Based on fieldwork in Arkhangel’sk oblast’, this paper surveys the identity of a group of Northern Slavs often distinguished in the Russian language literature as pomory. The paper defines the history of Pomor identity from the 18th century to the present, and its persistent interrogation of ethnographic concepts. The authors show how accounts of Northern Russian life-ways were circulated in the Russian Empire before ethnography was defined by official institutions. Sitting in geographic contraposition to Southern Russian identity movements, in what is now Ukraine, the example of Pomor identity illustrates the power of etnos-thinking today and the hold that it has had on the imagination of intellectuals in the Northern region. The paper is illustrated with five photographs.