Winnipeg Free Press - Section D - - LIFE -

TV shows such as TLC’s Who Do You Think You Are? and PBS’s Find­ing Your Roots, which dig into fam­ily his­to­ries of celebri­ties has added fuel to the ge­neal­ogy fire. (In June, PBS put the doc­u­men­tary pro­gram hia­tus af­ter it was re­vealed that pro­duc­ers of the show, in­clud­ing host and Har­vard pro­fes­sor Henry Louis Gates Jr., granted Ben Af­fleck’s wish that his seg­ment omit his slave-own­ing an­ces­try.)

Do­molewski’s search for in­for­ma­tion on her own roots hit the wall af­ter she learned all she could about her great-grand­par­ents us­ing North Amer­i­can sources.

She knew her great-grand­fa­ther left mod­ern-day west­ern Ukraine — in 1905 it was con­trolled by the Aus­tria-Hun­gary em­pire — and sailed to the U.S., where he set­tled in Penn­syl­va­nia. That’s where he met Do­molewski’s great-grand­mother and they moved to the In­ter­lake com­mu­nity of Led­wyn, about 135 kilo­me­tres north of Win­nipeg.

To learn any more, a trip to Poland and Ukraine was re­quired.

“I had found as much in­for­ma­tion as I could pos­si­bly find with North Amer­i­can sources and I lo­cated a few an­ces­tral vil­lage names,” she says. “I didn’t know where to start look­ing to find these vil­lages.”

She en­listed the help of Brian Le­nius of Selkirk, who will be among a panel of ex­perts at Satur­day’s sem­i­nar.

Just get­ting started can daunt­ing for peo­ple who have no idea where to start, Le­nius says. Others, who have made some head­way, can turn to ex­perts who have ac­cess to var­i­ous Euro­pean reg­istries — trea­sure troves of in­for­ma­tion — that can of­fer con­nec­tions to fam­ily names in tiny

‘You come to tears be­cause you’re walk­ing the same roads that your an­ces­tors would have trav­elled, you saw where they lived’

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