In doing my family research I have had to rely on verbal information I have received from my parents. One of the things that I was told was that my parents came from Ulm, Germany to America. I presumed that they were interred in the labor camp there during WWII. I presumed that there time in Germany was spent in Ulm, that they met there, got married there, and my sister was born there.
Again, verbal information. I decided to search and find any and all documents pertaining to my parents time in Ulm, Germany. To that end I made contact with someone working a the city archives in Ulm, the deputy director Ulrich Seemüller. I gave him as much information as I knew but he wasn’t able to locate any information. He e-mailed me back asking for the name of the companies that my parents worked at while in the forced labor camp. That information I didn’t have. I replied that all I knew was that my father said that he was a cobbler (shoemaker) while in Germany.
So I was pleasantly surprised when Mr. Seemüller sent me another e-mail providing me with documentation of useful information. What his information provided was that 1. yes, my sister was born in Ulm, Germany, but 2. while my parents were living in Ulm, Germany at that time, they were married in Sulmingen, Germany. Wow. I didn’t know that. Now, I get to update the information I know and have a whole new locale to search.
My next step will be to contact Mr. Werneke in Germany pertaining to this new information that I got. Mr. Werneke has done extensive research on labor camps in Germany. Hopefully, he can help me research those in the Sulmingen/Maselheim region.
I’ve had a couple of people ask me how and why I got started in researching my family history. I had to think back but essentially I was curious to know if one of my uncles, who was never heard from after WWII, was still living somewhere in the world or possibly I could connect with a descendant of his. My uncles name was Wasyl Iwaniw and he was born in 1903. The only picture I have is the scanned photo below.
I just started asking my father questions about him. When I got the required equipment I borrowed the hardcopy photo from my parents and scanned the picture.
I knew about my father’s other siblings and I met my dad’s other brother, Ivan, when he came to visit us from Ukraine. My Uncle Ivan was born 1908 and had 5 children. I also got some family information from him when he was visiting. But his visit was prior to my interest in the family history so I didn’t get the details that would be of use to me later on. Unfortunately, my Uncle Ivan passed away in 1981.
My father had another brother whose whereabouts are unknown also. His name was Mychola Iwaniw and he was born in 1910. He was also never heard from after WWII.
The last sibling of my father’s that I knew about and living in Ukraine was his sister, Marika Iwaniw who was born in 1905 and had 3 children. My Aunt Marika passed away in 1992. She was the last of my father’s siblings.
Because I am the first generation that was born in the US my information is limited to what I was able to get from my father. I have very little documentation and what documents my parents did have have been sequestered by my sister. I have an extremely low probability of getting my hands on them so I have to use other methods to try to acquire the documentation I need.
As I posted before, I have limited amounts of records to research in the United States. I am the first generation of my family to be born in the US so my research takes me immediately to Eastern Europe for both my parents.
With the help of other Ukrainian family researchers from a maillist I belong to, I was able to locate some records to help me with my family research. It was suggested that instead of focusing on the specific surname at FamilySearch.org, that I instead search out my father’s home village. When I did that I came up with a lot of records regarding Lutowiska. These records were microfilmed by the LDS but haven’t been transcribed or indexed. This makes it a major challenge.
What I will end up having to do is to visually scan each frame of the microfilm looking for the relevant information. To add to the difficulty is the fact that there is no table of content and everything is written in cursive. Just one set of birth, marriage, baptismal, and death records is 879 individual frames. When I did a quick perusal of random pages, they didn’t seem to be in any alphabetic order but were in date sequence. That doesn’t help if you don’t know the specific date of an event. Another issue is the date ranges of the records that are available (i.e. 1864-1879) which then precludes me from searching for events that happened outside of that range. And lastly, there is a disclaimer with the records that some records were not able to be scanned because the pages were too damaged to scan or too faded/illegible to scan.
But this will be a long and tedious undertaking and hopefully will pay off by finding the records I need. I have found an online tool, Evernote, that is of great help in saving whatever information and resources I do locate so that I can go back to them at a later date.