Assumptions in genealogy can lead to years of frustration. I had been annoyed for years that I couldn’t document my great-grandfather’s birthdate and birthplace. The why behind my years of frustrations was revealed this week.
Thanks to a member of a Russian genealogy group on Facebook, I learned about a file on my great-grandfather at Russian State Military Historical Archive in Saint Petersburg.
I didn’t know what could be in this file but I was hoping it wasn’t information already known to me. A researcher has found so much information on my great-grandfather in that archive.
Once, I saw scans from the file, I knew something important was right in front of me. My ability to read Russian cursive is limited so I was grateful for help from a member of my genealogy group on Facebook.
The file had my great-grandfather’s full birthdate, birthplace, place of baptism and parents’ address. Years of frustration finally switched to accomplishment.
I could finally put his full birthdate into the family tree but I had to change his birthplace to a city 92 kilometers from the family Don Cossack village.
For years, I tried to prove he was born in the family Cossack village. The records for his birth year for that village are missing from archives. I still assumed he was born there. I even tried to find proof his parents married in the Cossack village but the village’s records for that year also are missing from archives.
Thanks to this getting scans of the latest file, I finally have pictures and postcards of my great-grandfather’s churches for his baptism, wedding and funeral. That is a first for any of my great-grandparents.
Once I calmed down from the excitement of finding all this information, I contacted my researcher for the area where my great-grandfather was born. She quickly wrote back that records for that decade are missing at archives for his actual birthplace.
This is the second genealogy joke on me for researching my great-grandfather. A local author wrote a book about my father’s hometown that included information extracted from the death record of his grandfather (the same great-grandfather) 10 years ago. My researcher can’t find the record in archives. Now, my great-grandfather’s baptism record is missing from archives but Russian State Military Historical Archive has it extracted in a file from 1879, when he was 15 years old.
This journey shows assuming facts can lead to years of frustration and the importance of never giving up on documenting ancestors.
An unreal surprise appears when research on a great-grandfather seems stalled
Untraditional source reveals the death of a great-grandfather
Determination to get one record leads to a pile of records on family mysteries
The best surprises come when hope is almost lost