My search for my maternal grandfather’s family in Kiev started moving fast three years ago when I found a nephew online. He had posted information on my grandfather’s family on Всероссийское генеалогическое древо. Sadly, the nephew died two years before my Russian friend called his house but his children shared their father’s enthusiasm to find us.
I have been determined to find relatives of each sibling of my grandfather. He had one brother and four sisters. I am lucky that most of the relatives talk to each other because no one carries the family name in Kiev. My grandfather’s brother only had girls and his sisters naturally used their married names.
Not everyone in my family in Kiev shares my joy for genealogy and interest in connecting with a cousin who appeared out of nowhere. Also, it is hard for me to determine how to connect with some cousins who only have a great-grandfather in common with me.
That is why it is important to collect information on all relatives from the family and search for relatives from the entire family. Sometimes, people just want to find favorite relatives. Finding only favorite relatives may be a harder task than expected or may result in finding relatives who are not interested in connecting with unknown family.
Thanks to my determination to contact each line in my grandfather’s family, I have photos of my great-grandfather as a young man with his father, my great-grandparents as a newly engaged couple, the house where my grandfather and siblings lived in Kiev and photos of his siblings when they were youth and older parents.
The amount of information I have on my grandfather’s family is unbelievable. My mother only knew her father’s siblings’ names, the family lived in Kiev and that her grandfather was a sculptor. Now, I have reached relatives from each sibling. That is quite an accomplishment when I started with hardly any information.
My most recently found relative was discovered on Odnoklassniki, the most popular Russian version of Facebook. Not all Russians are comfortable with Facebook yet. I had the full name of a granddaughter of the grand aunt whose family had been impossible to find. By luck, I found a woman with the same name who was from the family. The cousin is eager to talk to a relative of her grandmother’s family.
Odnoklassniki is a great resource for finding relatives. You can search by name and city/town in Russian and English and narrow down results by using age ranges. It is much easier to find relatives on Odnoklassniki than on Facebook but Odnoklassniki requires registration before using its website for searches.
Finding family in Russia and Ukraine is quite a task for many reasons. With an extra effort, success will be achieved and great family connections will be made.