Nashi Predky 2015 Conference speaker details


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Finding Ukrainian Relatives Deported from Southeastern Poland 1944-1947 (Justin Houser)

This talk will present an overview of available records and sources for finding present-day descendants of ethnic Ukrainians who were deported from Southeastern Poland as part of the Soviet system of mass population resettlements following World War II.  A basic background of the history of the deportations will be given, and emphasis will be placed upon identifying which relatives may have been deported, finding records indicating the region to which they were resettled, and then using contemporary sources to locate possible living descendants in those locations.  Both online and archival resources will be addressed.  The talk will focus upon the resettlement of Ukrainians from Poland to the Ukrainian SSR from 1944 to 1946, but limited coverage will be given to records involving the Akcja Wisla deportations of 1947 and the Boyko deportations of 1951.  While this talk will not specifically cover reverse deportations of ethnic Poles from Ukraine, the sources addressed will likely prove helpful to such researchers as well.  Even persons whose ancestors came to North America before World War I will find this presentation helpful, as the presentation will also show how to identify those may have remained behind following immigration and thus were subject to later deportation.  (Please note that other contemporary deportations and repressions, such as the repression of the kulaks, the Holodomor, the Soviet purges, the Soviet expulsion of the Germans, the migrations of the Ostarbeiters and Displaced Persons, and the resettlement of undesirable elements to Siberia will not be covered as such in this presentation.)  A bibliography of further historical sources will be provided to attendees.

Justin K. Houser, a native of Centre County, Pennsylvania, is a fourth-generation Ukrainian-American on his mother's side, his ancestors having come to the United States from Austrian Galicia in the early 20th century.  He is a 2007 graduate of the Pennsylvania State University with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in History, and received his Juris Doctor degree from The Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University in 2010.  Since then, his professional career has taken him to Scranton, PA; Wilmington, DE; and, most recently, Lock Haven, PA, where he practices law in a small law firm dealing mostly with civil and municipal matters.  He presently serves as Secretary of the Clinton County Bar Association, as a member of the board of directors of a regional insurance company, and on a number of local non-profit boards.  Justin has been interested in genealogy from a very young age after hearing stories from his grandparents about the ancestors whom they knew.  Justin has a particular passion for Ukrainian history and genealogy and delights in helping others to reverse the effects of totalitarian repression of Ukrainian history by re-discovering their family heritage.  He has spent many hours tracking down records in obscure archives, taught himself to read and passably speak conversational Ukrainian, and, as a result, has traveled to Ukraine on different occasions to spend time with newly-found branches of his family and has toured most parts of the country.  He serves on the steering committee of Nashi Predky -- Our Ancestors, as a co-moderator of the Nashi Predky facebook group, and as an officer in various other genealogical and historical societies in Central Pennsylvania.  Justin is currently a resident of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, and a member of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in State College, Pennsylvania.

Tracing heirs through Ukrainian archives: Detective stories of metrical records and censuses (Kirill Chashchin)

Kirill Chashchin started genealogical research into his own ancestry 12 years ago, digging 11 generations deep in Russian and Ukrainian archives and talking about it to friends and colleagues. Since 2009 this has turned into a full-time business, with two full-time employees, several published books, and working connections in archives in Russia. His professional is as a certified fraud examiner, and this gives his genealogical research some detective flavor. Finding obscure documents in non-obvious places to solve a puzzle are his favorite. His other genealogical interest in addition to the Russian Empire proper is the large Russian diaspora of Shanghai and Harbin of the 1920s-1950s. He is preparing the reasonably comprehensive surname index to Russian Chinese residents, to be finished early next year. He has worked in the regional archives of Kyiv, Chernihiv, Cherkassy, Ternopil and L'viv, and specializes in Greek Orthodox, Greek Catholic and Ukrainian and Russian Orthodox Church records. He is also an independent book publisher.

It’s Like Velcro: DNA Testing for Genealogy (Shelly Morehead)

Genetic genealogy, the use of DNA for defining ancestral relationships, is a new tool for family historians when historical documentation is unclear or unavailable. This lecture describes what autosomal DNA testing in genealogy can and cannot do for your family history research and what it can tell you about your origins. I briefly discuss what DNA is, how traditional DNA tests such as YDNA and mtDNA differ from autosomal testing, and how using this test allows us to see into the recent, and sometimes even the distant, past. I describe the available tests, the companies that provide them and suggest methodologies to use autosomal tests to answer questions that cannot be answered using Y-DNA and mtDNA testing.

Shellee Morehead, PhD, CG, is a Rhode Island-based Certified Genealogist with extensive research, writing and teaching experience.  An author of scientific and genealogical articles in national and international journals, she conducts genealogical research, heir searching as well as writing and speaking. She has appeared on Danish Broadcast  Television’s “Who Do You Think You Are?” in October 2010, and specializes in Rhode Island, Italian-Immigrant, French-Canadian and genetic genealogy research.

20th Century Census - Clues to Your Ancestors (Gail Hahn)

Gail will present search strategies and information gathering from the 1900-1940 US Federal Census records, with illustrative examples using names from Ukrainian and Hungarian families.

Gail Hahn BS, MST is a member of the Educational Committee of the Monmouth County Genealogy Society, the National Gavel Society, the Mayflower Society. In addition, she is Governor General of Descendants of the Founders of NJ, a member and former regent and registrar of the Francis Hopkinson-Monmouth Court House Chapter of NSDAR, and is a volunteer genealogist with the Monmouth County Historical Association

A Practical Introduction to Archival Science for Genealogists (Michael Andrec)

Virtually all family historians have made use of records housed in archival repositories either directly or indirectly. But most genealogists have at some point probably been intimidated or confused by how archives work and why they're organized the way they are. This talk will give an introduction to the principles that govern the work of archives professionals in the United States and in countries with which it shares an archival tradition (e.g., Great Britain, Canada, and Australia). The talk will focus on those aspects that are most relevant to family historians, such how to search for relevant collections and how to read and understand archival finding aids. If time permits, he will consider some of the differences between archival methodology in the US and Ukraine.

Michael Andrec, PhD, has been the archivist at the Ukrainian Historical and Educational Center of New Jersey since 2010. Mike has been tasked with single handedly bringing the nearly 200 multi-lingual collections that the Center has accumulated since the 1960s up to professional standards of arrangement, description, preservation, and accessibility, while at the same time providing reference services, outreach, and web site/social media content. Outside of the archives, Michael is a consultant in data analytics, computer programming, and web design/development. He is a member of the Society of American Archivists, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference, the Association for Recorded Sound Collections, and was recently elected to the Board of Directors of the Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York.


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