I’ve had a couple of people ask me how and why I got started in researching my family history. I had to think back but essentially I was curious to know if one of my uncles, who was never heard from after WWII, was still living somewhere in the world or possibly I could connect with a descendant of his. My uncles name was Wasyl Iwaniw and he was born in 1903. The only picture I have is the scanned photo below.
I just started asking my father questions about him. When I got the required equipment I borrowed the hardcopy photo from my parents and scanned the picture.
I knew about my father’s other siblings and I met my dad’s other brother, Ivan, when he came to visit us from Ukraine. My Uncle Ivan was born 1908 and had 5 children. I also got some family information from him when he was visiting. But his visit was prior to my interest in the family history so I didn’t get the details that would be of use to me later on. Unfortunately, my Uncle Ivan passed away in 1981.
My father had another brother whose whereabouts are unknown also. His name was Mychola Iwaniw and he was born in 1910. He was also never heard from after WWII.
The last sibling of my father’s that I knew about and living in Ukraine was his sister, Marika Iwaniw who was born in 1905 and had 3 children. My Aunt Marika passed away in 1992. She was the last of my father’s siblings.
Because I am the first generation that was born in the US my information is limited to what I was able to get from my father. I have very little documentation and what documents my parents did have have been sequestered by my sister. I have an extremely low probability of getting my hands on them so I have to use other methods to try to acquire the documentation I need.
Previously I posted my discovery of my family’s information on the passenger list of the Blatchford that brought them to America from Germany. As I stated before, hearsay is good but documentation is gold. I also had come across church records from my father’s village in present day Poland before and still need to visually scan those microfilmed records.
Well, now I’ve found out about a web site that has digitized the records and lists from Displaced Person Camps in Germany from after World War II. The web site is called International Tracing Service and pertains to the people who were in Nazi concentration camps, labor camps, and ghettos. My parents met while they were interned in a labor camp in Ulm, Germany. I’m hoping to find some information about my family on this site. Otherwise, I’d have to write to someone in Germany to see if I could locate any records. To that point, I heard from someone on another genealogy group that suggested that I check out another person’s web site, Olga Kaczmar’s genealogy site. I was informed that Olga’s site had a lot of information on gathering information from Germany. I’ve added that to my To-Do list.
The Service is still adding to their digitized collection so if I don’t find anything now I’ll have to come back. I use Evernote to keep track of these web sites and articles that I find useful and may want to refer back to in the future. And when I get a chance, I’ll update the links found on the right sidebar.
As I posted before in a previous article, I had found information on the ship that my family “supposedly” came into the US on. I say supposedly because that was what I was told. Hearsay is good but documentation is gold. In searching FamilySearch.org I decided to research my father’s name. I heard that FamilySearch was making available the Port of New York’s passenger lists of those entering the country through 1957.
I located the passenger list that included my father, mother, and sister. Now, I had documented information about them and their entry into the US. The passenger list confirms that they did arrive on the Blatchford, they did depart from Bremerhaven, Germany. Some additional information from the list was that they embarked on the 8th of June 1950 and they arrived at the Port of New on the 24th of June 1950.
In order to enter the United States my family had to provide an address where they were going to live in the US. That information is also included on the passenger list for my family.
Little by little I am confirming and building documentation pertaining to my family history.