Genealogical research is never-ending. After all, how can you say that you have reached the end, that you have found the last document, the final fact? New information is always waiting just around the corner and family stories are waiting to proven or even found to be false. As we research and find information, we make shifts in what the story of our families may be.
In this vein, yesterday, I confronted the need to shift my own beliefs of my family’s story. For many years I had thought that my family at least recently came from Kiev or Zhitomir. A trip to the Zhitomir archives in 2009 identified my grandfather, Ber Moldofsky’s birth record but not those of his siblings or other Moldofsky family members. Because of the surname, we had believed that the family originated in Moldova. Perhaps this finding was verification of that. But how did they get to Zhitomir and when? My great-grandfather had indicated on his ship manifest that his last residence was not in Zhitomir, and yet my grandfather was born just a few weeks after his father’s departure in Zhitomir.
It is good, when researching to have speculative thoughts about what the research will result in, but it is also good to leave no stone unturned and to keep an open mind. A few months ago, as a result of the translation work Jewish Gen’s Ukraine SIG is doing with records resulted in my being able to identify the marriage record of Ber’s grandparents in Zhitomir. That 1868 record pushed back my thinking of when the Moldofsky family might have arrived in Zhitomir since it indicated that both the bride and groom and their parents (!) were from the area. A revision list from 1834 has shown that the fmaily was in the area much longer than previously thought. It’s so exciting – now I need to just keep digging!