We seek a grant

Restoration of the archival collections

of the State Archives of Abkhazia

THE DOWNFALL AND THE DEGENERATION OF A NATION BEGIN WHEN IT TO ITS GREAT MISFORTUNE, FORGETS ITS OWN HISTORY. ILIA CHAVCHAVADZE

Coordinator: Doctor of history, Professor Rezo Khutsishvili

 

Brief overview of the problem

 

It is common knowledge that for centuries the Georgians and Abkhazians were living peacefully in Georgia, but in 1992 between them a severe military conflict began. As a historian professor Mariam Lordkipanidze writes: “The war in Abkhazia is not one between the Georgians and Abkhazians. It is a war of the ruling Apsua elite, backed by the reactionary circles of Russia”, (Essays on Georgian History, Tbilisi 1994, p. 209).

 

We are credibly informed that the war resulted in significant damage to the state archives and archival materials in Abkhazia (The Archives of Georgia, Tbilisi 2000, p. 69). Archivists from the capital city of Abkhazia pointed out that the Central State Archive in Sokhumi was entirely destroyed and the archival collections were annihilated by fire in 1992. It had been impossible to evacuate the archival documents, partly because of the scale of the problem and partly because transport conveys were liable to attack.

 

Thus, during the severe military conflict in Abkhazia part of our nation’s written heritage was almost totally destroyed.

 

The State Archival Department of Abkhazia was in charge the central state archive of Sokhumi, which was founded in 1929 and also of Gagra, Gali, Gudautha, Gulripshi, Ochamchire and Tkvarcheli regional state archives. In the central state archive of Sokhumi there were kept documents dating from 1840 to 1990. The archive held the paper collections and photo documents which contained historical acts, collections of the state institutions. Industrial associations, military bodies, factories, scientific, cultural and research institutions, private collections, etc. 679 collections of the archive held about 176 000 items.

 

The goals and tasks of the project

 

The immediate goal of this project is to restore the archival collections of the Central State Archive of Abkhazia, as much as possible, through of copies from the central state archives of Georgia. Georgia’s rich archival collections include different records providing very significant information on history of Abkhazia. The records make an incomparable source for restoring not only the documents of destroyed Abkhazian archival collections, but also allow us to re-establish the central state archive in Sokhumi in the future.

 

In order to better understand the importance of the above-mentioned goals, we must keep in mind the fact that about ten years ago the State Archival Service of Russia conducted such kind of work in Russia. That is how spoke about this action official representative of the Russian Archives V. Tarasov in Beijing for the XIII-th International Congress on Arcgives in 1996: “The effectiveness of such co-operation – he spoke on international actions to save archives – was demonstrated by the efforts to restore the archival fonds of the State Historical Archives of Abkhazia, which were almost totally destroyed by fire in October 1992. The administration of the archival authority of Abkhazia turned to the State Archival Service of Russia with a request to restore, even if only partially, the fonds destroyed by fire. In response, the federal archival institutions of Russia identified archival materials in their holdings relating to Abkhazia. Such documents were located in virtually all federal archives and centers of preservation of documentation in Russia. The matter of copying these materials is being presently considered with a view to restoring the archival fonds of Abkhazia at least in part, though the provision of copies. Also scientific and methodological aids, needed by Abkhazia archivists, have been identified for delivery to Abkhazia”, (Archivum, Vol. XLIII, K. A. Saur Munchen 1997, p. 95).

 

This quotation demonstrates and we think that such a work needs to be done without fail in the State Archives of Georgia as well, because here are comparatively rich and reliable documents about history of Abkhazia. Of course it is impossible to imagine the State Archives of Abkhazia without Georgian sources on history of this part of our country. Also, we suppose that these works should be of great interest to the Abkhazian refugees, because of they will be able to find out in this archive their genealogical records, references on their places of work, certificates about property of their lands, houses, rights and so on, which will be necessary for the refugees to restore the legal rights in Abkhazia in the future.

 

For execution the aforesaid work the first task of the project staff will be identification of the archival collections in the Central State Archives of Georgia. We should know which of archival holdings might contain information on peoples genealogy or history of Abkhazia. Classifying the collections, which we need for our topic, without such previous analysis would be both difficult and inadequate.

 

The second task is the definition of files and consequently the documents because of there are no clear definition or regulations covering the records. We think that there are three fundamental ways for the works to use:

1. To study the different archival documentary series in order to access their value as evidence for the genealogy or history of Abkhazia;

2. To make a list of files concerned with the topic with the aim of discern these from the rest of the archival documents;

3. To provide the records with a title, because many of them haven’t the titles at all and which have, those are not proper or incompetent.

 

The third important task to be accomplished by our project staff working with the archival records of Abkhazia is the question of their classification or grouping thematically and chronological. The point is that thematic and chronologies are the bread and butter for making the archival inventories.

 

The fourth task is a copying all the researched documents (including audio-visual documents on CD), binding and putting them in the containers (boxes) to keep them in a fixed order in the repository of the Georgian State Archives in Tbilisi until the collections are returned to Abkhazia. We think that the latter action will take place after completion the conflict in Abkhazia and restoration there the Central State Archive.

 

Project staff, budget and terms

 

Coordinator Professor Rezo Khutsishvili--------------------$400 x 12

Scholar-Consultant Professor G. Shengelia------------------$350 x 12

Researcher from archive of Abkhazia N. Berulava---------$200 x 12

Computer specialist George Kakabadze-----------------------$600

Translator for inventories---------------------------------------$1.000

Copying works----------------------------------------------------$1.000

Boxes production for the holdings-----------------------------$500

Computer purchase-----------------------------------------------$1000

 

Total project costs--------------$14.300

 

Given such a staff, equipment and budget, we suppose the work could take one year to complete. 

'

Project I

 

Encyclopedia of Georgian Genealogy

Abstract

 

This project traces its roots to the high scientific urgency of Georgian genealogical studies and its traditions, where the histories of surnames and genealogical researches take one of the particular places. Moreover, like every nations, for the Georgians it is stipulated by the knowledge of its own surnames and ancestors history which has a significant ideological and elucidative role; hence it has a great national and patriotic importance. Furthermore, we have to say that there are no words to describe what a great respect and love has everyone to his/her surname or ancestors; consequently there is a great interest to this subject, etc.

 

It is well known that ‘surname’ is an original live history, a hereditary name of the family, an initial group of society i. e. it is an inseparable and fundamental part of nation. At the same time surname points out the dignity and nature of person, it is fairly used to give an idea of one’s personality, for example, it is said that this man has a good or bad family name, etc.   

 

In the Georgian genealogical, historical or literature works as well as in folklore, art and so on, we often meet the different interesting ideas about a sense of surname and person. Their quotation would take up here a lot of place therefore we cite just a saying of prominent Georgian writer Alexander Qhazbegi which he tells us in his work “Gocha the foreman of a gorge”. When the foreman was sending his only son Onise to defend a homeland, his patriotic feeling and main accent was directed at dignity of his surname: “Remember where your surname from is!”          

 

Thus, it is one of the urgent problems to study history of the Georgian family names and genealogical researches, as well as widespread adoption of their scientific results in the large sections of the public.  We think that the best way for achieving the purposes would be preparation of the genealogical encyclopedia and in the first instance its on-line version. Afterwards, within the limits of the possible we can think about its publication as the books. Despite there are already exist some books on history of Georgian surnames (see below about them) such kind of encyclopedia is not published in our country so far. 

 

Background and Current state of research

 

Scientific studies and researches on Georgian genealogy have old traditions. As early as XVIII century famous Georgian geographer, historian and cartographer Vakhushti Batonishvili (1696-1757) near the year 1745 completed his unique work, which he titled: "Description of the Georgian Kingdom". The work comprised the lists about the Georgian noble family names (‘Qarthlis Tskhovreba, v. IV, Tbilisi 1973, pp. 27, 33-37). Also, "Brief description of surnames of the Georgian nobility" of the well-known Georgian statesman, writer and scientist Ioane Batonishvili (1768-1830) is one of the important sources for making a close study of the origin and history of the Georgian surnames. It comprises an etymology of over 300 noble surnames of the Kingdom of Georgia, their social status, etc.

 

Later, there was made a valuable contribution to this field by the great Ivane Javakhishvili, Platon Ioseliani, Eqvthime Thaqhaishvili, Thedo Sakhokia, especially by Sargis Kakabadze. Considerably had been grown and improved this field from the second half of the last century when in the walk of life appeared the following professors: Olgha Soselia, Alexander Qhlonti, Ilia Maisuradze, etc. Hereby, we have to mention that it is already several ten years since these scientists are successfully researching Georgian genealogy: Yuri Chiqovani, Zurab Tchumburidze, Jacob Akhuashvili, Roland Thophchishvili and others. We don’t refer there works here due to they are published on our web-site.

 

As for the main topic of our project i. e. encyclopedia of Georgian genealogy and its on-line version, as we said above, it is not exist at all.    

 

Basic objectives

 

The immediate objective of our project is to improve Georgian genealogical researches and studies on a level with the highest word standards, subsequently their popularization on-line and other means of communication. By providing encyclopedic information to interested society in this field, this project will be the progressive step both in genealogical science and national informatics, which will also support more widely entering our country in the international scene. Certainly, for realization these objectives it is desirable (if not necessary) to publish our encyclopedia in two languages – Georgian and English.        

 

In spite of our project imply to create the encyclopedia about all of the Georgian historic-social family names (prince – ‘thavadi’, petty noble – ‘aznauri’, peasant – ‘glekhi’, clergy – ‘sasuliero’…) in the first stage we are going to begin and prepare the electronic version just on Georgian nobility. The reason is that to conduct the simultaneous research, printing, editing, etc, encyclopedic history on all Georgian surnames, we suppose is almost impossible due to it demands plenty of time, energy and even charges. Therefore, we prefer to divide the works in three parts/stages. So, in the first part of the encyclopedia we will include all surnames of the Georgian princes i. e. title of the first part will be ‘The Georgian princes’.

 

Preparation of the 1st part

 

Initially we will collect materials about the surnames of the Georgian princes. Some information on the subject is already published in the works of different scholars, for instance: O. Soselia,s essays on Georgia’s social-political history; Y. Chiqovani’s serial books on ‘The Georgian nobility’; his and I. Bitchiashvili’s other works; G. Othkhmezuri’s works on the Georgian feudal family history; I, Akhuashvili’s books about the Gelovanis and the Dgebuadzes; T. Mibchuani’s book about the Abkhaz Kings and princes, etc. Furthermore, we have had the certain electronic base/historic materials on this topic which are published on our web-site ‘Georgian genealogy’. Special attention should be paid to research new archival records or other materials (including illustrations) on the subject. 

It should be observed as well about the encyclopedia’s content, form and volume. We are going to introduce there history of all surnames, their genealogical maps/tables and illustrations (photos and coat of arms). Content and form of the articles must be true to type of encyclopedia i. e. there will be inscribed the essential matters and facts. As to the volume, we think to estimate one article at 5-10 pages.                                                                 

 

Initially this project will be published on our web-site ‘Georgian Genealogy’ (it may be advertised via televisions, web-sites and other mass media). On the web-site will be placed the alphabetical list of the Georgian noble family names (about 105 surnames), which will gradually include new articles on the topic, and customers can see the encyclopedia through and get partial information until ending the project.  

 

Finally, for the purpose of putting our project into effect we need a grant. At this point it should be mentioned that we did not approach any other fund for such a grant.

 

Project staff, budget and term

 

In the project staff will be ten people:

 

  1. Coordinator, professor Rezo Khutsishvili----------------------------$300 x 12=3.600
  2. Supervisor of studies, academician Yuri Chiqovani----------------- $300 x 12=3.600
  3. Researcher, D. Tsereteli----------------------------------------------$200 x 12=2.400
  4. Researcher, assoc. professor George Lorthqiphanidze---------------$200 x 12=2.400
  5. Researcher, assoc. professor Merab Kezevazde-----------------------$150 x 12=1.800
  6. Researcher- bibliographer Anna Amiridze---------------------------$150 x 12=1.800
  7. Researcher – archivist Vladimir Mirotadze--------------------------$150 x 12=1.800
  8. Translators: T. Ujmajuridze, M. Siradze----------------------------700pp. x $8=5.600
  9. Computer specialist---------------------------------------------------$100 x 12=1.000

 

Total project costs ------------------------------------------------------------- $24.000

 

Given such a staff, computer, printer and the following budget, we suppose the work could take one year to complete. Total volume of the first part of the encyclopedia will be about 700 pages.

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Restoration of the archival collections

of the State Archives of Abkhazia

THE DOWNFALL AND THE DEGENERATION OF A NATION BEGIN WHEN IT TO ITS GREAT MISFORTUNE, FORGETS ITS OWN HISTORY. ILIA CHAVCHAVADZE

Coordinator: Doctor of history, Professor Rezo Khutsishvili

 

Brief overview of the problem

 

It is common knowledge that for centuries the Georgians and Abkhazians were living peacefully in Georgia, but in 1992 between them a severe military conflict began. As a historian professor Mariam Lordkipanidze writes: “The war in Abkhazia is not one between the Georgians and Abkhazians. It is a war of the ruling Apsua elite, backed by the reactionary circles of Russia”, (Essays on Georgian History, Tbilisi 1994, p. 209).

 

We are credibly informed that the war resulted in significant damage to the state archives and archival materials in Abkhazia (The Archives of Georgia, Tbilisi 2000, p. 69). Archivists from the capital city of Abkhazia pointed out that the Central State Archive in Sokhumi was entirely destroyed and the archival collections were annihilated by fire in 1992. It had been impossible to evacuate the archival documents, partly because of the scale of the problem and partly because transport conveys were liable to attack.

 

Thus, during the severe military conflict in Abkhazia part of our nation’s written heritage was almost totally destroyed.

 

The State Archival Department of Abkhazia was in charge the central state archive of Sokhumi, which was founded in 1929 and also of Gagra, Gali, Gudautha, Gulripshi, Ochamchire and Tkvarcheli regional state archives. In the central state archive of Sokhumi there were kept documents dating from 1840 to 1990. The archive held the paper collections and photo documents which contained historical acts, collections of the state institutions. Industrial associations, military bodies, factories, scientific, cultural and research institutions, private collections, etc. 679 collections of the archive held about 176 000 items.

 

The goals and tasks of the project

 

The immediate goal of this project is to restore the archival collections of the Central State Archive of Abkhazia, as much as possible, through of copies from the central state archives of Georgia. Georgia’s rich archival collections include different records providing very significant information on history of Abkhazia. The records make an incomparable source for restoring not only the documents of destroyed Abkhazian archival collections, but also allow us to re-establish the central state archive in Sokhumi in the future.

 

In order to better understand the importance of the above-mentioned goals, we must keep in mind the fact that about ten years ago the State Archival Service of Russia conducted such kind of work in Russia. That is how spoke about this action official representative of the Russian Archives V. Tarasov in Beijing for the XIII-th International Congress on Arcgives in 1996: “The effectiveness of such co-operation – he spoke on international actions to save archives – was demonstrated by the efforts to restore the archival fonds of the State Historical Archives of Abkhazia, which were almost totally destroyed by fire in October 1992. The administration of the archival authority of Abkhazia turned to the State Archival Service of Russia with a request to restore, even if only partially, the fonds destroyed by fire. In response, the federal archival institutions of Russia identified archival materials in their holdings relating to Abkhazia. Such documents were located in virtually all federal archives and centers of preservation of documentation in Russia. The matter of copying these materials is being presently considered with a view to restoring the archival fonds of Abkhazia at least in part, though the provision of copies. Also scientific and methodological aids, needed by Abkhazia archivists, have been identified for delivery to Abkhazia”, (Archivum, Vol. XLIII, K. A. Saur Munchen 1997, p. 95).

 

This quotation demonstrates and we think that such a work needs to be done without fail in the State Archives of Georgia as well, because here are comparatively rich and reliable documents about history of Abkhazia. Of course it is impossible to imagine the State Archives of Abkhazia without Georgian sources on history of this part of our country. Also, we suppose that these works should be of great interest to the Abkhazian refugees, because of they will be able to find out in this archive their genealogical records, references on their places of work, certificates about property of their lands, houses, rights and so on, which will be necessary for the refugees to restore the legal rights in Abkhazia in the future.

 

For execution the aforesaid work the first task of the project staff will be identification of the archival collections in the Central State Archives of Georgia. We should know which of archival holdings might contain information on peoples genealogy or history of Abkhazia. Classifying the collections, which we need for our topic, without such previous analysis would be both difficult and inadequate.

 

The second task is the definition of files and consequently the documents because of there are no clear definition or regulations covering the records. We think that there are three fundamental ways for the works to use:

1. To study the different archival documentary series in order to access their value as evidence for the genealogy or history of Abkhazia;

2. To make a list of files concerned with the topic with the aim of discern these from the rest of the archival documents;

3. To provide the records with a title, because many of them haven’t the titles at all and which have, those are not proper or incompetent.

 

The third important task to be accomplished by our project staff working with the archival records of Abkhazia is the question of their classification or grouping thematically and chronological. The point is that thematic and chronologies are the bread and butter for making the archival inventories.

 

The fourth task is a copying all the researched documents (including audio-visual documents on CD), binding and putting them in the containers (boxes) to keep them in a fixed order in the repository of the Georgian State Archives in Tbilisi until the collections are returned to Abkhazia. We think that the latter action will take place after completion the conflict in Abkhazia and restoration there the Central State Archive.

 

Project staff, budget and terms

 

Coordinator Professor Rezo Khutsishvili--------------------$400 x 12

Scholar-Consultant Professor G. Shengelia------------------$350 x 12

Researcher from archive of Abkhazia N. Berulava---------$200 x 12

Computer specialist George Kakabadze-----------------------$600

Translator for inventories---------------------------------------$1.000

Copying works----------------------------------------------------$1.000

Boxes production for the holdings-----------------------------$500

Computer purchase-----------------------------------------------$1000

 

Total project costs--------------$14.300

 

Given such a staff, equipment and budget, we suppose the work could take one year to complete. 

'

Project I

 

Encyclopedia of Georgian Genealogy

Abstract

 

This project traces its roots to the high scientific urgency of Georgian genealogical studies and its traditions, where the histories of surnames and genealogical researches take one of the particular places. Moreover, like every nations, for the Georgians it is stipulated by the knowledge of its own surnames and ancestors history which has a significant ideological and elucidative role; hence it has a great national and patriotic importance. Furthermore, we have to say that there are no words to describe what a great respect and love has everyone to his/her surname or ancestors; consequently there is a great interest to this subject, etc.

 

It is well known that ‘surname’ is an original live history, a hereditary name of the family, an initial group of society i. e. it is an inseparable and fundamental part of nation. At the same time surname points out the dignity and nature of person, it is fairly used to give an idea of one’s personality, for example, it is said that this man has a good or bad family name, etc.   

 

In the Georgian genealogical, historical or literature works as well as in folklore, art and so on, we often meet the different interesting ideas about a sense of surname and person. Their quotation would take up here a lot of place therefore we cite just a saying of prominent Georgian writer Alexander Qhazbegi which he tells us in his work “Gocha the foreman of a gorge”. When the foreman was sending his only son Onise to defend a homeland, his patriotic feeling and main accent was directed at dignity of his surname: “Remember where your surname from is!”          

 

Thus, it is one of the urgent problems to study history of the Georgian family names and genealogical researches, as well as widespread adoption of their scientific results in the large sections of the public.  We think that the best way for achieving the purposes would be preparation of the genealogical encyclopedia and in the first instance its on-line version. Afterwards, within the limits of the possible we can think about its publication as the books. Despite there are already exist some books on history of Georgian surnames (see below about them) such kind of encyclopedia is not published in our country so far. 

 

Background and Current state of research

 

Scientific studies and researches on Georgian genealogy have old traditions. As early as XVIII century famous Georgian geographer, historian and cartographer Vakhushti Batonishvili (1696-1757) near the year 1745 completed his unique work, which he titled: "Description of the Georgian Kingdom". The work comprised the lists about the Georgian noble family names (‘Qarthlis Tskhovreba, v. IV, Tbilisi 1973, pp. 27, 33-37). Also, "Brief description of surnames of the Georgian nobility" of the well-known Georgian statesman, writer and scientist Ioane Batonishvili (1768-1830) is one of the important sources for making a close study of the origin and history of the Georgian surnames. It comprises an etymology of over 300 noble surnames of the Kingdom of Georgia, their social status, etc.

 

Later, there was made a valuable contribution to this field by the great Ivane Javakhishvili, Platon Ioseliani, Eqvthime Thaqhaishvili, Thedo Sakhokia, especially by Sargis Kakabadze. Considerably had been grown and improved this field from the second half of the last century when in the walk of life appeared the following professors: Olgha Soselia, Alexander Qhlonti, Ilia Maisuradze, etc. Hereby, we have to mention that it is already several ten years since these scientists are successfully researching Georgian genealogy: Yuri Chiqovani, Zurab Tchumburidze, Jacob Akhuashvili, Roland Thophchishvili and others. We don’t refer there works here due to they are published on our web-site.

 

As for the main topic of our project i. e. encyclopedia of Georgian genealogy and its on-line version, as we said above, it is not exist at all.    

 

Basic objectives

 

The immediate objective of our project is to improve Georgian genealogical researches and studies on a level with the highest word standards, subsequently their popularization on-line and other means of communication. By providing encyclopedic information to interested society in this field, this project will be the progressive step both in genealogical science and national informatics, which will also support more widely entering our country in the international scene. Certainly, for realization these objectives it is desirable (if not necessary) to publish our encyclopedia in two languages – Georgian and English.        

 

In spite of our project imply to create the encyclopedia about all of the Georgian historic-social family names (prince – ‘thavadi’, petty noble – ‘aznauri’, peasant – ‘glekhi’, clergy – ‘sasuliero’…) in the first stage we are going to begin and prepare the electronic version just on Georgian nobility. The reason is that to conduct the simultaneous research, printing, editing, etc, encyclopedic history on all Georgian surnames, we suppose is almost impossible due to it demands plenty of time, energy and even charges. Therefore, we prefer to divide the works in three parts/stages. So, in the first part of the encyclopedia we will include all surnames of the Georgian princes i. e. title of the first part will be ‘The Georgian princes’.

 

Preparation of the 1st part

 

Initially we will collect materials about the surnames of the Georgian princes. Some information on the subject is already published in the works of different scholars, for instance: O. Soselia,s essays on Georgia’s social-political history; Y. Chiqovani’s serial books on ‘The Georgian nobility’; his and I. Bitchiashvili’s other works; G. Othkhmezuri’s works on the Georgian feudal family history; I, Akhuashvili’s books about the Gelovanis and the Dgebuadzes; T. Mibchuani’s book about the Abkhaz Kings and princes, etc. Furthermore, we have had the certain electronic base/historic materials on this topic which are published on our web-site ‘Georgian genealogy’. Special attention should be paid to research new archival records or other materials (including illustrations) on the subject. 

It should be observed as well about the encyclopedia’s content, form and volume. We are going to introduce there history of all surnames, their genealogical maps/tables and illustrations (photos and coat of arms). Content and form of the articles must be true to type of encyclopedia i. e. there will be inscribed the essential matters and facts. As to the volume, we think to estimate one article at 5-10 pages.                                                                 

 

Initially this project will be published on our web-site ‘Georgian Genealogy’ (it may be advertised via televisions, web-sites and other mass media). On the web-site will be placed the alphabetical list of the Georgian noble family names (about 105 surnames), which will gradually include new articles on the topic, and customers can see the encyclopedia through and get partial information until ending the project.  

 

Finally, for the purpose of putting our project into effect we need a grant. At this point it should be mentioned that we did not approach any other fund for such a grant.

 

Project staff, budget and term

 

In the project staff will be ten people:

 

  1. Coordinator, professor Rezo Khutsishvili----------------------------$300 x 12=3.600
  2. Supervisor of studies, academician Yuri Chiqovani----------------- $300 x 12=3.600
  3. Researcher, D. Tsereteli----------------------------------------------$200 x 12=2.400
  4. Researcher, assoc. professor George Lorthqiphanidze---------------$200 x 12=2.400
  5. Researcher, assoc. professor Merab Kezevazde-----------------------$150 x 12=1.800
  6. Researcher- bibliographer Anna Amiridze---------------------------$150 x 12=1.800
  7. Researcher – archivist Vladimir Mirotadze--------------------------$150 x 12=1.800
  8. Translators: T. Ujmajuridze, M. Siradze----------------------------700pp. x $8=5.600
  9. Computer specialist---------------------------------------------------$100 x 12=1.000

 

Total project costs ------------------------------------------------------------- $24.000

 

Given such a staff, computer, printer and the following budget, we suppose the work could take one year to complete. Total volume of the first part of the encyclopedia will be about 700 pages.