One thing that I am finding out about researching your family history that sometimes one has to dig further to get clarification on information one receives. That was my situation when I received scanned documents from Arolsen Archives about my father. As I detailed in a previous post I had a document about an inquiry on the location of my father. I wrote to the Red Cross asking for more details and clarification. I was interested in finding out who submitted the inquiry and from where. The form seems to come from Moscow.

I received a reply to my inquiry a couple of days ago. However, the reply held no additional information. The reply seemed to be about getting information on my father. They wanted to know if I knew of his location, when was the last time I had contact with him, and what caused my losing contact with him. Strange. But I’ll play the game. I answered the questions and sent the my reply stating that my initial inquiry still has not been answered.

I’ll just have to wait some more.

I’m at the point of my research where I am now attempting to search records in Eastern Europe. I have already found records pertaining to my father’s time spent in Germany during WWII. I know that he was forcibly taken from his home to Germany in 1942. I know that he married my mother in 1945 in Sulingen Germany. I have the passenger list showing him and his family arriving into the Port of New York in 1950.

Now I’m trying to locate church records for my grandfather, Michael. Thanks to a couple of people on Galicia Family History Group I was directed to another site called State Archives in Przemysl where I was told records from my father’s church in Lutowiska were stored and scanned. At this point I am just searching for anyone with the surname of Iwaniw. The difficulty is that the handwriting is a very elaborate cursive and some of the writing is very faint. Lastly, none of these records are indexed.

This is one of those family research tasks that are very labor intensive and tedious. I usually only spend about an hour doing this and/or tend to take a lot of breaks. Another problem is that I have no way of knowing if the records are complete.

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).

Church of Archangel Michael in Lutowiska
Church of Archangel Michael in Lutowiska

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 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 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:

  1. 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?
  2. 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.
Record from PA, Phila. Passenger list index card, 1883-1948

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.