Re: Ukrainian genealogy database pra.in.ua -- and other online sources #ukraine
I'm catching up on past emails and read with interest the recent
exchange about a new Ukrainian genealogy database.
I used the pra.in.ua database last night and there are indeed plenty
of Jews included, including a few of my family members. However, the
frustrating thing is that the entries typically include little if any
context or sources. For instance, a typical entry might just read
"Gitarts, Itsko. Son of Yosef. Birthdate 1909. Place: Olgopol,
Some entries indicate the source/context -- for instance, a roster of
WWII medal recipients -- but seem to be the minority. To the extent
that I could tell, sources appear to be mostly >from the early to mid
There's a handy way to use this database and similar ones if you don't
know Ukrainian or Russian (I do not):
- Open pra.in.ua in the Chrome browser, which can automatically
translate the pages to English or another language.
- You can register and set up a pra.in.ua user name and password using English.
- If you know, or can get, your family surnames in Russian or
Ukrainian Cyrillic characters (for instance, >from family papers or
archival documents), use a point-and-click Russian keyboard online to
type out the names in Cyrillic. I use Google Translate, but there are
others as well if you just search "Russian keyboard." The Ukrainian
alphabet is basically interchangeable with Russian.
- Cut and paste those surnames in Cyrillic characters into the
pra.in.ua search field.
- A list of pra.in.ua results will appear and the Chrome browser
translates them immediately into English.
It's easy once you get the hang of it. The same cut-and-paste method
works if you just want to Google your surnames and/or towns in
Russian/Ukrainian -- I've found tons of cool stuff that doesn't appear
in English Google results. (For instance, a cousin who started the
first rock band in Soviet Belarus!) Also, check out the big Russian
website http://j-roots.info/ for Jewish genealogy (including Ukraine,
Belarus, Poland, etc.): lots of message boards and large troves of
documents not found elsewhere. Again, if you're a non-Russian speaker,
the basic method I described above works to use http://j-roots.info.
The site's helpful English-speaking moderators can lend a hand if you
have trouble registering/navigating.
FEIN [Bershad and Peschanka, Podolia Gubernia; Bender, Bessarabia];
GUTHARTZ, GITARTS, GITGARTS [Podolia]; KATZ [Dunaevtsy, Kalyus, and
Yarmolintsy, Podolia]; SELTZER [Bershad and Trostianets, Podolia];
SHMIDT [Bershad and Trostianets, Podolia]; SUDMAN [Podolia and
Bessarabia]; TENENBAUM [Savran, Balta, and Chechelnyk, Podolia]