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Eastern European: Introduction to Research for North Americans
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A vast number of immigrants came to North America from various areas in Central and Eastern Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Unfortunately, in the past, those with Eastern European roots have been reticent to begin research on their immigrant ancestors due to perceived barriers of language, geography, and difficulty with accessing and understanding the records.

The purpose of this course is to begin the teaching of genealogical concepts pertinent to Eastern European research. It introduces the basic concepts needed to succeed in Eastern European research, and begins to dispel the notion that Eastern European research is difficult. Actually, from a research perspective, it is much easier than it used to be thanks to a surge in interest, the Internet, and greater accessibility to archival records and other resources.

Course Content

Module 1
Eastern European Research & Sources
Note about Web Addresses
Identifying the Immigrant(s)
• US Census
• Canadian Census
Minimum Identification
• What was immigrant’s original (foreign) name?
• Key Life Events
• Geographic Clues
• Additional Identification
Immigration Information
• Other Family Members (Relating to the Immigrant)
• Religion
• Friends & Neighbors
• Hints & Tips

Module 2
Historical Overview
Eastern Europe
• Definition of Eastern Europe
• Sources for Eastern European History
• Geographical Distinctions & Political Considerations
• Timelines
• Key Events in Eastern European History
Eastern Europeans in North America
• Immigration Timeline
• United States
• Canada
• Identity Crisis? Are you Austrian, Bohemian, Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Rusyn, Slovak, Ukrainian or other? How to Know?
• Hints & Tips
Recommended Reading & Resources

Module 3
Developing A Solid Research Strategy
Key Elements of Eastern European Research
Geography and Place Names
Sources for Genealogical Research
• Eastern European Vital Records
Language and Handwriting
Family History Library
Availability of Records - Family History Library & Beyond
• Albania
• Bulgaria
• Czech Republic
• Hungary
• Slovakia
• Russia
• Belarus
• Baltic States
• Moldova
• Ukraine
• Poland
• Romania
• Former Yugoslavia
Published Sources
Accessing Records
Advanced Sources and Techniques
Sources for Study and Information
• Hints & Tips
Recommended Reading & Resources

Module 4
Culture & Society
Cultural Aspects of Eastern European Research
• Religious Denominations
• Some Information about the Greek Catholic Church
• Family Practices
First Names, Name Days & Naming Patterns
Occupations, Education, and Social Status
Customs and Traditions
• Hints & Tips
Recommended Reading & Resources

Module 5
Major Databases for Researching Eastern European Records
Suggested Reading
Genealogy Company Collections
• Resources
• How to Find Specific Collections on
• FamilySearch Online Resources
• FamilySearch Online Collections by Country
• MyHeritage
Archive and Repository Websites
Genealogical Societies and Other Interest Groups
• Hints & Tips
Recommended Reading & Resources

Module 6
Research Challenges & Solutions
Myths about Eastern European Research
• Myth #1
• Myth #2
• Myth #3
• Myth #4
• Myth #5
• Myth #6
• Myth #7
• Myth #8
• Myth #9
• Myth #10
Genetic Genealogy
• DNA: The Very Basics
• Types of DNA Tests
“Immersion Genealogy”
• Hints & Tips
Recommended Reading & Resources
• Linguistic Aids
• Genealogical Societies
• Other Websites
Abbreviations & Acronyms
Recommended Reading & Resources
• Websites
• General Genealogy Websites
• Map Collections
• Newspapers
• Surnames
Ancestor Data Sheet
Article: Immersion Genealogy

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