Keeping Pace with Eastern European Genealogical Research Developments
by Nathan W. Murphy, MA, AG®
Since the fall of communism in the former Soviet Union in 1991, the world has gained greater access to Eastern European archives. This emerging historical field still poses serious research problems for genealogists seeking ancestors in this part of the world. Some countries forbid access to and duplication of their historical treasures. Genealogists often have to learn to read several foreign languages in order to trace single pedigrees. The Federation of East European Family History Societies (FEEFHS) is committed to sharing the latest genealogical research developments for Eastern and Central Europe with the public and facilitating the usage of these sources.
FEEFHS serves as an umbrella organization over more than 100 family history societies from all over the world who are interested in genealogical research in Eastern and Central Europe. Led by professional researchers, translators, and Family History Library record acquisitions’ employees, FEEFHS stands at the head of this dynamic field. If you have ancestors from Eastern Europe, you should join this organization.
Each year FEEFHS publishes a scholarly journal replete with groundbreaking information from the pros that can help you trace your Eastern European ancestry. The 2003 edition (Volume 11), for example, contains a variety of articles ranging from transportation in the Austrian Empire in the 19th century to learning how to reconstruct the lives of Finnish women in Russian Alaska. Last year’s authors included a professor at the Diaspora Research Institute of Tel Aviv University, the current president of FEEFHS, an Accredited Genealogist, and other professional researchers, lecturers and writers. To give you a taste of what you can find in FEEFHS journals, last year’s article topics were:
Local history in Eastern Europe
How to read Latin documents from Hungary
The origins of Jewish surnames in Belarus
How to read Catholic metrical registers from Galicia
Research in Ukraine
How to trace Slovaks in North America
How to research Germans in Bukovina
How to research Czechs in Volhynia
FEEFHS sponsors an annual convention. Knowledgeable speakers address many issues confronting Eastern European genealogists such as reading foreign languages, understanding diverse record types, and applying foreign research methodologies. Visit their website to learn about upcoming events.
Annual membership for FEEFHS costs $25.00. Members will receive a free copy of the FEEFHS Journal and discounts on admission to the convention. To learn more about the organization and upcoming events, visit the FEEFHS Web site at www.feefhs.org.
Originally published by GenWeekly. Republished by permission.