I don’t give up easily to find records in archives. The known facts are checked several times before I send a researcher to search through records.
That wasn’t enough when a researcher looked in two areas of an archive for my great-grandfather’s death record. The joke was on us because someone else managed to find the record more than 15 years ago.
A man was so intrigued by the city where my great-grandfather lived in southern Russia that he wrote a book about people who lived on or near the main street.
Thanks to this book by Oleg Pavlovich Gavryushkin, I know my great-grandfather died of heart failure and had his funeral service in 1912 at the Assumption Cathedral in Taganrog, where archives had a record of my grandmother being christened 10 years earlier.
That book was published 15 years ago but the author died 10 years ago, a day after my first son was born. I was a bit too late to thank the author for his book and ask where he got his information.
Sadly, the church doesn’t stand anymore, thanks to the communist government that pillaged the valuables and later knocked down the church for a public restroom that no longer exists.
Thankfully the history of this church is well-known, with the work of historian Pavel Petrovich Filevsky. It helps fill in the emptiness of not finding the death record in archives.
The history gives me more appreciation of the family church, where famous Russian author Anton Chekhov also was christened. The future Czar Nikolai II , Czar Alexander II and Czar Alexander III also visited this church.
This was a church of note and my family walked the same place as three czars and the family of Anton Chekhov, whose parents married in the church.
A further look into the book by Gavryushkin gave me an even fuller picture of the city that my father’s four grandparents picked as their final residence.
The same street as my great-grandparents lived was the locations for the last palace of Czar Alexander I and house of Russian composer Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s brother that was visited by the composer.
Now that I know this, I wish I had a chance to ask my father about how much he knew about the history and culture that surrounded him in Taganrog. Just like my grandmother, my own father died close to my 10th birthday.
A search for my great-grandfather’s death record didn’t result in finding the document but showed me the better and more important story that surrounded his life.
Old address book online breaks down brickwall on a family photo
A shocking surprise was waiting to be discovered for 6 years
Journey to find one record breaks down a brickwall on 3rd great-grandfather’s family
One detail completely changes the story of great-great-great-grandpa’s life