— Odessa (Одесса) and Nikolaieff (Николаев) ~ pre-Revolution


Anya was born in Odessa in 1895 but did her father live there or was it just because there was a decent hospital there and not in Nikolaieff?

Amazing to find how both the Pio-Ulskis’ and Borodinoffs’ lives intertwined, interwined but never touched until Shanghai!

Maria Pio-Ulski spent time in Odessa, her youngest child, George, was born there, and so was Anya. Wonder if they were born in the same hospital 🙂 And then after George and Lila were married, they discovered they lived just a couple of streets apart when they were in Vladivostok!

City Hospital

City Hospital

Anyway, from my research, I’m pretty sure she was born at the City Hospital which was at 5 Pasteur Street.

It looks like it was a prettty grand hospital, as the photo on the left shows, and I’m sure it was considered very modern when Anya was born there.

There is nothing else to connect the Borodinoffs to Odessa so I would assume that once Akim’s children were born, they went back to the family home in Nikolaieff. Being an industrial town, I would assume that’s where Akim became successful before heading towards Baku.

The station

The station

The port

The port














Greetings from Nikolaieff

I only know that the Borodinoffs were in Nikolaieff by seeing the photo which Anya managed to keep through all the horrors and travails which occurred from the time she left Baku to when she ended up in Hong Kong.

It doesn’t surprise me that Akim was working in Nikolaieff – he was involved with pipelines in Baku and Nikolaieff was/is a shipbuilding town so perhaps that is where he made his fortune.

The city is situated on the left bank of the Bugsky Liman (estuary) of the Black Sea where the Southern Bug and Ingul rivers join. It’s about 65km (40 miles) away from the Black Sea.

In 1869 a guide book described Nikolaieff as a very unattractive town with houses made from stone, which came from the quarries in the area, and the roofs were covered with iron or tiles.

Those who were probably poor workers lived in the Admiralty district and had to make do with brick houses which were covered in straw 😮

The streets were all straight and intersected at right angles with the other streets, dividing the town in regular shaped blocks.

Only two roads were paved – Admiral and Cathedral Streets – the others were just covered with sand and made travelling around extremely difficult, especially if it rained. The sidewalks were also unpaved so the pedestrians had no relief since they had to walk through the mud 🙁

Then there was this description written in 1863 by Col Gen Staff A Schmidt, which makes it sound quite delightful! This has been translated from Russian by Google so if it sounds odd, it is 😀 I’ve tried to make sense of it but sometimes I just can’t work out what it’s saying!

«Coming from this side to Nikolaev, after a huge space arid and treeless steppes to the north of it lying, open view of the right Lyman, from 1-1/2 to 3 miles wide and up to 9 miles away, along the length of its two tribes; between, on the opposite bank is a place Varvarovka with extensive plantations. After this body of water, along the road there are some places, small gardens and front ends steep mountain views. On her right, the whole line of Lombardy poplars and white acacias, followed by you can see the city and spreads to the left, up the hill, a few miles away. At the bottom of the mountain, under the boulevard and houses, are, as it were, on land, boats, ships and various warships. On reaching them see only that they are at the very Beach, Ingul, which washes are the sole mountains and nearby flows into the estuary.

The "baths" at Spassk

The “baths” at Spassk

The bridge is a steep climb up the mountain from where to travel directly to the area, with an extensive guardhouse. On three sides of this square is surrounded by tall buildings, which placed the city government offices and agencies of the Black Sea and the fourth – to Admiralty Cathedral Church of St. Gregory, it is remarkable that the interior Her decorated iconostasis, with icons of excellent painting discharged from Prince Potemkin Italy.

The Lutheran Church

The Lutheran Church

In this area the best hotel; not far from the new theater, post office, the Lutheran Church, and coming out to her Admiral’s Row, the best in the city, still enjoys the advantage that it alone and is illuminated at night, and that is quite original – tallow candles.

Streets in Nikolaev is very broad and sometimes reach up to 15 and 40 fathoms; some of them planted poplars, and white acacias, but there is almost imperceptible replanting new trees, through what is the best decoration of the city is constantly in decline. Streets shossirovany to the small extent; Bad weather is very dirty city.

Nikolaev has a completely original appearance; two-storey houses there are very few; Meanwhile, all the buildings in the main part of the city, kamennyya and differ quite exquisite architecture, neat, lots of outbuildings, utility rooms, built just as well with great elegance, and almost every household has at least a small garden, carefully maintained by the owner and decorate it . Each house bears the imprint of some comfort.

Clarity and panache interior trim are striking and prove polozhitelnyya information anywhere in the building arts. Between private houses visible architectural features, svoystvennyya midday countries.»

I’ve just seen a magazine which has a story about the many admirals who were involved with Nikolaieff in some way and found a couple of postcards of statues to Admiral Greig so shows a teensy little bit more of the city 🙂

Statue Admiral Greig



Here is the photo which Anya managed to hold onto. Initially I only recognised Lida but Lindy told me that our grandmother was the girl on the left. The photo was taken in 1908 so Anya would have been 12 years old when it was taken.pio-ulski-1

Anya is sitting down with her elbow on the chaise longue. Lida is lying on the chaise longue but I don’t know who the other two young people are or who they belong to. The girl at the back looks like she could be Anya’s sister but as far as I know, Lida was her only sister, so is the boy her brother and are they cousins?  Oh for a time machine to go back and ask my grandmother  🙁

This is the back of the photograph…

The photographer was LL Konosevich and his studio was at 39 Bolshaya Morskaya Ulitsa, Nikolaieff.

Inna, a friend who speaks Russian, had a look at the scribblings on the back and sent back what she could work out.

The photo is taken on (?) January 1908

??????? – can’t read this word at all
Lida! Vanya! Marfusha (??? – not 100% certain)*
Nyura (underlined)*
A Borodinoff (or Borodinova – not 100% certain)**
Then on the right hand side of the photo there another name: Alyosha**
On the bottom of the photo written upside down: Maria Alekseevna***
On the left hand side: 1908 Dema (??) / 1909, 25 August, Dema (can be a boy’s name Dyoma?)***

* Could these be the names of the two youngsters in the photo that I didn’t know? Lida I know, so could Vanya be the boy on the right (Vanya being a diminutive of Ivan) and Marfusha (diminutive of Marfa) the girl at the back?

** I’m pretty sure that this was Anya’s signature when she was 12-13 years old. I saw her writing 10 years later and she wrote the same curly “A” for Anna. Therefore it’s «A Borodinova»

*** I’m assuming that Maria Alekseevna is the name and patronym of Anya’s stepmother.

* I looked up the name Nyura and found that it is a variation of Anna! Could that have been Anya’s nickname when she was a kid?

** Aloysha is a boy’s name and it looks like Anya wrote that, as it also has the curly “A”. Maybe it was her boyfriend at the time?

*** It looks like Dema and not Dyoma to me but who was he and what significance was the date? Was he a little kid who was born on that date?



I found a website – a Ukrainian magazine – with information about famous Russians admirals connected to Nikolaieff during the pre-Revolution days so will list the pages below.

It’s a bit topsy turvy – originally they had Part I, Part II, etc, but they’ve changed the sequence so it’s a tad confusing now.  However … hope it’s interesting to those of you who might be interested in old admirals 😉

Николаевские адмиралы Часть I (А-В) (Nikolaieff Admirals Part I (A-B))

Николаевские адмиралы (З-К) (Nikolaieff Admirals (Z-K)

Николаевские адмиралы (Л-М) (Nikolaieff Admirals (L-M)

Николаевские адмиралы (Н—П) (Nikolaieff Admirals (N-P)

Николаевские адмиралы (Р—Т) (Nikolaieff Admirals (R-T)

Николаевские адмиралы (Р—Т) (Nikolaieff Admirals (U-Y)



Odessa and Nikolayev

A few photos of Odessa and Nikolaieff before 1917, and a couple of Anya and family members taken in Nikolaieff

*NB – when you click on the album, the screen will show the top of this page. Please just scroll down to see the pictures.





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