It’s been a while since I updated my research status. Since the last update I’ve really not been able to get any more information. I’ll have to go back and review what I’ve accumulated so far and pick up where I left off. I also need to go back to Arolsen Archives- International Center and see if I can find additional information.
I’ve pretty much concluded the review of the data I received previously from Arolsen pertaining to my father. I have a fairly good understanding of my father’s timeline in Germany from 1942 to 1950. I know that he was taken from his home in Lutowiska, Ukraine to Germany in 1942 as forced labor. Up until the end of the war my father worked as a farm hand. Then in Ulm, Germany my father was a cobbler (shoemaker) until he and the family emigrated to the US.
I may need to hire a professional genealogical researcher located in Ukraine to physically go to the archives and located my father’s vital records. But I need to get additional information as to which archives and which specific records. I also need to properly vet prospective researchers before I hire them. If anyone has any input or ideas about this I’d appreciate hearing from you.
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.
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.