13 June 2013

Ukrainian Pet Cows and other oddities, 12-13 June 2013

We spent the last couple of days at the archives in Khmelnitsky. It has been a somewhat strange day. We had planned to go to Medzhibizh (home of the Hassidic leader the Baal Shem Tov) this morning and then return to the archives this afternoon.  The local contemporary record office (called the ZAGs office) told us they'd turned over all the Khmelnitsky province records through 1935 to the Khmelnitsky Archive. So we went back to the archive this morning and made some additional requests for records. By the time we finished, time had flown by. We cancelled Medzhibizh.

Most of the items requested based upon the archives own record inventory lists turned out not to be available. Yesterday, we placed an order for more than a dozen record books. We received only a few and some of the records did not seem to match locations documented in the archive inventory list. There were a few reasons cited for the lack of results. Principally, they did not find the record and are researching its whereabouts (not a good sign).

We noted that the archives inventory listed some old maps of Labun (also known now as Yurovshchina). Alex has been heavily involved in the Gesher Galicia map project, so we were pretty excited about the prospect of finding maps for Volhynian towns. Well, never mind. The Labun ones are, apparently, is such bad shape (mildew or something) that they are said to be unreadable and are unavailable to view or use.

We did get to go over a couple of books with metrical records (about 1921-1935) from the Polonne area (including Labun) and located some records with some of the surnames I am researching. None of these are immediately recognizable as family members, so there is more work to do. 

We thought to work at the archives tomorrow morning, but have decided that it is not worth the effort at this point. Alex and I will discuss future research strategy for record identification and collection.

In the meantime, I will leave you with what has become my favorite bucolic scene in Ukraine: a person alone in the field walking his/her pet cow. Sometimes the cows are tied to a stake. More often, they are on a leach. This particular shot was taken along the road to Khmelnitsky.

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