Return to closed and damaged church records leads to unreal success

Almost a year ago, I thought finding my maternal grandfather’s birth record, along with his siblings’, was only a fantasy from too much daydreaming. I didn’t know the exact address where my family lived nor the church they attended in the massive city of Kiev.

When my researcher, Nikita Kovalchuk,  gave me names of three churches that were near the long street where my family lived, I hoped I had picked the right church. I crossed my fingers Nikita would find my grandfather’s birth record.

My luck was that the church records for that year were damaged and closed to public viewing for at least six months.

Then, I asked Nikita to find the birth record of my grandfather’s youngest sister, a big mistake. My nervous eagerness to find the family church made me forget that she was born in a village west of Kiev.

The absence of my grand aunt’s birth record at that church was enough to convince me I picked the wrong church. I refused to give up on finding the family church.

I asked a granddaughter of the youngest grand aunt if she recalls her father mentioning any addresses where the family lived before WWII. She remembered another street where the family lived.

So I went back to Nikita and he suggested the same church that was researched eight months before. I didn’t realize he would research the same church until I looked at pictures of the church online.

Luckily, I didn’t see those photos again until my grandfather’s record was found. There was so much excitement over finding his birth record in the newly reopened church book but I wondered when my luck would run out.

Surprisingly, my luck stuck around every time Nikita looked up a birth record. He found records of three sisters.

Due to my persistence in contacting the families of my grandfather’s siblings, I had the birth dates of most siblings. I didn’t have the birth date of one sister. Three letters to her relative in Kiev never resulted in getting her birth date.

But my great-grandmother had a pattern to giving birth to her children. It seemed every two years she was having another child. Thanks to that pattern, I guessed the correct year of birth for her second daughter.

Once, I saw Nikita’s message- “Your luck is still great, so here is Nadezhda’s birth record.”, I had the biggest smile for accomplishing a goal I thought was unrealistic.

I keep a to-do list and never put this wish on the list because it seemed laughable that it could be accomplished. Now, I wish I had put it down on my to-do list. It would have been great to highlight and press delete on that goal.

With accurate research and persistence, even the wildest wish in genealogy research can come true. Negativity blocks the creativity of genealogy adventures.