Genealogy trip as a method of collecting information

A trip to places of ancestors – this type of obtaining pedigree data is often underestimated. But in vain. This is a very productive method, provided that you correctly think through and plan your work.

Genealogy trip – travel to the village and gather information on the ground (interviewing relatives and old-timers of the village, talking with the chairman and secretary of the village council; interviewing local historians, a priest, a librarian, searching for church documents that were not transferred to archive, identification of business books, photographing of religious buildings and monuments).

Analysis of the document base – search of archival directories and descriptions of collections of archival materials of a genealogical nature (metric books, confessional murals, revision tales, family lists, civil registration acts and others) and a report with a list of identified materials .

It is advisable to go to the village by car for speed of movement. Ask the locals and be sure to introduce yourself. When they find out whose relative you are, they happily begin to help. It is advisable to arrive in the village at 9-10 in the morning of the working day, this ensures that the secretary of the village council is in place and you do not have to look for him in the village.

The main purpose of visiting the village council is to look at household books (household books) for the oldest years that have survived. Usually this is 1944-1946, and sometimes it’s lucky to find books on 1936-1941.

A business book is a kind of census of the population in a village, where one household is indicated on a separate page. Additional information that is noted is the head of the yard and all other family members living in this yard. Indicate age (or year of birth), nationality, literacy, where each member of the family works or studies. You can find information about buildings, the amount of land, crops and plantations, beekeeping, livestock of this farm.

Explain to the secretary that you need this to study the pedigree or to determine the nationality of the ancestor, so you can meet serious resistance if you suspect that you are claiming land. As a rule, all namesakes in the village are one family and analysis of other families gives clues about the main family. If you are not willing to give books, ask the secretary to review them yourself and let you see the sheets regarding your family. Sometimes they require supporting documents that you are a family member or an authorized representative. Therefore, it is advisable to take documents confirming this with you.

Household books, this is only part of the work of the village council. The secretary, chairman and other workers of the village council are a storehouse of information about which family members still live in the village, who is a local historian in the village, which of the old-timers you can ask for information about, where the priest lives, where the school is, if they heard from anyone there may be church documents and a ton of other information.

So to summarize. Who should I talk to in the village:

  • Village council workers.
  • Former village council workers.
  • Local history experts.
  • History teacher.
  • Librarian.
  • Priest – especially if he is local.
  • Old-timers who are not even relatives.
  • Senior family members.
  • People who engage in green tourism in the village.

Be sure to ask everyone for old church documents if they know who they might have. Explain that you are not going to pick them up, but just want to review them (resistance often arises through such a suspicion).

Try to ask for as many senior family members as possible. If they don’t know anything about them, ask at least the middle name of their children.

Often, when you ask when a grandfather or great-grandfather died, the elderly cannot remember. They can be helped by asking additional questions:

  • Before the revolution or after?
  • In the famine or after?
  • Before or after the war?
  • Before or after your wedding?
  • Before or after your baby?

Thus, you can significantly narrow the search range, and sometimes find out the exact year.

Good luck in finding.