Sunday, August 21, 2022

Eastern European Archives' Webpages / Finding more Diments

Eastern European archives historically did not have much of a web presence, and those that had webpages generally didn't have digitized records.  Well, that has changed over the last decade!  The Polish State Archives and the Latvian State Historical Archives are at the forefront of making records accessible by digitization.  But other countries are catching up--including Ukraine.  Despite the current war (and perhaps as a consequence, with archives realizing that physical records are in danger), Ukrainian archives continue to digitize records.  I keep a close eye on branches that would hold records for my ancestral towns, following their Facebook pages, and looking at their webpages to watch for newly-added digitized records. Most of those records aren't for towns I'm researching (but perhaps they cover areas of interest to you).  But some are.

Chaim-Lejb Diment & Family; 1920 Lutsk Census (page 1)

One of the archives I watch is the State Archives of Volyn Oblast, physically located in Lutsk, Ukraine.  Lutsk was the big city near where my Diamond grandfather lived (although it was Łuck, Poland at that time), and I've found other records relating to the Diments in this archive branch in the past.  So when a 1920 census of the Jews of Lutsk was digitized by the archive, I had to take a look.  And because 1920 was during the period when Lutsk was in Poland, it was pretty easy for me to browse through the images looking for my family names (I can go through Russian language records, but it takes me longer).

I found an entry for a Chaim-Lejb Diment, born in Torczyn in 1864.  I know that my Diments lived in Torczyn for a time.  And I know that there's another Chaim-Leib Diment who is related to my family; this one is around 40 years older than the one I know (and he was still alive when the younger Chaim-Leib was born, so one wasn't named for the other).  But it's quite possible they're named after a common relative--which means that this 1864 Chaim-Lejb would also be related to me.  Unfortunately I don't know the name of the 1864 Chaim-Lejb's father, which probably would help me to connect him to the rest of the Diment family.

Chaim-Lejb Diment & Family; 1920 Lutsk Census (page 2)

The second page also tells me that the family lived in Rozyszerze (now Rozhyshche, Ukraine) before Lutsk, so that gives me a new town for Diment hunting.

I don't know our precise connection just yet.  I did find that this Chaim-Lejb and his wife Touba had at least two children (including the son Icik who was still living at home in 1920).  From Yad Vashem pages of testimony, I know that Icik ended up in Israel and changed his name to Yahalomi (Yahalom is Hebrew for Diamond), so it's possible he has descendants there who might know more.  The other child had at least two children, one of whom was killed in the Holocaust (as was her daughter), and I haven't yet discovered the fate of the second.  So there's still more work to do.

But I wouldn't have known about this potential branch without keeping an eye of the State Archives of Volyn Oblast and which records were added to their "Electronic Archive."  I'll keep watching, and maybe something else will pop up that will help me figure out this precise connection.

So follow archives that cover your areas of interest.  Google Translate can help you navigate foreign-language webpages and find record sets that are worth your pursuing.  Happy researching!

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  1. TY for the reminder to keep checking for updated records made available! Good luck finding the ancestor connection with this latest find.

  2. Trying to figure out the link to get to where you are talking about. I should be smarter than this! Recently looking at a family branch from Lutsk that may open up some interesting connections.

    1. I didn't type the specific link since this was generic for all archives. But you want the one here:

  3. My family was from Rzhyzchev. Could this be same town you are referring to?

    1. That town is near Kyiv; this one is near Lutsk.