In my ongoing research of my family history one of the interesting items I seem to have uncovered is that there were numerous Iwaniw families throughout the Galicia in the old Austro-Hungarian Empire. In just attempting to find records about my own grandfather I came across a few records that matched his name but other data on the records didn’t match up.
Specifically, as I explained in my previous post, More mysteries uncovered, I mentioned 2 separate passenger lists that contained a record for a Mychajlo Iwaniw. There was the NY list that showed Mychajlo Iwaniw arriving at Ellis Island in 1912. This Michajlo’s record shows that he was born in Sloboda. Although the age is close to my grandfather’s estimated age this couldn’t be the same person because all information I have is that my grandfather was from Lutowiska, which is about 3 hours driving from Sloboda.
Now, the other passenger list shows a Mychajlo Iwaniw Iwaniw arriving into the Port of Philadelphia in 1911 and the final destination being the Wilkes-Barre are of Pennsylvania to visit his brother Mytro. This record also shows that this Mychajlo was close to my grandfather’s estimated age. But it also shows that his wife’s name was Kasia Iwaniw. Both of these names from this record are a mystery to me. This is the first time I have seen a reference to either Mytro or Kasia Iwaniw. This record is the one that I started to pursue to look if I can find any records in the old church records from my father’s old church.
I attempted to locate these church records online in order to search them. I’m using the records/catalogues from FamilySearch.org and help from members of the Ukrainian & Galician Genealogy groups on Facebook. The problem with these records so far is that they are NOT indexed so I have to manually view each page and try to find the info that I need. So, my search has expanded to include the following names:
Mychajlo Iwaniw (with a birth father of Wasyl Iwaniw, my great-grandfather)
Mytro (or Dmytro) Iwaniw (with a birth father of Wasyl Iwaniw, my great-grandfather)
Kasia (or a derivative) Iwaniw (with a spouse of Mychajlo or Michael) Iwaniw
One of the things that I found out is that there were quite few Iwaniw families but I cannot determine if any of them are related to my family. I found a record referencing a Wasyl Iwaniw but from a village about 2 hours drive from Lutowiska. Can’t be the same person as my great-grandfather because the information I got from my father was that he was a landowner of a large tract of land in the village. There were records of other Iwaniws whose names I didn’t recognize. They very well may be relatives but I can’t make a connection.
In searching out the name of Iwaniw in FamilySearch.org records the search results will return over 800 records of Iwaniws in the United States and Canada. So, it’s important to stay focused on one path/branch in researching the family history or risk being pulled in countless different directions.
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 posted before, I have limited amounts of records to research in the United States. I am the first generation of my family to be born in the US so my research takes me immediately to Eastern Europe for both my parents.
With the help of other Ukrainian family researchers from a maillist I belong to, I was able to locate some records to help me with my family research. It was suggested that instead of focusing on the specific surname at FamilySearch.org, that I instead search out my father’s home village. When I did that I came up with a lot of records regarding Lutowiska. These records were microfilmed by the LDS but haven’t been transcribed or indexed. This makes it a major challenge.
What I will end up having to do is to visually scan each frame of the microfilm looking for the relevant information. To add to the difficulty is the fact that there is no table of content and everything is written in cursive. Just one set of birth, marriage, baptismal, and death records is 879 individual frames. When I did a quick perusal of random pages, they didn’t seem to be in any alphabetic order but were in date sequence. That doesn’t help if you don’t know the specific date of an event. Another issue is the date ranges of the records that are available (i.e. 1864-1879) which then precludes me from searching for events that happened outside of that range. And lastly, there is a disclaimer with the records that some records were not able to be scanned because the pages were too damaged to scan or too faded/illegible to scan.
But this will be a long and tedious undertaking and hopefully will pay off by finding the records I need. I have found an online tool, Evernote, that is of great help in saving whatever information and resources I do locate so that I can go back to them at a later date.