I am responding to Michelle Frager's recent post and to Tracie Schnieder's
Dec. 20, 03 follow-up to it.
Prompted by a New York Times article by its correpondent Michael Wines I
tracked down some months ago an elderly BELKOWSKY of Jewish orgin who lives in
Dubna, a town not far >from Moscow. His family had emigrated to the US and he
was born in Texas in 1921. Like many other homesick people of Russian or
Ukrainian origin, his father returned to Russia during the Depression of the 1930s
and in 1938 he was arrested and exiled to Kazakhstan while his family was left
My new correspondent himself was considered a security risk and led a hard
life. He curtailed his name >from BELKOWSKY to BELL and, over the years,
during which he married a Russian woman, he has forged a "sister cities" exchange
program between La Cross Wisconsin, and Russia.
After the NYT reporter kindly told me the email and postal addresses of the
subject of his article, I wrote to this BELKOWSKY. He was delighted to hear fr
om me, and astonished that I was able to go so far back in time (only to the
last half of the 19th century) in finding information about my BELKOWSKYs. He
told me he thought that few Russians if any, are involved with genealogy.
I guess that they are too busy just living and making a living, and
learning about other matters more important to them. Perhaps their seeming lack of
interest is the result of the turbulence that so many Ukrainians and Russians
have experienced, along with the loss of family and their records that occurred
during the upheavals. We outside of the former Soviet empire should also
bear in mind that for a long time, it was considered subversive to be inquisitive
about anything that might even remotely have threatened the State!
This repatriated Russian BELKOWSKY, now in his eighties, knew almost
nothing about his own grandparents and nothing whatever about his great
grandparents. But it may be that they were related to my family because, as he said, they
had lived in the Radomysl area as did mine. As I told him in reply, I like to
think his BELKOWSKYs and mine were related and until our possible
relationship is disproved, I shall allow myself to think of him as my distant cousin.
Occasionally Jews and non-Jews in the Ukraine and Russia do write to
Jewishgen, and they also place inquiring messages at the online message boards and
guest books that have been set up for various Russian and Ukrainian regions and
cities. I have sometimes replied to these inquirers either to tell them what
I know about the subject matter of their questions or to tell them about
Jewishgen's existence and how to subscribe in order to post their questions.
One Russian Jewishgenner I can think of "off the top of my head" is Elina
Smirnova who participates in the Belarus SIG. But I am sure there are several
more Jewish Russians or Jewish Ukrainians who may subscribe to the wider
Jewishgen discussion groups or to any one of its SIGs.
I try to keep my wits about me by not limiting my Jewishgen participation
to any one SIG, and I also read daily all the messages posted to Jewishgen,
just in case they may pertain to my own interests, which are not limited to
Naomi Fatouros (nee FELDMAN)
Researching: BELKOWSKY and BIELKOWSKY, Odessa,St. Petersburg and
Berdichev;ROTHSTEIN, Kremenchug; FELDMAN, Pinsk; SCHUTZ, RETTIG, WAHL, Shcherets; LEVY,
WEIL, Mulhouse; SAS or SASS,Podwolochisk; RAPOPORT, Tarnopol, Podwolochisk,
Berdichev; BEHAM, Salok and Kharkov; WOLPIANSKY, Ostryna.