Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Eastern European Church Records to the Rescue

Typically, seeking ancestors in Eastern Europe is quite time consuming. Rarely will we find family units who were stationary for generations.  But, church records will be the researcher’s best friend. 

A few key tips to working in Eastern Europe:

  1. Familiarity with location and surname - location association
  2. Be guided by a strategic research plan that allows for expansion and molding as your research unfolds
  3. Keen eye for detail.  One accent can move the researcher from one voivodeship (province), powiat (county / district), or gminas (municipalities)

Location Confusion
The structure of the voivodeship (province), powiat (county / district), or gminas (municipalities) is the first hurdle.  Researchers should be quite familiar with this location’s idiosyncrasies. 

One research project, based on US documents suggesting Galicia, lead us to Dobromil.. The surname we were researching was also seen in the area.  After coming up empty handed on our original targeted search, we uncovered a bit more about the region.  

Dobromil (given name), a given name of Slavic origin
Dobromil, Lower Silesian Voivodeship (south-west Poland)
Dobromil, Podlaskie Voivodeship (north-east Poland)
Dobromilice, a village and municipality in Prostějov District in the Olomouc Region of the Czech Republic.
Dobromil, the Polish name for the town of Dobromyl, Ukraine

Strategic Research Plan (must be fluid)
 Extensive research tying surnames and location led us  to explore Drohomyśl (Jaworów ). As I mentioned, church records can be our best friend. In the District of Jaworów in Galicia our first set of tips and hints were buried in the following locale's collections:

  • Wełykie/Velkie (Michowa Greek Catholic Center)
  • Drohomyśl (Jaworów)

Our original research plan was designed to  research in Poland, Lwow, Dobromil 1784-1875, with our target on Church Records, 1784-1875; and our research plan expanded to in Roman Catholic parish register of marriages and deaths in Wielkie Oczy, Galizien, Austria; now Wielkie Oczy (Lubaczów), Rzeszów, Poland. 

Keen Eye for Detail: Spelling is Similar but Locale is Different

This research Included Drohomyśl, Galizien, Austria; later Drohomyśl (Jaworów), Lwów, Poland; now Drohomyshl′, I︠A︡voriv, L'viv, Ukraine.

Again we began with the church records. Many of these church records are already digitized on Familysearch.org. Here are just a few of the relevant ones: 

Strzelbice, Lviv Ukraine, Stari Sambir (Starosamborski region) 
Wełykie [Velkie] Lviv Ukraine, Stari Sambir (Starosamborski region) 
Metrical Books, 1837-1894 Greek Catholic Church Kniazpol (Dobromil
Metrical books,1784-1906, Greek Catholic Church. Drohomyśl (Krakowiec), Greek Catholic Church records (births, marriages, deaths) for Drohomyśl (Krakowiec), Galizien, Austria; later Drohomyśl (Jaworów), Lwów, Poland; now Drohomyshl′, I︠A︡voriv, L′viv, Ukraine

Final Tip / Hint
Research plans must be fluid with every hint or tip uncovered. Sometimes we must expand our Research Plan to a larger daunting region to locate our answers. Enjoy the journey.

Kathleen Brandt


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