It takes piece by piece to finally discover the gems from my family’s history. Now after a few years, I can pinpoint the location of my family’s 18th century farm on Google Maps.
Thanks to the hard work of a local historical society, I finally have the history of my paternal 5th great-grandparents’ farm from 1794. That farm is now a small village noted on Wikipedia here.
My 5th-great-grandfather Alexsei Kirsanov was a Don Cossack major who was granted land along the Sal River in southern Russia and started the farm. Less than a decade later, he died and his wife Martha was noted as wife of the village mayor.
Today, the farm is a healthy village of more than 500 people with a school, cultural center and medical centers. So hope exists that this village could still exist when I am able to visit the ancestral roots of my paternal grandmother’s family.
Then even more family history came my way. I noticed the name of another village detailed with a history carried the same name as the surname of my 4th-great-grandmother on the same webpage. I learned that a distant cousin- 7th cousin Lt. Col. Ivan Mikhailovich Kuznetsov- donated his land for the construction of a church after his death. His grandfather was my 6th-great-grandfather.
Thanks to my 6th cousin in the USA, I was able to connect this distant cousin from the 18th century to my family. The family of my 6th cousin wrote about their Don Cossack ancestry in a book after visiting archives in St. Petersburg.
That research resulted in me finding the booklet written by researcher Sergei Koryagin on my Don Cossack Kuznetsov family back to the early 1700s for a mere $10 US dollars.
So how did this journey all start? I stopped researching only in English and switched my journey to Russian. After finding the All Russian Family Tree Forum, translated into English by Google Translate, I discovered my 6th cousin (connected to me by a 5th-great-grandfather) with all the information one state way.
That’s all it took for this domino effect. Get out of your comfort zone and doors will keep opening to the history of your ancestors.
Discovering Don Cossack ancestry the easy way