Each genealogy researcher at any level, a beginner or an experienced specialist, has encountered difficulties that complicate the process of constructing a family tree and searching for information about the genus.
Such difficulties are the lack of friendliness of some archives to the “newcomers” in the genealogical business, the lack of documents, ignorance of the structure and specifics of the search in archives, and others. All these difficulties can be neutralized and you will now learn how to do it.
The unfriendliness of some archives
Workers in some archives are notable for their friendliness and friendliness, especially regarding people who come there for the first time. They are faced with the aggression of workers who simply do not want to explain the nuances of work. Like, why do you need it. This boils down to the fact that an archive guide is thrown onto the table of such a researcher – and this is such a thick book – that’s all. And a person simply does not know what to do.
In order to remove the negative impression of the first trip to the archive and spend time as productively as possible, you need to prepare. First of all, before you come to the archive, you need to know the name of the settlement where the ancestors lived, to which territorial units it belonged at different times; faith of ancestors, social status (peasants, petty bourgeois, odnodvoryaty, military, office workers, nobles). You need to take your passport with you and write an application so that you are allowed to work in the archive.
The first stage of the work — viewing the descriptions of the funds — you need to write out documents for the locality and order them for delivery from the reading room workers.
Ignorance of sources where information can be stored
Today, there are a large number of archival documents, the information from which is enough to find out a considerable amount of information about members of your family and make a family tree. Not knowing where exactly the information about the genus can be contained significantly “slows down” further searches and there may be an erroneous impression that compiling a pedigree is an absolutely futile exercise.
The main sources of archival information are: metric books, revision tales, confessional information. Metric books – began to be kept in churches since 1722. Usually they have three parts – birth, marriage and death. Audit tales – documents in which “per capita” accounting of the population was carried out in accordance with the new tax system. Confession Sheet is a roll-call register of parishioners who have confessed to the priest. Also, biographical information can be found in the following documents: formulary (track record) lists, clerical records, recruitment sheets, local censuses, investigative and judicial cases, etc.
Some archival materials are digitized, and a significant part will need to be viewed in person.
Ignorance of the archive structure, where to start the search
Often people have no idea how to search for archived data. Difficulties arise of a different nature – from where exactly the information can be stored (in the types of archival institutions) to the types of documents that contain the information.
In order to know where to start the search, you need to engage in self-education and communicate with like-minded people, more experienced genealogies. We recommend reading thematic forums, articles on specialized resources about the specifics of various types of documents, what information they may contain, in which archives they are stored. If difficulties arise – feel free to seek advice.
Lack of document reading experience
Almost all archival documents are handwritten. There are documents in the Old Slavonic language, one has to train the eye in the skill of deciphering various handwritings – both exemplary calligraphic and close to “medical”. To a bad handwriting, a peculiar writing style of past centuries can also be added.
This is not the most hopeless problem, because it is solved with experience, however, in the beginning, working with a document can be time-consuming and require considerable effort and patience.
Missing some documents or a specific period
Both beginners and experienced researchers face this challenge, because in our history there have been periods when a large number of archival documents were destroyed due to the war, natural disasters and for other reasons.
If you do not find the necessary documents in the archive, you need to contact other archival institutions – another regional archive, where documents of this settlement can be stored, and important information can also be found in the funds of rural administrations and in local churches.
In pedigree research, perseverance, endurance and a great desire are needed. If all these qualities are present – obstacles that stand in the way will be only an opportunity to acquire new skills and improve skills in compiling a family tree.
Good luck in finding.