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.
In conducting your own family history research you tend to come across records and documents that uncover additional names and places for you to research. It’s never that cut and dry. I have come across one such record.
Previously I had posted that I found a record about a passenger in the Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger List Index Cards, 1883-1948 that might be my grandfather, Mychajlo Iwaniw. That record showed 2 other names that I had never heard of before, Mytro Iwaniw and Kasia Iwaniw. It’s Mytro Iwaniw that piques my interest. The record as shown in Exhibit #1, states that Mychajlo was visiting his brother, Mytro and that Mychajlo’s passage was paid for by said brother.
The interesting part is the birth year. The record in Exhibit #1 shows Mychajlo’s age as 28. This would calculate to 1883 as his birth year. This coincides with my estimation of his birth year based on my Uncle Wasyl’s birth year of 1903. At the time of my Uncle Wasyl’s birth my grandfather would have been about 20 years old. This seems reasonable. So, now I’ve got the birth year for Mychajlo as 1883 (1911 – 28 =1883). Now we need to locate additional documents/records for Mytro (or Mitro or Dmytro) Iwaniw from Pennsylvania. What we come up with is Mytro (Americanized as Mitro) Iwaniw World War I draft registration record as shown in Exhibit #2. In looking at Mytro’s draft registration record you’ll note that his birthday is listed as November 4, 1883. His birth year is 1883, the same as Mychajlo’s. Is it possible that they were twins? Or was their mother gave birth to Mychajlo in January 1883 and got pregnant with Mytro in February 1883. Without actual records it’s all conjecture at this point. It’s all speculation. Documents are what I need to be able to fill in the family history puzzle. I have not been able to locate any records online that cover the year 1883 for the village of Lutowiska. But I’m still searching.
When I was growing up and I would ask my father about my grandfather (my father’s father) I would be told that he died when my father was a baby. My father’s answer was that he died when my father was a baby and he didn’t remember him. OK. I can understand that but my father never related any stories about him that may have been passed down to him. It was as if when my grandfather died he ceased to exist. It was like his life was erased when he died.
I started my family research because I was interested in finding out about my other uncles, Wasyl and Mykola. I had met my Uncle Ivan when he came to visit from Ukraine in the 70’s. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the foresight to ask him for any details about the family or about my grandfather. Opportunities missed are opportunities lost. But at that time I had no interest in researching my family’s history.
So fast-forward a couple of decades (to the 1990’s) and I start to research my family history and like many others just starting out I’m a newbies who really doesn’t know what he’s doing. I started out with in using Family Tree Maker to enter my family information and used the built-in web page builder to publish the information. In doing so I got an e-mail from someone in Australia who told me that her grandfather’s name was also Mychajlo Iwaniw and he was from the village of Lutowiska. Coincidence? Could it be that my grandfather didn’t die as my father told me?
I think one of the things that one has to remember is that divorce was a stigma. It could be that my grandfather divorces my grandmother and instead of telling my father that his father left he was told that he died. That is what I am currently searching for in the old records from Galicia/Poland. Prior to the end of World War I the area where my father was born would have still been considered Galicia and part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was only after 11 November 1918 that the Austro-Hungarian Empire was broken up and Galicia ceased to exist. Technically, my father was born in Galicia, Austria. So, my search involves finding any records containing Mychajlo Iwaniw from Lutowiska from about 1880 through the 1920’s. The record may be in the archives in either Lviv, Ukraine or Przemysl, Poland or both.
This is a case where it may be necessary to hire a professional researcher who is local to the archives and can actually locate all of the relevant records. There has to be either a death record for my grandfather or multiple civil marriage records for him.
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.
Previously I posted that I had requested additional information on someone I found on Arolsen Archives. A few days ago I received some copies of documents pertaining to Mykola Iwaniw. I have concluded, based on the birthday and location of his birth, that this was my father’s brother. I also located his information on the Arolsen Archive databases that were available at Ancestry.com. What I can gather from these documents is that my Uncle Mykola (Nicholas) was in Germany in the mid-1940’s. The new documents that I received show that he was employed in Marbuger, Germany. It doesn’t give any information that I can see as to his occupation. One of the documents I received, A.E.F. ASSEMBLY CENTER REGISTRATION CARD lists a wife, Anna (nee Gohlert) born 14 October 1926. In addition, this card also lists a son named Sorian who was born on 18 July 1946. This card also shows their destination as Allendorf Krs, Marburg.
In doing additional research I found a Sorian Iwaniw in Marburg, Germany. The information shows that Sorian passed away on 30 November 2018 in Marburg. An interesting aspect of all of this is that during the time that my Unlce Mykola and family were living in Marburg, my father and his family were living in Ulm, Germany which was 4 hours drive south of them. Did they even know that each other existed? I think they did. I base this belief because of another document that I received from Arolsen Archoves pertaining to my father. Details on this will follow.