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’