by Nancy Maliwesky
I wrote a blogpost about podcasts a while back, and I have to admit, while initially obsessed with them, I've fallen off the habit lately. Yesterday morning, though, I checked my favorite genealogy podcasts again and found one by Jane Wilcox on the Forget-Me-Not Hour that caught my attention. This was an interview with Michelle Tucker Chubenko, and organizer of a Ukrainian Genealogy Facebook group Nashi Predky (Our Ancestors). My husband, Jerry, is Ukrainian and I've been trying to piece together his family, but have not been having much luck.
Just in case one of Jerry's relatives is reading this post, Jerry's grandparents were Cyril and Antoinette Kogut Maliwiacki and Theodor "Frank" and Helen Micho Hnotko. Both families came from Galicia and settled in Syracuse, New York in the early 20th century. Having done most of my family research long distance, it's been quite a treat to actually live in the same neighborhood that the people I am researching lived in, and I have found a lot of information about Jerry's grandparents in Onondaga County, but have found it very difficult to get any solid leads back to the old country.
My husband took the Ancestry.com autosomal DNA test a while back, and although he has many connections, I have not been able to figure out how he is related to all of these new cousins, and it's been somewhat frustrating as it seems the majority of people he's matching don't have family trees online. I check his and my DNA matches about every week or so, and was surprised, recently, to find that he had a match identified as a second cousin! That's pretty darn closely related, but still, the names weren't really matching up, so I contacted the administrator of the test and waited to hear back. I also decided to ask Jerry's cousin and aunt to take the autosomal DNA test, hoping that this would help us to identify which side of Jerry's family this second cousin match was on. I was excited to learn, from Blaine Bettinger's blog "The Genetic Genealogist", that Ancestry had added a new feature to their autosomal DNA results called Shared Matches. I checked Jerry's second cousin match and this tool identified two other matches that also connect to his second cousin.
I've also blogged about using social media as a genealogy tool. I've seen great success with surname groups on Facebook, but hadn't really used this much for my own research. After learning about Nashi Predky, though, I thought I'd give it a try. I asked to join and was promptly given access, I then started reading the posts and decided to add my own, concentrating on Jerry's paternal line. I posted the information I had and noted that I was currently living in Syracuse, but would be moving to Delaware in November.
Shortly after I added the post, a very nice member responded back, welcoming me to Delaware and telling me about the genealogical societies and Ukrainian community in Delaware. Another kind member added additional information about where we can find Ukrainian stores close to where we are living. I have to say, people from Delaware are some of the nicest people I've ever met! I can't wait to move!
As my conversation on the Nashi Predky Facebook page continued, the craziest thing happened. It turns out that the person who initially welcomed me to Delaware is the same person who is matching Jerry as a second cousin on Ancestry.com.
What are the chances? My jaw is still hanging open. I can't wait to meet Jerry's new cousin when we move to Dover in the fall. I am sure that together we will figure out this connection, and I am thrilled that my mother-in-law, who is moving with us, will have a kind and welcoming Ukrainian community to welcome her to her new home.
And because we really are all connected, don't miss your opportunity to see Jane Wilcox and Blaine Bettinger at the upcoming 2015 New York State Family History Conference held Sept 17-19 in Syracuse. I'll be there, at the NYSFHC booth, and would love to meet you!
©2015 Nancy Maliwesky
Nancy Maliwesky, past Central New York Genealogical Society Board Member and Chair of the New York State Family History Conference worked as a professional genealogist with the American Pomeroy Historic Genealogical Association for ten years. Recently retired, she continues to pursue her passion for genealogical research and writing. She is also a singer/songwriter (the self proclaimed "Singing Genealogist") and an artist.