Great results after keeping expectations low

I had no idea what I would get from a researcher when I paid her 100 Euros to  study my paternal grandfather’s family. I was stunned when I opened the file she sent with her e-mail message.

The researcher found the maiden name of my paternal grandfather’s mother by finding a cousin of my grandfather who died in 1917 and using the 1858 census to put pieces of information together. After I paid 100 Euros to this researcher whom I knew only from a website, I had no idea what to expect and just wanted to know my great-grandmother’s maiden name. The birth and marriage records did not include her maiden name so I thought hope was lost on her mysterious maiden name.

Well, I was blown away by what the researcher found in archives. She was able to create a family tree of siblings of my great-grandmother and her father. The tree also included the first and middle names of my great-grandmother’s mother and her paternal grandmother. The middle names also give me the first names of those women’s fathers. The family tree traces back to my great-grandmother’s great-grandfather.

So now, there is hope that I can find distant relatives of my paternal grandfather’s family. I know the siblings of my great-grandmother and that is a great advantage. So many people can name their great-grandparents but not their siblings.

Now, I will use my new information to post on, the best Russian genealogy website for researching deceased and living relatives, and genealogy forums for the region where my great-grandmother was born.

My hope is to find distant relatives who could tell me more about the life of my great-grandmother and her father’s family and the history of the family village. I know I will never find information on some family lines but hope has been found on a family line I really did not give much thought for researching.

The lesson learned here is that church records are not the only hope to find information on relatives. Census or residency records are great resources for Russian and Ukrainian genealogy research when so many church records were destroyed by wars, aging and communist pilfering.

Now, I need to decide whether I want to spend 500 Euros each on my grandfather’s mother’s and father’s lines. I will have to learn what the researcher expects to find in archives. I want to know more than names and dates for 500 Euros. I heard my great-grandmother was so poor that she walked barefoot to church and washed her feet before entering her Russian Orthodox church. I am curious whether her parents owned land and whether their professions are listed in records.

I plan to write to the elder of the village where my great-grandmother was born. Maybe someone who knew of my family still lives in the village. Writing a village elder letter worked once before. Maybe it will work this time.

Related post: Dear village elder,

4 thoughts on “Great results after keeping expectations low

      1. Yes, in addition to the language issues, there is also of course the geographical issues and the issues around the political stance of this region.

        I have just wandered into research into what was Prussia, so I guess that will be enlightening!


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