Few people realize that guides to archival collections are sources that can be utilized effectively to obtain biographical information. At the very least, when a guide describes the personal collections that are held in a particular archive, it gives birth and death dates and a brief characterization of the individual. At best the guides give detailed information about a person and his or her significance as well as data about the holdings in the collection. It makes sense, when you think about it. If an archive possesses the papers of a human being, why not try to describe the collection for researchers and record the importance of the individual to history? Be sure to look at the indexes provided at the back of each guide in case they include references to individuals. Below are links to descriptions of archive guides from the various countries of Eastern Europe. No attempt has been made to give a comprehensive list of archive guides available for all places. We list only a few that are pertinent to biographical research or which can serve as examples of the utility of archive guides as biographical tools.
For information about Russian archival resources in general see the following page: Russian Archival Resources. This page is the introduction to a series of pages devoted to various aspects of Russian archival research and sources.