The struggle to research my Skibinsky ancestry has been stuck on the fact that I did not know where my great-grandparents married. Yesterday, I learned that information has been in my house for five years.
Three years ago, I asked a friend in Moscow to translate a hand-written paragraph on my great-grandmother’s high school diploma. I only knew the oldest brother of my grandmother wrote something about his parents’ marriage. My friend could not translate the paragraph because the writing was so small. My Ukrainian-born mother had the same problem.
This week, I asked a guy I met on All-Russia Family Tree’s forum to help me translate the paragraph after I was close to giving up on researching on my Skibinsky ancestry.
I received two upsetting e-mail messages in one day. The Taganrog archive office director told me her office did not have further information on the oldest son of my great-grandparents. I wanted to know his birthplace to determine where his parents married.
Then the guy from the forum said Lugansk archives in Ukraine changed its policy so that ancestry must be proven for any research done in its office. I probably cannot prove ancestry to my grand uncle under the archive office’s restrictions. Thankfully, the guy obtained scans of four other grand uncles’ birth records in May before the policy went into effect.
So I asked the guy to translate the hand-written paragraph in case there was a chance that my grand uncle wrote more than the marriage date. Within a day, the guy sends me a message with the hand-written paragraph retyped.
My grand uncle wrote which church in Kharkiv where my great-grandparents married and listed the priest and altar server for the ceremony. So now, I am waiting for an answer from Kharkiv archives to see whether it has my great-grandparents’ marriage record.
My grandmother told my father that her mother’s family came from Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine. But that did not make sense. Her mother was born 858 miles away in Kazan, according to her high school diploma. My grandmother also enjoyed telling stories that weren’t true so I have been waiting for some undeniable evidence that my Skibinsky family came from Kharkiv.
If the archive office finds my great-grandparents’ marriage record, several doors may open. The record could have the maiden names of my great-grandparents’ mothers, information missing from my family tree. I know a respected researcher to study my Skibinsky family. About a month ago, a woman with Skibinsky ancestry from Kharkiv e-mailed me but I cannot connect our families together yet. If the mother of my great-grandfather has a Don Cossack surname, I can probably get extensive information on her family for $10 from a book by Sergei Koryagin.
My Russian and Ukrainian genealogy search involves a lot of frustration but I shouldn’t give up hope easily. I have to look under every rock for information because I never know where information will appear. I highly recommend never trashing any family documents even if they are faded or have horrible handwriting. A person who has the ability to read the documents may be out there.