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2015, 10:22:24 AM »


I would love to know the truth, whatever it may be.  I really don't understand the catty insulting replies made to my post. I was hoping someone on here may be able to point me in a research direction, but I suppose I came to the wrong place.
 

You came very much to the correct place.  You are about the two thousandth person to come here with family claims of being descended from an illegitimate child of a Russian Emperor.  The "catty" results are because of the familiarity and (to the well educated on the subject) ridiculousness of the allegations.

There is simply no "research" direction for you.  Alexander III did not have a female doctor, period. He had no doctor "Prokofieff" period.  "White Russians" were SUPPORTERS of the Emperor Nicholas II and didn't "rebel" against the regime.  "White Russians" were not imprisoned in Peter and Paul for "crimes against the Emperor" (by the way, Nicholas II was not actually "Czar" he was "Emperor").  Thus your story has a glaring contradiction.

Now, as a member of the Imperial Aeoronautic Club and Officer he might have been held there during the Revolution by the early Kerensky government.  The Fortress Courtyards are rather drab, slab block affairs, not Gothic Arches, however there is a "Gothic Revival Chapel" in the Fortress and the drawing might be of the Chapel windows, there is some strong similarity. 

My Russian isn't good enough to exactly translate the notebook's label, but it doesn't appear to be "prison issued" rather some sort of school theme book.  I have a similar book belonging to one of Grand Duchess Xenia's sons, which is also filled with doodles and drawings and hand drawn cartoons, which tells me young men in that period often used those school notebooks in that manner.

Many emigré families often embellished their histories or outright lied (My own uncle used to regale me with tales of his service in France in WWI and even gave me the Croix de Guerre he carried as proof,  after he died, I asked my Grandmother, his sister, about it. She laughed and said "Charles was rejected from the Army for his eyesight. He won that in a card game years later....he never fought in France....")




Offline TimM

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Re: A Real Romanov in my town? What do you make of it?
« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2015, 11:21:33 AM »
Quote
I really don't understand the catty insulting replies made to my post.

This is a great board, Leona.  However, as Rob said, we are wary when someone shows up claiming to be the illegitimate descendent of this or that Russian Imperial Family member.  Others have come here making similar claims, and they were all debunked. 

While I don't rule out that you had an ancestor named "Romanov" (it's a common Russian name, like "Smith" here), it is highly unlikely that said ancestor had any connection to the Imperial Family.
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Offline Превед

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Re: A Real Romanov in my town? What do you make of it?
« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2015, 11:39:43 AM »
My grandfather, as a White Russian, rebelled against the Czar, and said he spent time in the Peter and Paul Fortress for his "crimes" against the czar.

"White Russians" were SUPPORTERS of the Emperor Nicholas II and didn't "rebel" against the regime.  "White Russians" were not imprisoned in Peter and Paul for "crimes against the Emperor" (by the way, Nicholas II was not actually "Czar" he was "Emperor").  Thus your story has a glaring contradiction.

There is of course also the unlikely possibility that he defined himself as a Belarussian (very strange indeed for the alleged grandson of the Emperor!) This would be very unlikely, indeed a kind of romantic whim* for an Orthodox and Russian upper-class person such as the guy in question, as most Belarussians were poor peasants and the nobles in the Belarussian areas defined themselves as Catholic Poles.

* But of course you expect the son of a female court physician to be as unconventionable as his mother!



I would love to know the truth, whatever it may be.  I really don't understand the catty insulting replies made to my post. I was hoping someone on here may be able to point me in a research direction, but I suppose I came to the wrong place.
 
Many emigré families often embellished their histories or outright lied (My own uncle used to regale me with tales of his service in France in WWI and even gave me the Croix de Guerre he carried as proof,  after he died, I asked my Grandmother, his sister, about it. She laughed and said "Charles was rejected from the Army for his eyesight. He won that in a card game years later....he never fought in France....")

Not forgetting your esteemed "Tante Lily", who turned out not to be neither a princess nor a countess (just a patrician), despite being a close friend of an actual grand duchess.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2015, 11:48:10 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 Превед

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Re: A Real Romanov in my town? What do you make of it?
« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2015, 12:35:27 PM »
Furthermore if the man was born in Russia and a Romanov, he would be in most probability Orthodox - and in Orthodox church nobody has more than one given name. So no "Vicktor Maxim".

And he would probably not have been called Victor, as Victor is not a usual Orthodox name. Nikita is the Orthodox equivalent, etymologically. In Imperial times Victor seems to have been used only as an assumed religious name by clerics (monks and bishops). Only after the Revolution did normal people start using it.

Since her daughter gives the information that his adopted / step father was called Maxim Prokofieff it can be assumed that he originally was a Maximovich. Either he shortened the patronyme to a middle name to appear more American or the quite linguistically challenged "claimant" left it as Maxim as he didn't know how Maxim sounded as a patronyme.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2015, 12:52:02 PM by Превед »
Берёзы севера мне милы,—
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

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

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Re: A Real Romanov in my town? What do you make of it?
« Reply #20 on: February 01, 2015, 12:39:05 PM »
Victor Maxim Prokofieff, born Nov. 8, 1890 in St. Petersburg, Russia. He executed a World War I Draft card in June 1917, in his own hand, indicated he had one year service as a Cadet in the Imperial Navy, and he was then working for Curtiss Aviation in Buffalo New York and was married with two children. (so that would make it a tad difficult to have been imprisoned in Peter & Paul Fortress in 1918)
https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-26512-22535-77?cc=1968530

The 1920 US Census lists Victor and Leona Prokofieff living in Wayne Indiana with their 3 month old daughter Victoria, and he stated to the Census that he emigrated to the US in 1914 .  He was working for a manager at a company making springs.  He told the 1930 census he came to the US in 1912.
No mention of the name Romanov in any of these records.

I can find no records of "Victor Prokofieff" receiving a pilot license #123 from the "Imperial Aero Club" at Gatchina.  Igor Sikorsky himself was given license #68 in 1911.


« Last Edit: February 02, 2015, 11:39:17 AM by Forum Admin »

Offline Превед

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Re: A Real Romanov in my town? What do you make of it?
« Reply #21 on: February 01, 2015, 12:55:09 PM »
Interesting tale of a bourgeois who got out of Russia in time, probably made good in the US, and then with time "let" people assume he had come over as part of the often dirt poor, but aristocratic wave of White émigrés.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2015, 12:59:28 PM 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 Georgiy

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Re: A Real Romanov in my town? What do you make of it?
« Reply #22 on: February 02, 2015, 03:04:32 AM »
Viktor may be an uncommon name. but we had a Priest Viktor visit our parish some years ago.

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Re: A Real Romanov in my town? What do you make of it?
« Reply #23 on: February 02, 2015, 12:29:56 PM »
A colorful side note about Victor M. Prokofieff.  According to 1925 newspapers from upstate New York, they were married in 1916 and Victor up and disappeared from his wife and family for over two months in May.  He was "an inventor" and he ended up requesting a divorce after the police started to search for him, and found him hiding out in New York City. It seems they patched things up as they remained married.  Oddly, the newspapers mention he "is credited with inventing The Victor Airplane manufactured by the Albert Tanwick Company"  however there don't seem to be any records of any such airplane or company...


Offline Inok Nikolai

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Re: A Real Romanov in my town? What do you make of it?
« Reply #24 on: February 02, 2015, 03:37:53 PM »
How newspapers wrote their names is beyond my control. Here's the thing, no one in my family ever went around making claims or telling anyone about this. There was no attempt to gain neither status nor money. His story was that his mother, married to Maxim Prokofieff, was one of Alexander III's physicians and conceived a child, my grandfather, with him. I will be the first to admit that he or his mother may have made up the entire thing. I agree, as an illegitimate son, Victor would not be entitled to the title of Grand Duke.

I would love to know the truth, whatever it may be.  I really don't understand the catty insulting replies made to my post. I was hoping someone on here may be able to point me in a research direction, but I suppose I came to the wrong place. I have no admiration of any royal family other than historical interest.  My grandfather, as a White Russian, rebelled against the Czar, and said he spent time in the Peter and Paul Fortress for his "crimes" against the czar. He must have been someone of some import however, because he was given notebooks, writing and art materials. The notebooks are in my possession, each one has a wax stamped seal on the back bearing the prison name. He was well educated, and possessed a pilot's license #123 in the Imperial Aeronautic Club.

Below are some images I have scanned to support the above. Again, I am not making a claim, but I am very curious and wish I knew more. The pencil drawing has been identified by a Russian teacher as a inner courtyard corridor in the Peter and Paul Fortress. Another notebook, not yet scanned, has a pencil the inside of a cell and barred window. Some pages are adorned with hand applied colorful borders and decorations.










 

Well, the handwritten text in Russian on the cover of the notebook reads:

General Notebook No. 2
of Political Prisoner
Victor Prokofiev

Block II, Cell No. 618

********

The seal on the back does contain the word "prison".
The adjective before it might read "Peterburgskoi", but a better copy of a similar seal would help to determine the actual name of the prison and/or its location.

************

As for the other document, it seems to be a passport or visa issued by the Russian authorities in Paris.

The text on the left (in Russian, French, English, German, Italian, and Spanish) reads:

The members of the police force and the civil and military authorities are requested kindly to give their aid and assistance to the holder of this ticket.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2015, 03:43:36 PM by Inok Nikolai »
инок Николай

Offline Inok Nikolai

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Re: A Real Romanov in my town? What do you make of it?
« Reply #25 on: February 02, 2015, 04:13:45 PM »

And he would probably not have been called Victor, as Victor is not a usual Orthodox name. Nikita is the Orthodox equivalent, etymologically. In Imperial times Victor seems to have been used only as an assumed religious name by clerics (monks and bishops). Only after the Revolution did normal people start using it.


Huh?!

A check of any Russian encyclopedia will reveal many prominent Russians named "Victor" prior to the 1917 Revolutions.
E.g.

Prince Victor Kochubei, minister in the Imperial government, born 1768
Victor Yatskevich, government official of the Holy Synod, born 1861
Victor Obninsky, Russian political figure and historian, born 1867
Victor Chernov, Russian political figure and historian, born 1873
Victor Pepliaev, Russian politician, member of the Duma, born 1884
Victor Stanitsyn, Soviet actor, born 1897
Victor Dragunsky, Soviet author, born 1913
инок Николай

Offline Превед

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Re: A Real Romanov in my town? What do you make of it?
« Reply #26 on: February 02, 2015, 05:09:14 PM »
Huh?!

A check of any Russian encyclopedia will reveal many prominent Russians named "Victor" prior to the 1917 Revolutions.
E.g.

Prince Victor Kochubei, minister in the Imperial government, born 1768
Victor Yatskevich, government official of the Holy Synod, born 1861
Victor Obninsky, Russian political figure and historian, born 1867
Victor Chernov, Russian political figure and historian, born 1873
Victor Pepliaev, Russian politician, member of the Duma, born 1884
Victor Stanitsyn, Soviet actor, born 1897
Victor Dragunsky, Soviet author, born 1913


OK, I stand corrected.

Well, the handwritten text in Russian on the cover of the notebook reads:

************

As for the other document, it seems to be a passport or visa issued by the Russian authorities in Paris.

Both from the Imperial and not the Soviet authorities, I presume, from the time slot and the eagles I seem to discern on the seals?
Берёзы севера мне милы,—
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

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

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Re: A Real Romanov in my town? What do you make of it?
« Reply #27 on: February 03, 2015, 09:03:57 AM »
Thank you Inok for the translation.  Family stories are often partially true.  So Victor was obviously not a "White" Russian, but rather anti-Regime, and did something to end up in a prison cell.  This was very likely the cause of his leaving Russia in 1914 just prior to the outbreak of WWI.  Can you make out the last part of his signature under his photo on the passport? I can read the "V. Prokofieff easily, but the second bit is a bit blurred for me.
Something like "g- Ronoff"?? It doesn't seem to say "Romanov" however.



Offline Превед

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Re: A Real Romanov in my town? What do you make of it?
« Reply #28 on: February 03, 2015, 11:17:05 AM »
Can you make out the last part of his signature under his photo on the passport? I can read the "V. Prokofieff easily, but the second bit is a bit blurred for me.
Something like "g- Ronoff"?? It doesn't seem to say "Romanov" however.

It's just "V. Prokofieff" in both Cyrillic and Latin script.
Берёзы севера мне милы,—
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

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

Offline edubs31

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Re: A Real Romanov in my town? What do you make of it?
« Reply #29 on: February 03, 2015, 05:12:59 PM »
A real Romanoff at my doctor's office today! Apparently Nurse Stephanie here is the great-granddaughter of one of the Imperial Grand Duchess's...

Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...