Distortions of Pedigrees by Descendants of Bishops' Servants when Approving Nobility by Birth

Print PDF

УДК 94(47) + 929

DOI 10.28995/2073-0101-2019-2-572-582

Andrei V. Matison

Central State Archive of the City of Moscow, Moscow, Russian Federation

Distortions of Pedigrees by Descendants of Bishops' Servants when Approving Nobility by Birth


Falsifications of noble pedigrees have repeatedly been subject of historical studies, but researchers have not yet turned to the study of similar falsifications made by bishops’ servants and their descendants. Due to uncertainty of their social status, representatives of bishops’ boyar scions and ministry clerks made every effort to establish their nobility by birth. However, not many could apply for integration into gentlefolk. At the same time, their descendants, having gained the right to receive hereditary titles through military service, nevertheless, were at pains to achieve affiliation to “ancient” nobility to have the right to include their names in the part 6 of the gubernia genealogical books. This article describes two cases: distortion and outright falsification of private pedigrees made in the late 18th century by descendants of the Tver bishop's house servants when approving their nobility. In the first case, the great-grandson of the bishop's dyak, collegiate assessor Peter Posnikov only maintained his ancestors’ “ancient” nobility. In the second case, the descendant of the bishop’s boyar scions, collegiate assessor Nikita Voronov directly falsified his pedigree by “reading” it from homonimous nobles of Vologda. Posnikov failed to achieve his affiliation to the “ancient” nobility. Voronov’s fabricated evidence was judged convincing, and he and his family were mentioned in the part 6 of the genealogy book of the Tver guberbia and later recognized as “ancient” nobility by the Senate. In order to investigate Posnikov and Voronov’s claims to nobility, the author has studied the materials of the Tver Gubernia Noble Assembly of Deputies. To establish their original pedigree, the materials of scribe and census descriptions, as well as office documentation of the Tver bishop's house, have been used. Both cases are illustrative of how the descendants of the bishops' servants pursued their desire to achieve affiliation to “ancient” nobility.


Sources, nobility, bishops' servants, falsification of pedigrees, 18th century, Tver Bishop's house.

Download the article: matison_doi


GNEVASHEV, D. E. Dvor vologodskogo arkhiepiskopa v XVII v. [The court of the Archbishop of Vologda in the 17th century. In Russ.]. IN: Regionai’nye aspekty istoricheskogo puti pravoslaviya: arkhivy, istochniki, metodologiya issledovanii: materialy mezhregional’noi nauchnoi konferentsii [Regional aspects of the historical development of the Orthodoxy: Archives, sources, research methodology: Materials of the transregional scientific conference]. Issue 7: Istoricheskoe kraevedenie i arkhivy [Local history and archives]. Vologda, 2001, pp. 139-149.

POKROVSKII, I. M. Kazanskii arkhiereiskii dom, ego sredstva i shtaty, preimushchestvenno do 1764 goda [Kazan bishop's house, its funds and staff, mainly until 1764. In Russ.]. Kazan, Tsentral’naya tipografiya publ., 1906, 308 p.

SAVELOV, L. M. Lektsii po russkoi genealogii, chitannye v Moskovskom arheologicheskom institute [Lectures on Russian genealogy given at the Moscow Archeaological Institute. In Russ.]. Moscow, Arkheograficheskii tsentr publ., 1994 [reprint of the book 1908], 303 p.

About author

Matison Andrej Victorovich, PhD in History, Central State Archive of the City of Moscow, sector head, Russian Federation, +7-916-537-75-74, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Submitted 31.12.2018, published (for Citation):

MATISON, A. V. Iskazheniya rodoslovnykh potomkami arkhiereiskikh sluzhitelei pri utverzhdenii v potomstvennom dvoryanstve [Distortions of Pedigrees by Descendants of Bishops' Servants when Approving Nobility by Birth. In Russ.]. IN: Vestnik arhivista / Herald of an Archivist, 2019, no. 2, pp. 572-582. doi 10.28995/2073-0101-2019-2-572-582

You can read completely article in the russian historic-archival magazine “The Herald of an Archivist”. Read more about terms of subscription here.

Полностью материал публикуется в российском историко-архивоведческом журнале ВЕСТНИК АРХИВИСТА. Ознакомьтесь с условиями подписки здесь.