Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Reclaim the Records, Ukraine Edition

I've written before about my friend Brooke Schreier Ganz and her incredible work with Reclaim the Records, in which she uses Freedom of Information laws to get US vital records into the hands of genealogists.  Well, Brooke has a distant cousin in Ukraine who is trying to do the same thing there!

Alex Krakovsky is working to digitize records from Ukraine's archives to be freely accessible to researchers across the world.  However, some archivists are not allowing him to do this work--despite the fact that Ukrainian law clearly states that photography of records is permitted free of charge.

So, like his cousin Brooke, he is going to court!

With the assistance of his lawyer Ganna Garo, Alex is suing the Zhytomyr archives for not allowing free access and photography to records.  You can watch Alex talk about the situation and his case in these videos (in English):

Episode 1:

Episode 2:

You can subscribe to Alex's YouTube channel for updates to this case and additional efforts.

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

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  1. Thanks for this, Lara! I've shared to our (East European Genealogical Society) Facebook page.


    1. Awesome! This is promising; I have records I want from Zhytomyr. :)

  2. I went to his channel where several videos are displayed in both languages. The ones in English are categorized as nonprofits and activism. I clicked on the Ukraine language videos. They are categorized as Comedy. Does Youtube not understand the language or is Alex throwing the Mafia off track of his mission ;-) https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3ppP2gWIFy1GDX0eN0QMgw

  3. Maybe the people that work at the Archives are worried about losing their jobs if all the records are photographed and transcribed. That might be the reason for their opposition.

    1. Illegal is illegal though. And the number of records ensure that they will retire long before everything is photographed, let alone transcribed.

    2. More likely that they are afraid of losing or having diverted from their organizations a potential stream of income.

  4. This is WONDERFUL! I wish him all the luck. It would be a big achievement, and a tremendous help to MANY genealogists.