The best gifts really come in small packages. The discovery of a small forum that only spread over two pages can be credited to learning about my 3rd great-grandmother’s family back to the 1600s.
It’s pretty lucky to make this breakthrough. The forum was deleted a few months ago. Timing is everything, especially when things go poof on the Internet without warning.
Adding my 9th great-grandfather from this family onto my family tree was hardly a quick and easy process. I found the post by my 8th cousin, once removed, on our common surname from the same village on a Russian language genealogy forum in October 2012. Not a moment was spared to contact her.
It only was two weeks ago that I got the family tree that shows we are connected through my 7th great-grandfather, who was her 8th great-grandfather. This family line comes from her paternal grandmother and my 3rd great-grandmother. That’s what I call a distant cousin.
My cousin’s first e-mail message had the subject line- Здравствуйте двоюродный сестрa Кондрашeвa (Hello cousin Kondrasheva) in October 2012. She was convinced we were related through an ancestor in the 1600s or 1700s. Her hunch was proven correct more than 4 years later.
I asked my researcher in Kursk to look at her family tree and see if he could connect our families three years ago. Nothing he found in old census records showed we were related. His research was looking at my direct ancestors, but not siblings and their families.
We stayed in contact on Facebook, with hope of figuring out this mystery. My cousin got busy with her own researcher to find as many documents as possible on her paternal grandmother’s family from Kursk Region archives and Russian State Archives of Ancient Acts.
It was only a few weeks ago that documents confirmed the relationship to my cousin in Moscow. Her researcher’s thorough look at census records for siblings of my direct ancestors was the key to solving the mystery of our relationship.
I’ve lost count of the number of people my cousin’s researcher put in the family tree. It took several days for me to translate the names from Russian to English and add my distant cousins to my family tree.
I’m starting to lose count of the relatives I’ve found online. Only one Russian family found me on an English language website and everyone else found me on Russian language genealogy forums.
All thanks to using Google Translate and forcing myself to get comfortable with Russian language genealogy forums, I’ve connected with family throughout Russia and Ukraine. It’s amazing what can happen when your comfort zone is left behind.