I still remember the thrill I had many years ago when I finally got my mother to write down the name of the village where her parents were born. In her inimitable style, she took a scrap of blue paper and wrote down the word “Bialykamien.” She pronounced it for me and that was about all I had to go on. A name, and the fact that it used to be in Poland, but was now in Ukraine. Oh, and yes, when she lived there as a little girl it was in the Austro-Hungarian empire. And at some point there was something going on with Lithuanian princes and Polish princesses (raise your hand if you have heard stories like this).
I should have known right there and then that genealogy was not to be easy for me. Legends and wars and boundary changes and lost records were going to come in the way of finding out who my ancestors were (and maybe who I was, too). Not to mention an Iron Curtain and my complete ignorance of the languages I would be seeing. That’s why the word “Wanderings” in my title is so appropriate; there is no straight pathway for anyone who researches this particular area of the world.