Posts Tagged ‘family research’

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.

Back in September I had posted that I was going to research and find out about an inquiry about my father from the 1960’s that was received from the Red Cross/Red Crescent. I did sent an e-mail to the Red Cross asking for details about that inquiry.

From there it was forwarded to their International Tracing Service. The tracing service did respond to me by asking me to fill in the gaps in their files. Yet they offered me no information to satisfy my initial request. I’ll give them a little more time and then I’ll have to contact them directly by phone. Because this is a mystery I’d like to find out the answer.

When I followed up with the Red Cross about how it seemed that the process seemed a bit one sided (I provided them with more info than they provided me) but I was told that the tracing process is very complex and involved. That it may be some time before I receive any information regarding that specific inquiry. It was also mentioned that the person initiating the inquiry and my sister may be the same person. To that I had to respond.

First of all, my sister’s name and the name of the person on the inquiry are different. Why would my sister use a made up name? Secondly, my sister was living at home at the time. Why would she put a trace on my father when she knew where he was? She saw him every day. Lastly, the inquiry originated in Moscow according to the form I was sent. Up to that time my sister has not been to Moscow.

All that’s left for now is to wait for the final response.

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.

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.

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:

  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.