A learning lesson in a Ukrainian registry office

I was hoping to find the marriage record of paternal great-grandparents in Kharkiv archives. I found a very resourceful guy on a Russian genealogy forum to help me get the record. This experience has taught me a lot.

Ukrainian archives are getting stricter about access to their records. I was shocked to learn that my great-grandparents’ marriage record from 1890 was still in the registry office. I didn’t think this search would become a major headache because my great-grandparents were born more than 130 years ago.

But people are using officially released archive documents to sue Kharkiv to recover property taken during World War II and the communist era. So researching the last great-grandparent line in my family tree has become a headache. I paid this man $100 so he could extract information from my great-grandparents’ marriage record.

This man knew my agenda was to get my great-grandparents’ birthplaces and parents’ names. Two months after I paid him, he tells me that this information is not available on marriage records from this time period. He did confirm the registry office has the marriage record but he cannot try to get me any information from this record unless I e-mail him a power of attorney document and records that prove ancestry.

So I had enough. I will write to Kharkiv registry office myself and provide proof of ancestry through family documents. Hopefully, the office will tell me whether the marriage record has the information I want. I already have a good portion of the marriage record rewritten on my great-grandmother’s high school diploma.

I also recently asked the researcher to check whether the birth record of my grandmother’s brother can be found at Kharkiv registry office. He did not answer my question about this record. The researcher wanted $200 to check for the marriage and birth records and extract information from the records. I negotiated the price down to $100, not knowing the disappointment and anger I would face two months later.

I am relieved that I have so much ancestry in Russia. The Russian registry offices usually have records from 1920 and later so I have avoided proving ancestry to research my ancestors. Thankfully, Kharkiv is the last registry office for my Ukrainian genealogical research.

So the lesson learned is that it is better to obtain information from registry offices on your own. A researcher cannot breakthrough the wall of rules at the registry offices.

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