Updates on Ukrainian State Archives #ukraine #records

Ted Gostin

I thought it might be helpful to review some of the updates that have been published recently on the website of the State Archival Service of Ukraine.  The various archives websites have been up and down and back up again since the February invasion of Ukraine by Russia.  And while some of the regional archives sites are still down, the main websites are up again, and the archives is still publishing monthly updates of the efforts to digitize archival records, and occasional press releases of interest to Jewish genealogists.

Back just before Russia invaded, I urged the Ukraine Research Group to find a way to download some of the Kiev city and uyezd vital records that the Archives had uploaded to the website of the Central State Historical Archives of Ukraine in Kyiv, and which went beyond the records that were uploaded to the Alex Krakovsky Wikipedia site.  The Ukraine Research Group found a way to do this quickly, downloaded all of the Archives' own scans of fond 1164, which included Kiev city and Kiev uyezd Jewish vital records.  This provided a backup copy of those records in case the Russian invasion affected the websites.  And sure enough, as soon as Russia invaded, all of the State Archives websites went offline.  So it was great that the Ukraine Research Group acted so quickly to download records that they had not previously downloaded in order to save the records.  As it turned out, once Kiev was no longer under daily attack, the Kiev websites went back up, and so genealogists again had access to the records online.  But it was important that the Ukraine Research Group was able to mobilize so quickly to save copies of the records, just in case.

Since then, Alex Krakovsky has apparently made a number of updates to his files on the Kiev city and uyezd records.  Now, his tables of the available records show not only those files that he previously scanned, but also include links to the online copies scanned by the archives themselves, and show the revised delo/sprava (item) numbers for these vital records, which were renumbered prior to the archives' scanning effort.  So those tables for fond 1164 on Alex's site now include links to all of the available Kiev city Jewish vital records from 1863 through 1920 that have been digitized somewhere.  Similarly, they also include both Alex's previous scans and the archives' own scans of the Kiev uyezd records, up through the first 150 items (out of about 460) for other towns in the uyezd.  

In June, a press release announced a major cooperative effort between the Ukrainian State Archives and FamilySearch to digitize metrical books (vital records) from the Central State Archives in Kyiv and Lviv, as well as about a dozen of the regional archives.  Details were lacking, but it was noted that this effort would take about a decade.  Being a cooperative effort between the Archives and FamilySearch, it will naturally include records of religious groups beyond Jews, but it is assumed that Jewish records will be included.  So keep an eye out on the FamilySearch catalog over the next few years to see what new Jewish films might show up catalog. 

The Archives main website (English version at archives.gov.ua/en/) also includes press releases, one of which is a monthly update on digitization efforts.  Looking back at the monthly updates from previous months, there doesn't seem to have been many updates to Jewish records since the war began.  However, there was an announcement in July that the filming of metrical books in the Central State Historical Archives in Lviv has already begun, and so there may be additional records posted soon.

To keep up to date on what the Ukrainian archives is digitizing, go to the main page listed above, then click on the "News/Events" tab and select "News," and you will get a list of press releases in reverse chronological order, from newest to oldest.  You can then select any one that is of interest (use a browser with an automatic translation feature, such as Chrome or Edge) and read the release, which will usually have additional links to the regional archives website with the newly digitized records.  Of interest are not only the monthly summaries of newly digitized records, but occasional press releases about specific collections, which often include Jewish records.

Ted Gostin
Sherman Oaks, California