Researchers seek connections to family histories of the Commander Islands
The Museum of the Aleutians’ is working on a project Family Mosaics: Reconnecting family histories and genealogies of Unangan People of the Commander Islands and the indigenous people of south-western Alaska, funded through the National Park Service Shared Beringian Heritage Program. This project goals are to increase knowledge about historic connections and family ties between the people of the Commander Islands and indigenous Alaskan communities of the Aleutian Islands and Kodiak archipelago, to re-energize inter-personal and inter-agency exchange between them, and to create engaging and lasting resources and mechanisms for preserving, sharing, and expanding this important cultural knowledge. The outcome will update existing Commander Island family history datasets with information from US archival sources and family histories, to create an exhibition, interactive elements, and online portals for this information, and a book with the results of the project.
Russian researcher, Natalia Tatarenkova, has compiled a complete list of last names of all Commander Islands Aleuts (see below) and created tables of genealogical data for these families based on documents in the Russian archives. US archival documents have not yet been consulted with the exception of documents from the Russian-American Company period, which may be incomplete. This project will incorporate these US resources.
A Complete list of Commander Islands Aleut names that make an appearance in the 19th century documents includes 58 surnames. Tatarenkova has started to draft the family and personal histories for some of these (see names in blue font).
Kontuyak=Seleznev (Контуйак = Селезнёв)
Kulikalov = Ishkhu, Iskuk (Куликалов = Ишку, Искух)
Nozhikov/ Nozikov (Ножиков/Нозиков),
Udachin (Kamchadal family) (Удачин)
Shangin = Pazhuk (Шангин = Пажук)
We are requesting that people who are from the Aleutian Island region and other parts of southwest Alaska review this list of names, and let us know if you have any connection to these families. We would like to include as many cross connections between the Commanders and southwest Alaska as we can find. Please let us know by email email@example.com or by calling the Museum at 907-581-5150 and asking for Thomas or Virginia.