26 May 2013

Ukraine 2013: Mapping the Journey

My daughter, Katherine, and I will be leaving in a few days for Ukraine. I will be suspending my Tombstone Tuesday and Treasure Chest Thursday blog posts until I get back (unless, of course I find something wonderful and have an overwhelming need to share under those themes immediately!).

In the meantime, here is a concept map of the planned trip. I say "concept" because while we will pretty much take these routes, there is flexibility built into the schedule and things may change.

Map constructed in Google Maps, 26 May 2013

Our journey will start in the Galicia section of Ukraine, part of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. We will arrive in Lviv (A) about mid-day on 3 June. The next day we will head to Yaremche (B) with Alex Dunai (our genealogist, translator and guide) to take in Hutsel culture. I had hoped to hike Mt. Hoverla, the highest point (6762 feet) in Ukraine, but we've already had to change that plan due to a foot injury Katherine, my daughter, suffered yesterday. 

After at least looking at Mt. Hoverla we'll wend our way back to Lviv through the Carpathian Mountains. We will stop at Bolekhiv (C), the shtetl that Daniel Mendelsohn wrote about in his book The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million. I am finally getting around to reading it. Alex Dunai is featured as Mendelsohn's Ukrainian genealogist.

My first family shtetl stop will be at Skole (D). Skole is the place where Jutte Ett Barath was born on 21 January 1894 and where, her mother (also mother of David Ett, and Sophie Ett Leiner, Sarah Ett Cohn, and Chaitze Ett Rappaport) Perl Wenkert Ett died on 18 August 1895.

We will then spend a couple of days seeing the sites of Lviv and working in the archives. Records will likely be in Polish script. I have been reviewing "Reading Polish Handwritten Records," a 3-part tutorial in the Learning Center on FamilySearch.org.

After Lviv, we will once again head south to continue treading the ground where my Wenkert and Liebross (maternal) relatives trod: Kolomyya (E), Chernivtsi (G) and Zalishchyky (F), Ustechko and Torskie. By the way, I have not been able to put Ustechko on the above map (I didn't even attempt mapping Torskie!). Each time I ask Google Maps to include Ustechko, Google places a dot north of Ternopil - way off from Ustechko's actual location just north of Zalishchyky. So, I had Google Maps place a dot near Chortkiv (H), which is a little north of Ustechko.

I am really looking forward to Kamyanets-Podilskyy (I). The photos I've seen indicate a picturesque location: a walled town with a castle. One of my floater "relatives," Samuel Myers (nee Zise Malzmann) lived in K-P before emigrating to the United States.

Visits to the archives in Khmelnitsky (J) and Zhytomir (O) will mark my entrance to the old Russian Empire and Volhynia Gubernia and my father's side of the family (Garber, Mazewitsky/Morris, Malzmann, and Kesselman). The Family History Library has been unable to film any records for Yurovshchina [once Labun (K) and Lubin], Gritsev (M) and Polonnoye (L). These towns, having been neither part of Poland nor the Austro-Hungarian Empire since about 1795 , have no records in the Warsaw archives (accessible to JRI-Poland). So, the best bet is checking the Ukrainian Archives. The records will likely be in Russian script. I'm working on understanding that, too.

I hope to not only find family records but to locate village records for Labun, Gritsev, Polonnoye and Baranovka that may be acquired, perhaps at a later date, for use by other Jewish researchers.

I'm trying not to be too excited about setting foot in Yurovshchina. I just don't know what to expect. But I will come prepared with early 20th Century maps for comparison sake and a photo the the bath house (pictured here) repaired with the American Joint Distribution Committee's help in 1923. I'd like to see if we can locate where it was located in the town. I want to know where the Jewish section was. I want to visit the cemetery - if there still is one. And I want to know where the Jewish people lived. 

I know that many Jewish people were slaughtered along with their Jewish neighbors from Polonnoye in a location near Polonnoye. I want to go there, too. 

I would like to visit Baranovka (N) so I can see the town where Feiga Grinfeld (Fannie Greenfield) was born. I've written so many posts about her, I've an investment (!). 

We'll end our trip with a few days in Kiev (P) and then fly home on 22 June. I hope to have my iPad and Dropbox folders filled with photos to share. If all goes well, I'll be able to blog a bit about my trip as it happens. If not, I'll be sure to post quite a bit when I return to the United States.


  1. What an ambitious trip! I was pleased to see you will be going to my ancestral town of Kamyanets-Podilskiyy. Alex took us there in 2011 (please tell him hello from me). It is quite a picturesque place with its Disneyland-like castle. I will follow your travels and observations with great interest.

    1. Susan: I guess I'd forgotten that K-P was in your family. I always think of you associated with Dunilovichi. Of course, I have multiple allegiances, as well. Some day a trip to Kozyany, Belarus (near Dunilovichi, I believe) will be on my list as well as Radauti, Romania.

      For some reason I feel that K-P will seem like a gateway to a different kind of adventure about mid-way thru the trip.

  2. Safe journey and BEST of luck finding ancestors and places where they lived and died. I can't wait to follow your travels via your blog entries! My grandfather was from Uzhorod (then Ungvar, Hungary) and one day I hope to visit his town.

  3. Thank you, Marian. I'm starting to get pretty excited about all this.

  4. Can't wait to read all about your trip. My husband's Segal / Siegel ancestors were from Zhytomir.

  5. Thank you Elizabeth. Keep up the good work on your blog. I enjoy reading it.

  6. It's fascinating to read about your onsite research trip. I hope you don't mind if I link to your site in an upcoming post. I like to share all the really good genealogy sites - especially about traveling. Thank you and take care.

  7. Hi, Lenore! Thank you for your comment. I am quite pleased that you wish to link to my post. As long as readers are directed to the page on my blog and can tell it is my work, I am fine with it. What is your blog URL?

  8. I haven't linked to your site yet, but I will absolutely send them directly to your site. I'm at gentraveling.com. I couldn't get your comments to take my Wordpress identity. I wish Wordpress and Blogger played a little nicer together! :o) I'll probably link to your site next week. Thanks and take care.


Comments on posts are always welcome but will be approved before posting. I actually prefer to just let people comment without going through this rigmarole, but I've recently had to delete some posts that I had not vetted before publication. So, please don't be offended. I love to hear from you!