As I was browsing a few of the genealogical groups on Facebook I came across a posting showing a picture of a church. The church looked familiar like I’ve seen the picture previously. I did. My father had a photograph of this church and he had commissioned a painting to be made from it.
At the time I didn’t know that name of the church just that my father said that it was the church from the village that he grew up in, Lutowiska. According to the information I now have is that the name of the church is Church of Archangel Michael in Lutowiska. The information on this church is in Polish (you’ll have to enable Google translator to read the details).
Unfortunately, according to the information about this church it no longer exists. In 1979, the church was handed over to the local Latin parish, which in May 1980 demolished the church, and used wood for further use in the construction of the church in Dwernik.
Now I’ve got a few more gaps in my father life filled in and more research material to investigate. From the documents that I had previously received I know that my father was a Greek Catholic. I didn’t know which parish records I had to chase down. Having stumbled onto this bit of information has helped in filling that gap. What I need to find out now is where are the records from this church and do they even still exist? If anyone has any information on this church or its records I’d appreciate hearing from you. You can contact me through this site or via Facebook Messenger.
It was bound to happen. Hitting that proverbial brick wall when doing your family research, Well, I hit it and I am now at a dead stop.
In a previous post I stated that I encountered 2 passenger lists that contained what I thought was my grandfather’s information. One list was from the Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger List Index Cards, 1883-1948. The other was a passenger list record that I found on the Ellis Island site. In doing further research the Iwaniw on the NY List stated he was born in Sloboda. My research showed that Sloboda is about 3 hours northeast of Lutowiska and that Lutowiska was never referred to as Sloboda. Interesting side note but not helpful to my family research. My father did say that not all Iwaniw’s were related to us and that it was a fairly common name. This does not make things easy for me.
So now I start focusing on the PA List. As detail in my previous post, the PA list shows that Mychajlo came from Lutowiska, Austria (the old Austro-Hungarian Empire) and his destination as Ashley, PA (near Wilkes-Barre, PA). Also, the records lists Mytro Iwaniw as his brother. This gives me additional avenues of research. I accessed my FamilySearch.org account and opened up the scanned records from Volume 201-4A/6302 Births, marriages, deaths 1879-1904 for Lutowiska. There is a notation for these records that some years are missing and out of order; records include other localities. All I can say is that this notation is very true. Now the missing years may explain the problem I encountered.
There were many problems but the main one was that I couldn’t find any records for my grandfather or my Uncle Wasyl (born in 1903). The first thing I had to do was determine which of the 800+ scanned records pertained to Lutowiska. Once I determined that I started to visually scan page by page. Many of the records had birth, marriage, and death records intermingled. Based on the PA List it showed that Mychajlo Iwaniw was 28 years old in 1911. This would put his year of birth around 1883. This would also make him 20 years old when my Uncle Wasyl was born. Reasonable.
My information about my grandfather is fairly accurate. I had requested information from Arolsen Archives (formerly International Tracing Service) for information/documentation pertaining to my father, Theodor Iwaniw. I recently received a response from Arolsen Archives which included 44 pages of scanned documents and in those documents my grandparent’s names and information were verified. The only new name that I came across with my recent research was Mytro Iwaniw. That’s another name that I could not locate in those church records.
So in the church records that I accessed I could not locate: 1. My grandfather’s birth record 2. My grandfather’s marriage record 3. My Uncle Wasyl’s birth record in 1903.
There may be numerous reasons for this but none that I can easy verify. One of the causes of this brick wall may be that I am accessing the wrong church records. This will require more research on my part. Meanwhile, I’m stuck.
One thing that seems to be given in conducting my family research is that there will be more questions than answers. One thing that I do periodically is do a search on FamilySearch.org records for the surname of IWANIW. I completed one such search a few days ago and came across a new record that I hadn’t seen before.
The record was a record for, who I believe, is my paternal grandfather Michael (Mychajlo) Iwaniw from the Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger List Index Cards, 1883-1948. (See below) This does confirm what I was told by my father that my grandfather came to the U.S. for a short while and that his destination was the Wilkes-Barre area of Pennsylvania. This record also contradicts another passenger list record that I found on the Ellis Island site for another Mychajlo Iwaniw.
The PA list shows that Mychajlo came from Lutowiska, Austria (the old Austro-Hungarian Empire) while the NY list shows that Mychajlo was from Sloboda, Austria. The PA list shows his destination as Ashley, PA (near Wilkes-Barre, PA) and the NY list states his destination as Chicago, IL. The PA list shows his arrival date as July 11, 1911 and the NY list states he arrived on November 16, 1912. PA list states he was going to stay with his brother Mytro Iwaniw and the NY list stated he was going to stay with his nephew Mykola.
Now, this record raises more questions. There are 2 additional names have come up:
Kasia Iwaniw is listed as his wife. I only knew of 1 wife, my father’s mother Matrona Smoliw. The date on this form is 1911 which is 7 years before my father’s birth. Is this Kasia a previous wife? What happened to her?
The record makes reference to Mytro Iwaniw, a brother. It’s entirely possible my grandfather had a brother who came to America years before. If he was living in the U.S. when my father was born he may not have been told of him. My father always said that his father died when he was a baby. I have information that I am trying to confirm that makes me doubt this story.
In the NY list that Mychajlo Iwaniw was traveling to Chicago to visit with his nephew, Mykola. I can’t make out the last name from the form (see below) but I still plan on investigating this further.
So now you can better understand the reason my title for this posting. More mysteries as I get deeper into my family history.
I was browsing Ebay today and decided to do a search on my family name. What a surprise when the search results return an item being sold with my mother’s name in the title.
What was being sold was an old press photo from my hometown’s newspaper. This was from when the newspaper did an article on the parish’s Ukrainian Festival in 1987. It was a picture of my mother sitting at a table loaded with Ukrainian ceramic pieces. My father use to create ceramic pieces with Ukrainian designs and they use to sell them at the Ukrainian festivals. So, the picture of my mother manning the ceramic table at the 1987 Parish Ukrainian Festival (see below).
The quality of the photo isn’t that good because it needed to be a high-contrasting photo to translate over to newsprint well.
This would be something that I include in my story about my family. Just another facet of my family history.
Anyone who has been doing their family research for a considerable period time can expect to run into a mystery within that history. I had requested information from Arolsen Archives (formerly International Tracing Service) for information/documentation pertaining to my father, Theodor Iwaniw. I submitted this request in September 2018. A few days ago I received a response from Arolsen Archives which included 44 pages of scanned documents. Arolsen Archives also offered to provide wriiten evaluation of those documents which I graciously accepted. This will require me to wait a little while longer.
Well, I’ve encountered my mystery. That mystery has to do with an inquiry form that is dated 16 February 1989. There’s also letters regarding another inquiry in 1968. Are they related? The letter from 1966/68 makes reference to my sister as being the person making the inquiry. But my sister was living at home at the time. She did go with a group to tour Europe shortly before that time period but she was residing at home with us. The letter dated 1968 has the letterhead from the The American National Red Cross in Washington D.C.
The inquiry form dated 1989 has the letterhead from what seems to be the Red Cross/Red Crescent in Moscow. The language for the fields on the form are in both German and Russian. The information completed is in German. The person making the inquiry is listed as Maria Elisseewa and as daughter. I am not aware of my father having another family. There is a possibility but I think it may be a low probability.
The inquiry forms/letters from 1966/68 are more numerous and do not clear up very much. This will require some extensive research on my part but I will have to wait until I get the written evaluation from Arolsen Archives. If anyone has any information on Maria Elisseewa or suggestions as to my next steps, I would be greatly appreciative in hearing of them.