My Grandaughter’s Lidyoff Genealogy

As of last August 2019, I am the proud grandfather of Elora Pearl. Her father is a Lidyoff, so I thought that I would write a short Lidyoff genealogy. Here is Elora with my daughter and her father.

Elora’s Grandfather John

John appeared next to his future wife Joan in his Huntington Park High School Yearbook in 1969:


However, there were two John John Lidyoff’s which makes things confusing. The first one (not the John above) was actually a Lydoff and was born in 1949:

John J. Lydoff Jr. of Whittier, California, was born in Montebello, California on May 28, 1949 and passed away on March 20, 2012.

John is survived by his wife, Christine Lydoff and daughter, Kathryn Lydoff.; his parents, John and Jeanette Lydoff of Whittier and his sister Debra Valoff of Idaho.

He married Elora’s grandmother in 1972. John was the first in his direct line to marry a non-Russian. Here is another photo from Joan’s High School Yearbook:

The caption under the photo says Princess. That means that Elora is the granddaughter of a Princess.

John was the fourth generation of Lidyoff’s to have lived in the Los Angeles area. He moved his family to Washington State. In 1992 and 1993, John, Joan and their two children were listed as living in Port Hadlock, WA:




Elora’s Lidyoff Great-Grandfather John D Lidyoff

The findagrave website has John as John David Lidyoff:

He was buried in the Molokan Cemetery in 1975. Here is where the cemetery is:

Who Are the Molokans?

According to Wikipedia:

Molokan (RussianмолоканIPA: [məlɐˈkan] or молоканин, “dairy-eater”) is a member of various Spiritual Christian sects that evolved from Eastern Christianity in the East Slavic lands. Their traditions—especially dairy consumption during Christian fasts—did not conform to those of the Russian Orthodox Church, and they were regarded as heretics (sektanty). The term Molokan is an exonym used by their Orthodox neighbors; they tend to identify themselves as Spiritual Christians (духовные христиане dukhovnye khristiane).

Unlike the Protestant “reformists” of Western Europe, Molokans rejected conformity.[dubious ] There are almost as many different ways among Molokans as there are Molokans. Some built chapels for worship, kept sacraments, and revered saints and icons, while others (like Ikonobortsy, “icon-wrestlers”) discarded these practices in the pursuit of individual approaches to scripture. In general, they rejected the institutionalized formalism of Orthodoxy and denominations with similar doctrines in favor of more emphasis on “Original Christianity” as they understood it. They emphasized spirituality and spiritual practice; such sacramental practices as water baptism have been permitted only as tangible signs and symbols of more important spiritual truths.

Similar to Presbyterians among Protestants, and considered heretical by the Orthodox Church, they elect a council of dominant elders who preserve a sort of apostolic succession. Molokans had some practices similar to the European Quakers and Mennonites, such as pacifism, communal organization, spiritual meetings, and sub-groupings. But they arose in Russia together with the Doukhobors and Sabbatarians (also known as Subbotniks) and similar Spiritual Christian movements of Duhovnye Kristyanye and Ikonobortsy. They migrated into central Russia and Ukraine around the same time.

A further relevant exerpt:

19th to 20th centuries

From the intervention of Count Nikolay Zubov in 1795, Molokans (бесшапочники) were tolerated under Tsarina Catherine but constrained by strict rules imposed upon them intended to curb community growth.[3] Those who ignored the restrictions were punished in Tsarist Russia as heretics.[4] Molokan evangelists and missionaries suffered imprisonment, banishment and other forms of punishment. Prohibited from winning converts,[5] the Molokans were forced into endogamy. The government’s policy was to send the Molokans away from the center of Russia into the Caucasus (1833), and other outlying areas to prevent their having influence on other peasants; they were sent to ArmeniaAzerbaijan (1834), Ukraine (1830s), central Asia, and Siberia, where many communities have survived into the present.

It is said that, in 1900, despite the persecution there could have been about a half-million Spiritual Christians in the Russia empire. These figures appear, however, to be vastly exaggerated. In 1912, there were only 133,935 Molokane and 4,844 Pryguny counted in Russia (census of the Department of Spiritual Affairs; see Glenn Dynner: “Holy Dissent: Jewish and Christian Mystics in Eastern Europe”, 2011).

Fewer than one thousand Molokane fled Russia in the early 1900s (mostly 1905-1912), many of whom settled near other non-Orthodox immigrants from Russia in an ethnic enclave on and near Potrero HillSan Francisco, California, where they built a prayer hall in 1929. A second prayer hall was established near Sheridan, California to serve those scattered in Northern California. There was never a “Molokan Church” in Southern California.[6] Though some Spiritual Christian faith groups fled Russia in the early 1900s to avoid the military draft, all eligible Molokan boys registered for the Selective Service Act of 1917, but were disqualified as aliens who did not speak English. During World War II, 136 eligible American Molokan boys enlisted during World War II, and two were conscientious objectors.[7]

Being prohibited from winning converts under the laws of the Russian Empire, they adopted endogamy and were classified as an ethnic group under the Bolsheviks.

Here is John in 1920:

Presumably he is living on a farm as his father Dave is listed as a farmer in Escondido, CA.

The 1920 Census is interesting as it shows three generations of Lidyoff’s.

John married Vera in 1937:

In 1940, John and his father Dave were working for a beer brewer in San Antonio:

Dave was a bottler and John a general laborer while Hazel and and Vera were listed as walnut growers. Here is some more information from John’s Draft Card:


Here is where this branch of the LIdyoff family lived in 1940:

Here is the Maier Brewing Company:

The 1940 Census has John D Lidyoff living at 3404 Walnut Street.

Here is perhaps the same John D Lidyoff living in Huntington Beach, CA in 1959:

John D was living at 3413 Hill Street in 1962:

Boyle HIeghts above was a place associated with the Molokans.

David Paul Lidyoff – Born in Kars, Russia (Turkey) 1898

I found this photo of “Dave”:

Here is another photo from 1934:

This record is interesting as it lists his birthplace as Kars, Turkey and says thathe lived in Chile before coming to the US.

Here is Kars in present-day Turkey near the border of Georgia and Armenia:

Some more on Kars from Wikipedia:

Russian administration

The 1828 Russian siege of Kars (painter January Suchodolski).

In 1807 Kars successfully resisted an attack by the Russian Empire. During a break between the Russian campaigns in the region conducted against the Ottomans, in 1821, commander-in-chief Abbas Mirza of Qajar Iran occupied Kars,[23] further igniting the Ottoman-Persian War of 1821-1823. After another Russian siege in 1828 the city was surrendered by the Ottomans on June 23, 1828 to the Russian general Count Ivan Paskevich, 11,000 men becoming prisoners of war.[21] At the end of the war it returned to Ottoman control for diplomatic reasons, Russia gaining only two border forts. During the Crimean War an Ottoman garrison led by British officers including General William Fenwick Williams kept the Russians at bay during a protracted siege; but after the garrison had been devastated by cholera and food supplies had depleted, the town was surrendered to General Mouravieff in November 1855.[21]

The fortress was again stormed by the Russians in the Battle of Kars during the Russo-Turkish War, 1877-78[21] under generals Loris-Melikov and Ivan Lazarev. Following the war, Kars was transferred to Russia by the Treaty of San Stefano. Kars became the capital of the Kars Oblast (province), comprising the districts of Kars, ArdahanKaghisman, and Oltu,which was the most southwesterly extension of the Russian Transcaucasus.

From 1878 to 1881 more than 82,000 Muslims from formerly Ottoman-controlled territory migrated to the Ottoman Empire. Among those there were more than 11,000 people from the city of Kars. At the same time, many Armenians and Pontic Greeks (here usually called Caucasus Greeks) migrated to the region from the Ottoman Empire and other regions of Transcaucasia. According to the Russian census data, by 1897 Armenians formed 49.7%, Russians 26.3%, Caucasus Greeks 11.7%, Poles 5.3% and Turks 3.8%.[24]

My guess is that after the occupation of Kars, Russians would have been encouraged to move into the area. This would have been especially true of Molokans who were not so welcome in Russia proper. Here is Dave’s Declaration of Intention from 1937:

If this was right, Dave was quite hefty at 205 pounds and 5 feet 6 inches, though he looks quite muscular to me.

Here is Dave’s WWI Draft Registration Card:

A Short Sketch of Dave

From some of these public records, Dave was born in Kars Russia (now Turkey) in 1898. At some point the family apparently moved to Chile. The family traveled by wagon from Tiajuana, Mexico to San Ysidro, CA in 1908 when Dave was 10.

Here is the family in 1910. So this will be telling the story of Dave’s father Paul also:

Here Paul and Marcia have 8 children living. I count 14 living in this house. Here is Dave’s Military Registration card from 1918:

David spelled his name at that time as Lidyeaoff. Here is present day Aliso Street:

In 1920, Dave had his own farm next to his brother Jacob (Ion above?) and his father’s farm in Escondido, CA. By 1920, Dave was married and had one son, John. Here is a photo I found of Dave’s wife:

She is listed as Agafia Stephanovna Prohoroff. I can only assume that she took the more American name of Hazel C.

In 1930, Dave was a truck driver for a rubbish hauler. In 1940, Dave was a bottler for Maier Beer. Dave died 21 years later in 1961:

More On Agaphia

It turns out that Agaphia had some things in common with Dave:

Agaphia, who changed her name to Hazel, was also born in Kars, Russia. She came up through Tiajuana four years after Dave. and the couple married in 1916.

Pavel “Paul” Demetri Lidyoff Born About 1863 Russia

Paul was an important person as he was the one to bring the family to the United States from Russia. Pavel Demetri also went by Paul Martin. I have that Pavel or Paul was born in Tbilisi, which is the capitol of Georgia:

This information is from

Name aka Pavel Demetri Lidyoff or Paul Demetri, Paul Mitri

Parents: Demetri Lidyoff and Paula Martianova
Known children: Pavel and Stella

Spouse: Masha Sleven Pavloff (1861-1937)
Known children: Daniel, John, Jack, Susanna, Sarah, David, Josiah, Edward, Paul

The 1910 federal census shows that Paul was married 3 times; married 30 years to his wife, Marcia; living with his children: Sarah, David, Josiah, Pashka, Ion (Anna), Daniel (Proskovia). He immigrated in 1908.

He and his wife, Mary, were living at the time of the 1930 census, living in Los Angeles, CA with son Paul.

Records for Paul or Pavel are scarce. The first record that I know of for Paul is the 1910 US Census:

In 1910, Paul’s last name was listed as Lidaeff. He is listed as 50 years old, so born about 1860 and his was married for 30 years, so in about 1880. He was listed as an alien in 1910. Paul was a hostler in a stable in 1910.

In 1920, Paul was listed as Povil Lidyeaoff:

He was a farmer. He is now listed as 65, which means that he would have been born about 1855. The youngest is listed as Paul at 15. If these ages are right, Mary would have been about 48 at his birth.

Here is Paul in 1930:

Paul now owns his home. He is not working, so his son Paul is likely taking care of him. He is still listed as 65. He was 22 when he first married, so that would have been about 43 years prior or 1887 if the dates are right. Based on his age in 1930, he would have been born in 1865.

Paul died in 1937 of diabeters. He aslo had gangrene of the foot and arteriosclerosis.

Paul’s wife Mary died in 1939:

Her father is listed as Silver Pavoff and mother as Pearl Pavoff. I also have her last name as Paveloff. and Pavloff.

Here is a Lidyoff Tree:


Here is Paul’s family:

Daniel Ledieff Born 1886

We can learn some about Daniel through his Naturalization Papers:

For some reason, Daniel went by Ledieff. Here he was born in Alexandrovca, Russia, but later papers show that was the Region and he was actually born in Kars like his younger brother David Paul. Daniel married on 28 December 1905, so that gives some more detail. Likely the whole family was still in Kars at that time. Daniel immigrated in September 1908 while his younger brother Paul immigrated a little later in December 1908. Daniel was also quite hefty at 200 pounds.

Here is some more information from Daniel’s Natuarlization papers:

Daniel was apparently in Kars when it was annexed by Turkey and he retained his Russian nationality. Sometime between 1905 and 1908 he lived in Valapairiso, Chile.

As part of Daniel’s Naturalization process, a deposition was taken:

According to Ermil later caller Elmer:

Here is Delano:

Apparently Daniel was at church almost every Sunday:

Stepan’s testimony was similar:

John Paul Lidyoff Born 1888

John was in Ensanada prior to coming to the US. He emmigrated at the same time as his younger brother David Paul. It appears that the unmarried children of the elder Paul Martin and Masha/Mary arrived together on 2 December 1908. John was a deep sea fisherman who originally went by Joso Pel.

Susia Paul Lidyoff Born 1892

This is from Susia’s husband’s Naturalization Papers:

I’m not sure if this information is right as it seems to imply that Susia came to the US in 1899.

Sarah Lidyoff


Edward (Esai) Paul Lidyoff Born 1902

Edward’s story varies slightly from his siblings’:

He says he lived in Beuno Aires, Argentina prior to moving to the US.

I didn’t find much on Josiah LIdyoff.

Paul Pavel Paul LIdyoff Born 1905

I didn’t find many records for Paul:

Here is some information from Paul’s World War II Draft Registration:

I assume that Paul was born in Kars, Russia and left when he was quite young.

Here is a summary from another tree at Ancestry:

Obviously the tradition was to include the father’s name as the middle name. It looks like I missed Jack Paul Lidyoff. It is a bit confusing as Jack is normally a nickname for John. Also the numbers don’t add up as “Marcia” is listed as having had 9 children – eight living as of 1910. The list above has 9 children.

Jack Paul Lidyoff Born 1893

I don’t see Jack in the 1910 Census:

If he was born in 1893, he should have been about 17 in 1910.

The 1920 Census has a Jacob Lidyoff:

This would be the Jack above. He married Jennie about the time 1913. Here is some more on Jack:

According to the 1930 Census, Jack worked in the rubbish business.

Summary of the Early LIdyoffs

Here is some artwork from a 1924 Los Angeles Times article on the Molokans:

This branch of the Molokans were also called the Jumpers which had to do with their expression of the Holy Spirit. According to the Los Angeles Times article from 1924:

 This refers to the emotional manner in which they conduct themselves in religious services. Something like the old-fashioned camp meeting shouters they let the world at large know when they feel possessed of the spirit. 

According to the same article:

The Molokans rocked along for years until the Russo-Japanese war in 1904. Their conscientious objections to fighting brought them into disrepute with the Czar. Several hundred families left Russia, a majority of them settling in Los Angeles.

The Molokans who came to Los Angeles, like the Iowans of the present day, like it here. The climate was mild then as it is now. Oppression was unknown and they were left to their own devices. Again, like the Iowans, they wrote their friends about the wonders of Los Angeles. Scores of families, relatives and friends of the original settlers arrived between 1904 and 1908.

That would explain the timing of the leaving of the Lidyoff family. My sense is that the elder Paul Lidyoff kept a low profile. I have not found any record that Paul applied for US citizenship. Paul was likely a traditional Molokan who shunned interaction with the government. Paul married Masha or Mary around 1880 perhaps in Kars Russia (now Turkey). Paul appears to have had 9 children born in Russia. The eldest was Daniel who married in Russia before leaving. I did not find border crossing records for Paul or his wife, but I did find them for some of his children. I assume that they crossed the Mexico/US border as a family, but I don’t have the records to show it.

I assume that Paul would have wanted his children to remain in the old Russian Molokan ways. They had gone against the law many times in Russia to retain their beliefs. However, he would have found that the pull of the US culture would be pulling his children and grandchildren away from the old faith and ways.

The basic records I have for Paul are the 1910, 1920 and 1930 Census, his death and cemetery records and City directories. Here is Paul in 1914:

The family is listed as LIdoff here. Paul and David are at the same address and Daniel was at nearby 329 North Ancereson. I don’t think that there is a 329 Ancerson today, but the baloon below shows where North Anderson Street is today:

The next Directory from 1915 showed that the family moved to nearby Aliso Street.

1920, 1921 and 1924 San Diego Directory

Paul was listed as a rancher in 1920 living in San Marcos along with a Casey Lydoff:

Here are the “Lydoff’s” in 1921 and 1924 still living in San Marcos but now with a Jake:


1937 Directory for Los Angeles

Edward Paul and Paul are at Summit Avenue:

These families had a different spelling:

According to the Census David and Jack were in the rubbish business or what we would call the waste industry today.

1938 Directory for Los Angeles

By 1938, Paul was dead, but the Directory has not reflected that yet. Here Paul is shown as a peddler.

Again the rest of the family has a different spelling:

Edward Paul was also a peddler.

Summary and Conclusions

  • I tried to find out what I could of the Lidyoff Family
  • I traced them back to Kars, Turkey. Before that they possibly lived in Georgia, and before that perhaps the Ukraine and before that possibly Central Russia
  • I gave some information about the Molokan Religion
  • Before crossing the border from Mexico to Southern California, the family lived briefly in Chile.
  • The Lidyoff family joined a community of Molokans in Los Angeles where they stayed for several generations until Elora’s grandparents moved to Washington State.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *