Rural household registers as a genealogical source
The rural household registers are a valuable source of information about a family that lived in the rural area. They were kept since the 1930s, but World War II had a significant impact on the state of the documents, so the rural household registers for the Ukrainian settlements have been preserved mainly for the period after 1943-1944.
In Western Ukraine, the situation with the rural household registers is different. It should be remembered that Soviet power was established in Galicia and Volyn in the fall of 1939 and the typical Soviet system of collective farms finally took hold here in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Accordingly, the rural household registers for this region should be considered a source from the 1950s.
We can get information about family composition, nationality, age, place of work/study, position, number of livestock and land from the rural household register. In fact, this is a register document of citizens who are assigned to a particular village council.
Village councils were and still are the place where rural household registers are kept. This fact has both positive and negative sides. The positive side is that:
- the village council provides copies of the required sheets free of charge;
- in some cases, the “human factor” can greatly facilitate cooperation – employees who facilitate the search for the information you are looking for (however, in some cases they can interfere with the search work);
The negative side is that:
- difficulties in establishing contact, since a personal visit is not always possible: many village councils do not have e-mail (or their address is not publicly available), it is hard to get through by phone, paper letters go unanswered for a long time;
- problem is the issue of preserving rural household registers, because often, when village councils merge/villages change their subordination, documents are lost/destroyed/corrupted.