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.
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.
Finally! My genealogy research websites are back and running on Rootsweb. The owners of Rootsweb.com (Ancestry.com) decided some time ago to shut down the hosted websites, mailing lists, and other features for security reasons. I don’t profess to know the details but I lost my bet. I bet that this was Ancestry’s way of shutting down the free genealogical services site in order to drive everyone toward Ancestry’s fee-driven services.
I was wrong. A few months ago the mailists were brought back. This gave them an opportunity to clean up quite a few under-used and obsolete maillists. That was fine because I had a few that were essentially inactive. The one that I was happy to see back as active was the Ukr-Gensearch list.
Additionally, I was happy to see that the different family research pages came back. Most notably, The Iwaniw Surname Research page. It’s been quite a while since that site has been updated and I have a lot of work to do on it. Pretty much needs to be redesigned because the information is outdated. One of the items on my list to do is to secure that information for individuals. I have already secured the family tree website but if you want access to the individual details you need to e-mail me to request the passcode for access.