Wed., Aug 22: M-P to Kishinev (Chișinău)

There are simply not enough hours in a day, or perhaps we have too much to do each day. Our plans seem reasonable enough, and yet, time just disappears. In Mogilev-Podolsky, we did not have time to go to the cemetery or anything else. Travel just eats up hours, and even for those of us not doing the driving, it’s exhausting.  We had not planned to do anything in M-P except stop there on the way to Moldova.  When I spoke with the Moldovan embassy in the US months ago to find out their advice regarding border crossings, that was where they told us it would be easiest.

We had no idea what to anticipate, and had been unable, in advance to be in touch with the archives in Moldova – this was the only visit for which no appointments in the archives had been made.  The border crossing from Ukraine into Moldova was much smoother and shorter than the previous crossing into Ukraine. In fact, although it took longer than the 20 minutes indicated on-line, compared to the huge lines crossing into Ukraine from Poland the other day, this was a breeze!

I’ve been struck by the colorful houses we’ve been passing throughout our travels, and this leg of the journey was no exception. When I was just looking back at my photos, I noticed that there were an awful lot of pictures of houses that were almost a turquoise. This color, green, pink and a bright yellow are found everywhere!




The one thing I wish I could get a picture of are the storks. We see their nests and an occasional stork (or two) standing in them.  It’s fascinating.

Bessarabia – such a mysterious sounding, magical name. Also, a very confusing geo-political area, at least for me with alliances changing frequently. This area has been under Moldavian, Romanian, Russian Empire and Ottoman Empire rule.

At the archives, we had a very pleasant surprise.  Although this was the only archive at which we did not have an appointment, the Director of the regional archives was as welcoming as if he had been expecting us!  He spent well over an hour with us.  Marek and Ola conversed with him in Russian, translating as the Director paused. He was very animated, and explained that he was a historian and a professor and loved to teach. He regaled us with story after story about famous people from Kishinev who had settled in France, Israel and the US.  He took a moment to tell me a story in French.  None of us were able to figure out why he was speaking about the Jewish population of the area and the famous Jews who had been from Kishinev. I asked Marek since he had introduced our group in Russian to the Director, but he said that he was as puzzled as I was since he had not said a word about all the Jewish research we had in the area. A delegation showed up to meet with him, who did have a previously scheduled appointment and he left us to the Director of the local archives who showed us around the facility.


We left the archives feeling totally overwhelmed by the amount of information we had heard in a relatively short period of time – so much to absorb and remember!  Our next meeting was with researchers whose expertise is with genealogical records from Moldova and Romania. One of the amazing things we have as a team at AncestryProGenealogists is a very wide network of researchers all over the world, whose skills we can draw on. Our US based team specializing in Eastern European and Jewish research, with access to repositories all over the US and digital repositories all over the world, has the ability to read and translate records in a dozen (or more languages). Our network of researchers has onsite access to repositories all over the world, and can read (an understand) ancient records in almost every conceivable language. I constantly marvel at the scope of what we can do – it’s so much more than I could accomplish working on my own, and much more efficient.

Our hotel was incredibly pleasant. The woman at the reception desk helped me call the researcher we were meeting with, and also arranged for the dining room to open early the next day since its normal hours began at 7 and we had hoped to leave then.

Dinner was wonderful, and Lindsay especially was charmed by the cats in the dining room and outside.


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