Thanks for skimping on your taxes, great-grandpa

borkaIt’s been a challenge to document the life of my great-grandfather until recently. An acquaintance from a forum messaged me out of nowhere with a 1922 census record.

I had to laugh when I realized what I was looking at. My grandmother and mother told me stories of great-grandpa’s stinginess. He went even so far to hide his German marks under his mattress so the “bank couldn’t take his money.”

Luckily for me, he tried to pay as little as possible for his taxes as a tailor in a village outside of Kiev, Ukraine, in 1922.

That census record, showing great-grandpa not paying enough taxes, finally documented that my family really lived in the village where my grandmother was born. It wasn’t just that my great-grandmother was visiting the village when my grandmother was born.

In the last year, the acquaintance looked in the village’s cemetery and couldn’t find any relatives buried there, making me wonder if the family lived there for an extended time. Now that question is answered with the 1922 census record my great-grandpa never thought his great-granddaughter would see 94 years later.

Then the acquaintance poked around in archives and hit the jackpot. He found a document that details my great-grandfather as a leadership member of a Russian Baptist church in the village in 1922. Apparently, it didn’t matter to the Baptist church that great-grandpa wasn’t a loyal taxpayer.

My great-grandparents met in a Baptist church, according to a niece and other relatives. Now I am confident the document finally reveals the name of the church, which still exists in the village that has grown to a town.

By luck, a grand-niece of my grandfather (son-in-law of great-grandpa) lives near this church. I’m awaiting a photo of this church that brought my great-grandparents together.

Getting to this point wasn’t quick and easy. I first met the acquaintance on a forum for the family village, which is now bigger than the town where I live, five years ago. Now that forum is corrupt with malware, according to my computer firewall that blocks me from that forum.

I added the acquaintance as a friend on Russian social network 18 months ago after seeing that he was an active member on, the largest Russian language genealogy forum, and lives in my grandmother’s birthplace.

Then, I asked him to look at the cemeteries in his town for my relatives. Nothing was found but a month ago he sent me a scan of the 1922 census that mentioned my great-grandfather.

The art of success in genealogy is similar to making wine. Rush research in genealogy and the results will be as tasty as overripe grapes shoved in a bottle and poured too quickly.

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