Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Ukraine Trip Post #7--Day 6 (September 6, 2016), Part 2

(To see everything from my Ukraine trip, see here.)

At this point, it was mid-afternoon, so there were still a few hours of light left--so I wanted to head towards Kolodne.  We tried to hire the one cab waiting nearby, but the young driver (after checking for Kolodne's location) wasn't comfortable driving into the mountains--so he called an "old man" who knew the mountains better.  When Mikhael "Misha" showed up, he was a man probably in his 40s!  I guess everything is relative.  Mikhael was game for driving to Kolodne, so we set out.
Welcome to Kolodne!

Kolodne was the town where my maternal grandmother's parents lived before emigrating to America.  My family was in this town for quite a while, and I was excited to see the town where my Rutner, Joshowitz, Eizikovics & Motyovics families lived.

We had a hard time finding anyone who knew where the cemetery was.  First we were told it was on the road from Kolodne to Uglya.  We followed the directions and found what looked to be promising.
Uglya Cemetery Gates
But it turns out that this was actually the cemetery from the neighboring town of Uglya.  I figured since we were there, I'd like to get good photographs of all of the stones.  And then we pushed open the doors.
Inside Uglya Cemetery
We were greeted by weeds as tall as a person.  The cemetery is walled in and encompasses a huge area, but it was impossible to get to all of the stones.  I photographed what I could.
Inside Uglya's Cemetery, looking back towards the gate
You can see all of the photos taken in Uglya's cemetery here.

We then went back to Kolodne and explored the town while trying to find the Jewish cemetery.
In Kolodne
We finally figured out why no one knew where the cemetery was.  It turns out it's only accessible through a goat pasture behind a small market.  And we happened to ask the market owner if he knew where the cemetery was.
Entrance to Kolodne's Jewish cemetery

The market owner (Vasil) walked us back but said he didn't know how I'd get in without a chainsaw.  He doubted I'd be able to get to the stones; I proved him wrong!
Kolodne's Jewish cemetery--in the trees behind the goat pasture

Well, I got into what's an overgrown forest and found multiple stones mostly in decent shape, but there were obviously more at one time.
Vasil trying to find a place to get into the cemetery

I found the graves of many of my family members.
Grave of my 3rd great grandmother, Ita Farkas Rutner
I found the grave of my great-great-great grandmother, Ita Farkas Rutner (mother of Shmuel Moshe).  It's surrounded by a tree, and I had pull away brambles to see it.  (If you have plans to visit any cemeteries in Eastern Europe, bring along gardening gloves; they saved my hands!)
Probable grave of Mendel Rutner

I believe I found the grave of her husband Menachem Mendel Rutner (photo above) right beside hers, but it's very worn away.  I can see that he was איש תם וישר and then make out the name מנחם, but I can't see anything else.  If you can make out any more, please (please please!) comment below.
Grave of my 2nd great grandmother, Mindel Eizikovics Joszovics
I also found the grave of my great-great grandmother, Mindel Eizikovics Joszovics (daughter of Shmuel Tzvi).  Two of her brothers were buried right nearby.

I also found another stone which disproved a theory I've had for some time; I'll be writing it up as its own blog post.
Inside Kolodne's Forest-Cemetery
I'm in touch with several other Rutner descendants, and we're figuring out how we can get this cemetery cleared up and maintained.
Around Kolodne
By this point, it was going to start getting dark, so we returned to Khust for the evening. And since our driver today had been so awesome, we arranged for him to pick us up the next morning for another journey through the mountains--so stay tuned!

So where were we geographically in this post?

Stay tuned for more from the Carpathian Mountains!

Note:  I'm on Twitter.  Follow me (@larasgenealogy).

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  1. The driver was awesome? The drivees were really awesome!

  2. How incredible that you found these stones. I am truly amazed.

  3. "He doubted I'd be able to get to the stones; I proved him wrong!" Doing all of us genealogists proud! What a great re-cap.

  4. What an incredible success to find your gggmother's stone. I hope someone is able to help you with the other stone.

  5. What an incredible success to find your gggmother's stone. I hope someone is able to help you with the other stone.

  6. How exciting,not to mention personally fulfilling,to uncover family gravestones. Very fortunate indeed.

  7. They are still using horse and carts!

  8. Very impressive, Lara. Your ancestors would be proud.

  9. I was directed to your blog by Amy at Brotmanblog on Wordpress. This is beautiful work and what a wonderful discovery on this post. I have a genealogy blog focused mainly on my Dutch ancestors, but I am trying to get my husband interested in researching his relatives from Ukraine (Odessa) and Moldova (Tiraspol). These cities are only 104 miles apart.

    1. Thank you! As you can see, research in the area isn't impossible at all.

  10. Amazing! How in the world did you discover those ancestors' stones, since they don't apparently have surnames?

  11. Amazing! How did you ever identify your ancestors, given that apparently the headstones don't have surnames?

    1. I have death records, so I could correlate the names & dates of death that way.

  12. Wow! What a cool trip - I hope to take a trip to Belarus one day once I have found more information. Thanks for sharing!

  13. I was in the Uglya Cemetery in 1996. My family the Landau's was a large part of the population of Uglya (Iglya)Those gates are not in Uglya
    The Cemetery IS on the road from Kolodna to Uglya it is an open cow pasture not surrounded by wall or gate. I was there with four of my cousins who grew up in Uglya. Only One Gravestone is preserved that of the Dayan of Uglya, I did dig up a few gravestones but for the most part they were buried of destroyed

    1. The gate is relatively new. There were many stones and they are catalogued here:

      I'm related to some of the Landaus. Please email me so we can discuss!

  14. There is a man living in Monsey Ny whose family was from Kolodne. His name is Steinmetz

    1. I'd appreciate if you could get me in touch with him!