Beginners to Galician genealogy think that finding
documents related to their ancestors is the most difficult task. However,
advanced genealogists who've found their ancestral home and associated records
quickly learn that the real work comes with reading and digesting the
information found on the vital records.
I've put together a few pages discussing the common
issues of dealing with various foreign language first and last names, as well as
the place names of our ancestral homes and continuing border changes.
I've also added extraction forms which can be downloaded
reader, which is a free utility found on the web. You can duplicate
these forms and take them with you to when you go the read your vital records,
either at your local Family History Center or at an archive in Ukraine or
Poland. The forms are easy to use and guide you to record the specific
information in a neat and organized way. From these sheets you can enter
the information into your genealogical software program at home at your leisure.
By all means, try to obtain copies of the originals!! If
looking at microfilms at a Family History Center, pay the extra fee, if
possible, to get a photocopy.
If working with an archive oversees, the cost of
photocopies should at least be considered. Although the archive staff will not
photocopy an entire parish registry for you, it would be invaluable to have
photocopies of your direct relatives. When requesting information through the
mail or in person, ask politely for the availability of such photocopies.
Sometimes archives will not photocopy pages from the
registry book, but will rather type up the information in a letter for you. Of
course, you must be satisfied with this if this is all that they’ll provide. As
you know, any time that you or someone else copies the record information by
hand, errors become possible.
When copying information yourself, be very careful to
copy everything correctly and word for word. I would recommend avoiding the use
of abbreviations. You may not remember what abbreviations mean at a later date.
Copy everything you see! Retain all of the names in
their original (usually Latin) form. Later, when you have time and
available references, you can translate those names into Polish and/or