Posts Tagged ‘family history’

About a year ago I wrote to the Arolsen Archives regarding my uncle, Wasyl Iwaniw. I’ve details my research about him previously here and here.

Wasyl Iwaniw
Wasyl Iwaniw

In sending an inquiry to Arolsen Archives I was hoping for additional details or documents pertaining to him. Unfortunately, this was not to be. The only item that my inquiry was able to uncover was the record document I already had. This is the List of all allied Nationals and all other foreigners, German Jews and stateless etc. who were temporarily or permanently stationed in the community, but are no longer in residence. So, the research trail ends at Steinberg Germany. Arolsen Archives does not have any additional current records for Wasyl Iwaniw. This isn’t to say that additional ones won’t be added in the future. I periodically searching Arolsen Archives whenever I am made aware of additional records being added. The source for these updates are Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter and Ukrainian Genealogy Search maillist.

Some time back I received 44 pages of scanned documents pertaining to my father from Arolsen Archives. Little by little I am reviewing the pages and trying to understand what is on them. I did locate an inquiry from the Red Cross where someone had submitted an inquiry as to the whereabouts of my father. I already detailed my activities with this inquiry and I am waiting for the final response.

So far I have found the following information about my parents in Germany:

  • They were living in Ulm Germany while waiting for permission to emigrate to the US.
  • While they lived in Ulm and my sister was born there, they met and were married in Sulmingen Germany, a labor camp there.
  • My father was a farm laborer during the war and after the war he was a shoemaker (cobbler).

I still need to go through the pages of the documents again and try to understand what they contain. A large portion of the documents have to do with the inquiry I had mentioned from the 1960’s. As I work my way through the documents I will post updates as to what I find.

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.

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.

Inquiry Form 1989

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.

Wasyl Iwaniw

I decided to write a short story of what I have been able to find during my family research. I will start with my father’s oldest brother, my Uncle Wasyl Iwaniw, because it’s essentially because of him that I started researching my family history.

My Uncle Wasyl, pictured here, was born in Lutowiska, Galacia (a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in what was Western Ukraine and now a part of Poland) on 20 April, 1903 to Michael Iwaniw and Matrona Iwaniw (nee Smoliw). When I was growing up I was told that Uncle Wasyl disappeared during the German occupation of Ukraine during WWII. My father told me that no one knew what happened to him or ever saw or heard from him.

I started my family research in hopes of finding out more about my Uncle Wasyl. I started by building a foundation of information and always keeping an eye out of new resources and sources of information. In conducting my research I was able to locate embarkation information for my parents when they left Germany after WWII and the address where they lived in Ulm Germany while they were waiting approval to enter either the United States, Canada, or England.

Some time ago I was made aware of a source of data records pertaining to labor camps from the WWII period. I started out by searching out any information pertaining to my parents, specifically, my father. What I ended up finding was information about 2 of my father’s brothers, one of whom was my Uncle Wasyl. I detailed it in a previous post on this blog. I was rewarded with information about both of my father’s brothers, Wasyl & Mykola. But let’s focus on what I found out about Wasyl.

The record (shown above) that I found was for Steinberg Germany. The description of the record is “List of all allied Nationals and all other foreigners, German Jews and stateless etc. who were temporarily or permanently stationed in the community, but are no longer in residence.” So, I took this to mean that my uncle resided there but as of 27 March 1947 was no longer living there. The records give the person’s surname, first name, place of birth, date of birth, type of housing unit, date of sojourn (stay or visit), and other details which are not completed. It looks like this information was compiled from other German records that only gave partial information.

This record shows that my Uncle Wasyl (record #7) was listed as Iwaniw, Basil (another version of Wasyl), lists place of birth as unknown, born on 20 April, 1903. It also shows he was in Steinberg as of 29 April 1943. It also shows him listed as a civilian but says his usual place of residence was unknown. The record give no indication of what happened to him after he left or was removed from Steinberg.

This now gives me another research project to find out whatever I can about the area around Steinberg to get a better idea of what other records may be available. This is in addition to find out what I can about the area around Sumingen Germany. I will next detail the record I found on my other uncle, Mykola Iwaniw.