”Accessing and Acquiring the Records of Eastern Europe: Family Search Efforts 2012-2017”
Greg Nelson, Content Strategy Specialist for Eastern Europe and Central Asia in the Records Division of Family Search. Although the one hour presentation included Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldava, Armenia/Georgia/Azerbaijan, the Stan countries, and the Baltics, this post includes information only on Lithuania.
Currently, there are 20+ digital cameras preserving the records in the archives of Central and Eastern Europe.
Fall of the Soviet Empire: December 25,1991, is often used as the end date. Filming began in Lithuania in 1994. (When I started looking at microfilmed civil registers in Vilkaviskis and Marijampole in 1995, I began to realize how fortunate I was.)
Record Strategy: Family Search uses the Tier I criteria (Birth, Marriages, Deaths) because they are preserving records for the first time. Another important Eastern European criteria is the preservation of records “before they reach a state where it is harmful to handle them.” Family Search may have “the only surviving digital copy of records from an area that has been hit by fire, natural disasters, or political instability.”
Central and Eastern European Countries: Lithuania
The Tier 1 filming (Births, Marriage, and Deaths) in the Lithuanian State Historical Archives has been completed for quite some time. My first request for FHL films for Wylkowiszki was October 27, 1994.
The Lithuanian Central Archives is not filmed.
Current filming in Kaunas, the only regional archives in Lithuania, includes Revision Lists in Russian See https://www.litvaksig.org/types-of-records-in-the-ald/revision-lists-and-other-census-lists.
We viewed (1) images of document preparation work, including ironing each page prior to filming and (2) the camera set up for operators.
Reminders about digitization in the Family Search Catalogue:
The cost of silver to produce the microfilm, the fact that Kodak sold their business, and the buyer increased the price, resulted in the decision to cease microfilming.
The FHL Microfilm number is usually different from the DGS number if the film has been digitized.
If there the FHL microfilm record is the same as the digitized number (DGS), it means that it is an original digitalized record.
Digitized records are in color.
If the catalogue shows a DGS number but a microfilm icon, it means that the entire film cannot be released because of privacy reasons. The privacy part of the film will be blurred so that the rest of the film can be released.
• One way to teach yourself the Cyrillic alphabet is to index the annual registries of birth, marriage, and death records. The Family Search wiki includes a list of the Cyrillic alphabet. Doing this is a great way to teach yourself Cyrillic and contribute to the Family Search indexing Project.
I met Greg Nelson after the session and posed three specific questions which I have e-mailed him. They had to deal with current filming in Vilnius, variations in the quality of records (question from another researcher), and the status of very old unfilmed records in the Lithuanian State Historical Archives. The answers may be in a future post.