Of the Romanov family, there were four “clans”, each descended from one of the four sons of Tsar Nicholas I:
- The Vladimirovichi (Grand Duke Vladimir Nikolaevich)
- The Mikhailovichi (Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolaevich)
- The Constantinovichi (Grand Duke Constantine Nikolaevich)
- The Alexandrovichi (Alexander II, Alexander Nikolaevich)
The ruling clan from 1855 to 1917 was the Alexandrovichi- Tsars Alexander II his son Alexander III and the last Tsar Nicholas II.
The children of the Tsar take upon their father’s name with either ‘evna’ for girls or ‘vich’ for boys. This literally means “daughter of” and “son of” So if we consider Tsar Alexander III’s first son, the future Nicholas II, Nicholas was born Nikolai Alexandrovich Romanov. His sister Xenia was born Xenia Alexandrovna Romanova, Xenia, daughter of Alexander.
Families in Russia, and those widespread over Europe and Asia, still use this system to this day, usually calling their children with both their first name and patronymic (which acts as a sort of middle name). Currently in Iceland, the Patronymic is favored over the family (last) name.
When it came to wives, because of the close-relatedness of the four clans, sometimes it became difficult to marry someone who was not your immediate first cousin (frowned upon by the church). For hundreds of years, the solution to this was to marry a foreign Princess. Because these girls were not Russian, and usually their father’s didn’t possess Russian-sounding names, they adopted the patronymic Feodorovna. This stems from the icon saint Feodorovskaya Theotokos, with which they were baptised when (if) they converted to Russian Orthodoxy.
(It was compulsory for future Tsarinas to convert, but only recommended for Grand Duchesses).
Usually the patronymics make it easier to distinguish between close cousins, e.g., Georgy Alexandrovich was the son of Alexander III, while George Mikhailovich was the son of Mikhail Nikolaevich.
I hope that clears a bit up for some who sit there and wonder, what the hell those crazy Russians were thinking with their strange names.
Here you go guys, the source of all those lovely (and rare) photos that I’ve been posting for the past few days. Enjoy!
Ok guys, one more awesome blog to add to the list: http://withgodshelp.tumblr.com/
Ok anon,this is a repost and more blogs need to be added to this list (namely godsavethetsar’s sister, I can’t find the link), but for now you can check this ones out. No specific order:
Essentially a holy book for all Russian language learners, available for free online here.
“A Comprehensive Russian Grammar” provides a definitive guide to current Russian usage, taking many of its examples from the press and contemporary literary sources. Since it was first published in 1992, the book has become the standard reference work for students and professionals alike and is used as the basis for Russian language teaching across the English-speaking world.
Oh my god how I’ve tried to lay my hands on this book, спасибо вам!