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Maps… We love maps…

  • Do you have the old map of the place where your ancestors lived?
  • Are you certain you correctly identified the ancestral places in the foreign country?
  • Do you have the strange placename you struggle to put on map?

We have a lot of experience answering those kinds of questions. Actually, this is an important first step to any genealogy research project. large or small.

We have access to old maps covering obscure parts of the world and can help you in this challenging task.

Contact us to discuss your project or just to get a help locating this elusive place.


The ancestral village is somewhere on this 1802 map.

Old Paper Fasteners

Sometimes you get a strange piece of bureaucratic tools and just cannot google it. I had one for a long while. It was a paper fastener, hundred-years-old. Found lying around in the old archive. 

I found some nice people who run the web site with all the old parafernalia, was unable to find anything like those staples here, and wrote to the site owner.

Mr Frank Parsons wrote me:

Well, I did some searching and I think I found what you’re looking for here.  If you scroll about half or so way down the page you’ll find the Bendover Paper Fastener.  It appears that the author of the Early Office Museum didn’t consider these clips but fasteners.  The only bit of info he gives is that this type of clip was available in 1899.  That doesn’t preclude yours being used at a much later date so the 1910’s-20’s is totally reasonable.  

Now with the right name of this item, it became googlable. Magic works. It turns out that 
Some Chinese are still selling them on (http://www.cn-tobon.com/e_products/?big_id=50&small_id=71 ), and there’s a US company offering them since 1995 as a “novelty item” ( http://classicclips.com )
I would like to thank americanstationer.wordpress.com for the nice help offered.
We are solving old puzzles. One puzzle at a time. If you need help solving yours — just let us know.

Bendover Paper Fastener. Box cover image courtesy of the Officemuseum.com

Did you ever thought how difficult it is to search for the female relatives? Here is an example. 

Our colleague has recently gave the presentation on his experience tracing the artwork provenance of several portraits by Mikhail Verboff (1896-1996). 

Look at the attached picture. Two sisters (lower right corner). One have four last names from different marriages, another have six. 20th century, four different countries. He was able to document it and even trace the living heirs. 

How complicated it was? About a half-year worth of work…. Could he find it without our published Genealogical Index? Highly unlikely, he admitted. 

This is a real-life example of tracing female marriages.


Find your old village

One of the complicated points of the research, even before you go to the archive, is to make sure you have the correct location. It is especially true if some migration was involved. In those cases people tend to forget exact details of their small villages where they were born and remember only the approximate region. Unknown places with unknown spellings in language almost nobody in the family speaks adds to the problem.

We know how to deal with it. Sometimes religious or other details of the family story helps. Sometimes we just fetch the list of the villages with that name and check them all, one by one.

And another point to remember that the “old” map of 1980s might not have the village which disappeared in 1960s, so you have to check several sources to be sure you are on the right track.

If you have problems identifying your ancestral locations — contact us, we know how to help.

Somewhere on this map were several villages which disappeared in 1960s. Need help finding?

100 years ago Odessa was the fourth largest city in Russian Empire (after Moscow, St Petersbourg, and Warsaw). As it was within the Pale of Settlement, it has the large Jewish population.  Another strange twist of the history is that a lot of Jewish records there survived the 1917 revolution, civil war, and the WWII. 

We frequently request Jewish research in Odessa archive and do it ourselves. Archivists there are professional and helpful, so you are welcome to write them if you could.

Or call us for help tracing your Jewish ancestry anywhere in the former Russian Empire. We do it regularly, we have many happy clients, and you could be among them.

The index of births in Odessa archive. They also have the very helpful annual alphabet indexes. Come in person, ask politely, you could consult them too.

Do you know that the nobility files of the former Russian empire could be found not only in the region where the noble person lived, but also in one centralized place?

It was called Heroldy Department of the Governing Senate (Департамент герольдии Правительствующего Сената), it was the highest office to finally approve (or reject) nobility application, and its files are available in the Russian State Historical Archive as a fond 1343.

You can find all (OK, most of) the nobility cases here. They are filed by last names and then by guberniya (governorate) where the family was originally from.

Ask us for the help if you think your ancestors were part of Russian Nobility or Polish Szlachta. We can get those files to you quickly and professionally.

Red stamps from the old nobility file.

Our friend and partner, genealogyrocks.ru  posts short videos about genealogy research in Russia.

We mostly agree with what this young but experienced researcher is saying. Her videos have English subtitles, so even if you don’t quite know Russian, they could still be helpful.

Her videos have English subtitles, so even if you don’t quite know Russian, they could still be helpful.
Subscribe if you could 🙂

Subscribe if you can:)

GenealogyRocks videos  (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1UXB6007mutIOUYIt_YLfw/ )

We were in National Historical Archive of Belarus and in State Archive of Zhitomir region last week, researching two complicated Jewish genealogy cases.

Our other research geography of the last week was as wide, from Baltics to Siberia:

Please let us know where we can help you with your historical research.

We were asked to locate documents related to residents of the former German colony Gluckstal in Bessarabia.

It is not an easy task to do, as those are spread across two (or three) different countries with different access rules.

Here is the Google Map. The Red Mark is the actual location of Gluckstal , which, according to Wikipedia, “is currently under the administration of the breakaway government of the Transnistrian Moldovan Republic”.

Records for this place are kept in 6 different repositories spread over 300km: Kherson State Archive, Odessa State Archive, Moldova State Archive, Tiraspol Transdnistria State Archive, and two offices of vital records – in Grigoriopol and in Kishinev.

We travel to those places to get vital records for our client. We could do this for you as well.

In our permanent quest for the new documents helping us locate your lost relatives we have visited the Fridtjof Nansen mansion, institute and the grave in Polhøgda, Lysaker, Norway. You might have heard about Nansen’s passports issued to refugees and stateless persons after the WW1. 


Fridtjof Nansen grave

Fridtjof Nansen grave

Fridtjof Nansen grave and mansion in Polhøgda

Fridtjof Nansen grave and mansion in Polhøgda

Fridtjof Nansen Institute, grave and mansion in Polhøgda, near Oslo

Fridtjof Nansen Institute, grave and mansion in Polhøgda, near Oslo


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