I had given up on finding the details for the marriage of my great-grandparents. Years of research uncovered so many records on them but not a clue about when was their special day.
Then I moved onto obtaining their death records from Germany. For years, I’ve worked on finding as much information as possible on their lives but I didn’t even have their death records nor any of my great-grandparents.
Starting with obtaining my maternal grandmother’s parents’ death records would be the easiest start. They are my only great-grandparents who died outside of Russia.
The process for getting records is so much easier in Germany. I have all the details of their deaths from family letters. So I started with my quiet great-grandfather Tikhon, who died in Berlin and was born in Russia.
Once I found the envelope in my mailbox from Berlin archives, I was so happy. Finally, I could say my collection of family records has a great-grandparent’s death record.
To my amazement, I got more than I bargained for when I started the process to get his death record. There on his sterbefallanzeige (death report from the hospital) were his marriage date of January 6, 1920, and place of marriage in Kyiv.
Only one other German immigration record (Einwanderungszentralstelle EWZ file) had the marriage year of 1920 but I just wanted to know the exact date. Obviously, it was my great-grandmother who provided the information because my great-grandparents didn’t have any relatives in Berlin to give that information.
Even though my Poland-born great-grandmother was 83 years when she provided the information, I think I can trust her memory due to the date. My great-grandparents were very religious.
January 6 is Russian Christmas Eve. It makes me wonder whether their marriage date is a secret way of remembering Christmas. The communists shut down the churches but my great-grandparents weren’t going to be stopped in making that day special to them.
Now that I have the full marriage date, I am hoping that Ukrainian archives will get more organized so I can one day find the marriage record. Maybe the record was destroyed by the German bombing of Kyiv.
Whatever will happen in this journey to find that marriage record, the wedding date appeared in the last place that I expected. My great-grandmother’s sterbefallanzeige from Furth archives in Bavaria didn’t even have a line for the same information.
That date gives another detail to my great-grandparents’ story. This journey proves the importance of documenting the stories of our ancestors.
I assumed everything was already known on the death records and then the documents provided an awesome surprise, thanks to each community having their own ideas about what life facts are important.
The best surprises come when hope is almost lost
The aftermath of a house fire brings surprising joy
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A shocking surprise was waiting to be discovered for 6 years