I am not sure if this topic is still active but if it is, I would be most great-full for any information on my forebears who although were English, came to New Zealand in 1858 after having been born in Russia. Like many posters to this forum, it has always been a mystery as to what they were doing there.
My great grandfather, William Champion Hide was born in St. Petersburg on 26 September 1885 only a few years before his parents left for New Zealand via England in 1857. We have a certified copy of his baptismal certificate from the Church of the British Factory in St Petersburg. His father, William Richard Hide was also born in St. Petersburg on 30 July, 1829 and he married Agnes Champion in St. Petersburg on 12 June 1853.
It appears they traveled to New Zealand as a result of a long association with George Glenny, also residing in St Petersburg who had been communicating with his nephews who had already come out to New Zealand to look at the possibilities of the new country. The Hides (Hydes) joined the Glennys in a farming venture on their arrival in New Zealand. The family history is largely known from the time they arrived in New Zealand but it is the time before then that is unknown.
The only clue we have as to what they may have been doing in Russia is a statement by my grand-father that they had something to do with the Russian Mint but what, no-one knows. After coming to new Zealand, the family name changed from Hide to Hyde.
if anyone has records of British subjects in St Ptersburgh or may have family connections with any of the above mentioned names, I would be most interested. I am sure as one poster has already suggested, a fascinating film could be made on this subject.