Irene’s ancestors come from a part of Poland that, from the1800's up to World War I, was under Russian domination. Polish priests had to write their church records in Russian. "Sometimes you could get lucky if they wrote the person’s name in Russian/Polish," says Irene. “That was their little rebellion.”
Lucky for Irene, CCGS Librarian Betsy Ferris took four years of Russian while a French major at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. “I was always interested in linguistics, and I managed to work in four years of Russian,” Betsy relates. “I got so I could read Tolstoy pretty well.”
|Betsy Ferris and Irene Landenberger review the Cyrillic alphabet|
The two CCGS members met recently for a Mentoring Session in the CCGS Genealogy Room at the Dennis Public Library. Mentoring offers CCGS members the chance to share their experiences and areas of expertise with other members one-on-one.
"Let's start with the Cyrillic alphabet and then take it from there," suggests Betsy.
For Irene, taking it from there will mean more study of Russian words and phrases found in Polish civil and church records. "I also want to find my great grandfather," says Irene. "I have his naturalization papers and the ship and voyage he came on, but I can't find him anywhere on that boat. I think he swam across...."
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