|Natalia E. Kotelnikova, Cand. of Geol.-Mineral. Sci.
Russian State Library (RSL)
More then 20 years She was the Chief of department of Cartographic Publications.
Now She is main specialist working with written maps and atlases in the Manuscript department of the RSL.
Land surveying plans in the stocks
of the manuscript department of the Russian state library in Moscow
Russian state library
The manuscript department of the Russian state library in Moscow is in possession of a unique collection, uniting both archival materials and handwritten books, musical scores, maps. In compliance with the make-up the map materials come under either the stocks of solitary accessions or personal collections, which complicates their search.
Handwritten map materials in need of scientific study, description and organization have been identified among unprocessed archival items of the department. They are maps, plans, atlases, drawings, profiles. They are stamped with subject variety in that there are general geographic maps, topographic maps, maps and plans of towns and fortresses, hydrographic, historical, ethnographic maps among them. Dating from the period of the 18th century to the beginning of the 20th century, they are a splendid asset in exploring the history of the development of the Russian cartography. Proprietary land surveying plans take a pride of place among the given map materials.
In Russia the land surveying looks back upon a long history. In his writings P. Ivanov has given a detailed account of these roots. In his opinion “everywhere where societies settled and made themselves comfortable the landed property formed” (1846). He divides the history of the land surveying in Russia into three spans of time namely the first, from hoary times to the government of Peter the first (the scribe period), second, from the government of Peter the first to the accession to the throne of Catherine the second and, third, after the accession to the throne of Catherine the second. The blossom of the general land surveying took place under Catherine the second. That explains itself by the accession of the manifesto of the general land surveying. The manifesto abolished the check-up of the legal right to the lands. All that was required was the consolidation of the existing boundaries by fixing them (Postnikov, 1989).
From 1766 on the land surveying spread widely in the provinces and by 1796 the land surveying was completed in 22 provinces. By the end of 1880ies the archives of the land surveying office contained 195375 plans of deeds of transfer covering the total area of 272 million dessiatinas (German, 1910).
The library received land surveying plans together with the archives of celebrities. Handling the plans was a complicated occupation and so they were taken out of the archives and put in separate folders. Consequently their description was delayed for a long time.
Unprocessed land surveying plans belonged to the Rumyantsev, Bobrinsky, Sokovnin, Norov, Vasilchikov, Tolstoy families renowned in Russia.
In the course of the investigation of the unprocessed land surveying plans I picked out a collection of land surveying plans of the possessions of the Bobrinsky-Sokovnins which was small in number to wit 27 items. The Bobrinsky kin and the Sokovnin kin were well known in Russia. The Sokovnin family hailed from Prussia, wherefrom their ancestor moved to Muscovy to the grand duke Ivan Vasilyevich. After baptism in 1558 he was named Fedor Ivanovich (Noble families … 1890). The Bobrinsky family had no history of such a long duration. It was directly connected with the imperial family in that count Aleksey Grigoryevich was born in 1762 in the winter palace in St-Petersburg. He was a son of the empress Catherine the second and prince Grigoriy Orlov. In 1796 emperor Paul the first created Aleksey Grigoryevich an earl of the Russian empire and recognized him officially as a brother of the emperor. He was granred village of Bobriki, town of Bogorodetsk and village of Mukhailovskoye in Tula province.
The Bobrinsky family and the Sokovnin family entered matrimonial bonds since Sofya Sokovnina married Vasiliy Bobrinsky in 1830. The lands belonging to both families were scatterred in various provinces namely in Moscow, Tula, Simbirsk provinces as well as in Abkhazia. Apart from the plans of the lands owned by the aforementioned proprietors the plans of the lands turned over by Moscow provincial drawing office to count Boibrinsky at the latter’s request were included into the collection.
The possessions of the Bobrinsky-Sokovnins in Moscow province were found mainly in Volokolamsk district. It was just in Moscow province that the land surveying was launched for the first time in Russia in the 18th century. For that purpose Moscow land surveying office was set up in 1766 and other early land surveying offices were called into being in Volokolamsk and Serpukhov (Postnikov, 1989).
The collection that has been picked out is interest in many ways. It consists of land surveying plans embracing variegated territories to wit districts, separate possessions, plots, waste grounds. They were drawn in 1769 to 1911. The plans were made on a unified scale. This kind of unification was necessary as it allowed to regulate the work on the land surveying and on the making of plans. They were legal documents and set the right of the owners to the land and to the peasants tilling it.
The methodology of the land surveying was evolved way back in the middle of the 18th century and published in the book by D. Tsitsianiv (1757). It laid the foundation of the land surveying, of the drawing and mounting of the land surveying plans. The author paid a special attention to the unity of the scale in carrying out the land surveying. The following scale was adopted: 100, 200 and 400 sagenes in one English inch (1:8400, 1:16800, 1:33600) (Postnikov, 1989). These scales were in use further on right up to the beginning of the 20th century. It was helpful in solving controversial land issues since the plans applying to one and the same territory were easy to compare. The scale of 100 sagenes in one English inch (1:8400) was used in special plans of solitary plots making up the foundation of the collection.
One ought to go into the content of the land surveying plans. They show space taken up by the arable land, meadow, forest in various categories, kitchen-gardens, rivulets, swamps, lakes, roads, settlements. Precise boundaries of possessions with detailed description of adjacent lands and with indication of their owners can be rated as the most important elements of special land surveying plans.
The design of the plans required the presence of obligatory elements namely the appellation, the list of persons present at the land surveying, the presence of signature of the persons confirming the authenticity of the plan or of its copy. Legends or elements of legends, compass roses are often depicted there.
In the course of time the design of the plans change and get simplified. Gone are elements of the artistic design to wit figured frames, rolls, compass roses. At the end of the 19th century printed texts appeared on the plans. Plans were drawn in ink and painted in water-colours without fail.
The collection contains two rare plans of village of Vydrina and of village Obukhova (1769) and of dumping-ground of Bukharina (1770) of Volokolamsk district. They reflect the initial period of full-scale work on the general land surveying in Russia. In Moscow province general directions concerning the drawing of the land surveying plans were laid down and later they were extended to other provinces. These plans are far from being perfect from the point of view of the depiction of the territory, but a high level of the artistic design is their typical feature. The names of the plans, “explanations of the signs used on the plan” and further elements are placed on the unfolded rolls. The plans are adorned with graceful compass roses and figured frames (drawing No 1). They are plotted on paper with water-marks.
The tradition of the artistic design of the plans was in existence up to the 1830’s (drawing No 2). However, in the following period the composition of the lands, their quality and the areas taken up by them were much to the fore. For that purpose tables bearing the name of explications turned up. For example a table with a charateristic of the lands and with their composition appeared on the “Plan of the lands possessed by the right honourable countess Sofya Bobrinskaya of Moscow province in Volokolamsk district …” (1843) (drawing No 3). Later on explications were met with on plans quite often. They contained data not only on the composition of the lands but on the composition of the forests too.
At the end of the 18th century and at the beginning of the 20th century one took to draw copies of the plans on sheets with a printed text (drawing No 4) or on tracing paper. The collection has three plans performed on tracing paper (1910, 1911). It is noteworthy that they refer to the possessions of the Bobrinskys, situated in the vicinity of Sukhumi namely woodlands Gergemysh and Teklitash.
Land surveying plans contain social and economic information too. Writings by L. Milov have gone into the given issue at full length (1986).
Land surveying plans can provide a source of identification of the names of land surveyors and of geodesists who have earned the Russian land surveying fame. On early 18th century plans executed in Moscow province names of such land surveyors as captain Maslov and excellent land surveyor Yazykov occur. In the 19th century new names were added to wit private land surveyor Banishov and second lieutenant Kochetov. In Simbirsk province lieutenant Vasilyev, senior land surveyor aulic councilor Anofriyev, district land surveyor Panow worked as land surveyors.
Work on the scientific study and on the arrangement of the stock of land surveying plans of the Bobrinsky-Sokovnins has not come to an end at the present stage. The stock No 923 “Land surveying plans of the Bobrinsky-Sokovnins” has already been called into existence, described and turned over to the depository, but the quest of new plans among the unprocessed materials, where similar plans are likely to be found, is going on. The materials that have already been added to various stocks are under examination.
The application of new information technologies well allow to create an electronic version of the given collection by uniting documents kept in settled stocks without putting them somewhere else.
The collection is of keen interest for cartographers, historians, land surveyors. They are priceless documents for reconstructing the history of the use of the lands
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