Catalogue Queries

The various polar census expeditions generated an enormous amount of different types of documents which represented northern peoples at the level of their communities and at the level of their households. An important part of our research was cataloguing and cross referencing this rich store of information. Every record was catalogued along nine dimensions, described in the table below.

The catalogue variables are labelled ‘R’ [research] to indicate that they are not raw data but instead often imputed to the forms (especially when information was missing). Researchers are advised that our team has done their best to assign accurate data for the R variables, but they are no replacement for reading the primary material.

In this public version of the catalogue, duplicate records have not been posted. Most census documents were originally filed in triplicate.

Pre-programmed Catalogue Queries

1) Table of classmarks

This query displays for the user a table of classmarks of documents including an indicator of whether or not a document exists in digital format and whether or not it has been entered into the database. Since there are over 5800 records, it is recommended that the user narrow this query by using one of the regional or nationality variables below.

» Global Table of Classmarks Including All Known Material (Mar 2008)

» Table of Classmarks Listing Only Photographed Material

» Table of Classmarks Listing Only Those Household Cards Entered Into the Database (Aug 2006)

When launching any household or individual query, it is important to first narrow your query using the variables in this section.

Variable Description


A composite unique number giving the class mark of the location of the paper document. It also serves as a unique identifier for every page in the records. It gives a 4 letter abbreviation of the archive and then the five-part numerical classification standard for Russian archives (Epoch – Fond – Opis- Delo – List). The list of archives is available in tbldArchive


This is a regional index code which provides the link between documents that describe communities and household level data. By searching using this index term you can print out a list of all documents for a particular place. The regional index code is made up two parts – a two digit number representing the regions (tbldDistrict) and a three digit number, sometimes with a decimal, representing a community (tblsNasMest**)


This is a unique identifier for each document keyed at the community level. It is made up of three parts. The first part is the numeric regional index Rindex. The second part is the two letter description of the document as described below. The third part is a numeric identifier of the households referred to in the document. If the document is a household card, the numeric part is the number of the household printed on the card. If the document is a community level document, the number documents the range of household numbers indexed. The ID Index gives a quick and easy method of grouping documents for one place together.


Nationality. This is a composite, coded value made up by consulting information in the form header representing language, tribal affiliation, sometimes surname, and nationality. The category of nationality was rarely filled in for aboriginal peoples.


This is a text value giving the name of the settlement.


This is a coded value of census regions. A map of numbered census regions is available. The codes for regions are listed here tblsRegion**


This is a coded value giving our attribution of documents to a particular enumerator. The list of enumerators is in tblsRegistrator


The actual date when a document was recorded, or the date that we have attributed to it on the basis of parallel documentation


[Not available on the public website] This gives a composite of name data combining surname, first name, patronymic as well as native name, native surname, and nickname. Our team has selected the best variables to come up with this identifier.

In addition to the substantive catalogue variables, the database also gives several important indicators which describe the information available for particular documents

Variable Description


A binary variable which indicates whether or not a digital photograph exists for a document.


A binary variable which indicates whether or not data has been typed in for a household card. On this public website, queries posted as household or individual level queries automatically select these records.


A binary variable which indicates if a document is a duplicate record. The field aExpemplar further enumerates if the document is the first, second, or third copy. On this public website, duplicate records have been omitted.


This is a text value giving the name of the settlement.

There are two main types of documents for all of the polar census expeditions and five auxiliary document classes which were used in some but not all of the expeditions. These are classified in the index by means of a two-letter abbreviation based on their Russian titles. The main documents are starred below

Abbreviation Description


The household card. This gives basic demographic and economic data on a household and gives detailed demographic information on individuals. Cards often carry qualitative textual information in a special text field. Example


The Community Diary. Arranged in 23 sections, this booklet gives information on geography, economy, social and cultural ritual of a settlement or group of nomadic families. Each diary is keyed to a set of cards. Example


Supplement to the Community Diary. This form, used primarily in Turukhansk and in Murmansk, gives additional details about ethnographic aspects of nomadic families. There is no example of this document


Household Index. This form lists all of the cards completed for a particular community. It was used primarily in the Turukhansk expedition. Example


Hygiene Card. This form gives household-level data for selected households in the Turukhansk expeditions. It was applied to one in five households and records health information. Example


Marriage Card. This form gives household-level data for selected households in the Turukhansk expeditions. It was applied to one in five households and records additional information on kinship links for a conjugal pair. Example


Trade Card. This form surveys prices of trade goods for particular communities. It was used in the Turukhansk and Ural expeditions. Example


Budget Card. In the Ural expedition only, this document gives sample budgets for selected indigenous households. There is no example of this document.