The Road to the National Archives

Little did I realize when I stumbled upon the book, “The Forsaken: An American Tragedy in Stalin’s Russia” by Tim Tzouliadis, that the discovery of that book would result in a trip to the National Archives in College Park, Maryland six months later.

The citation on page 195 of Mr. Tzouliadis’s book, which referenced the occasion when my Aunt Nancy and Aunt Anna called at the embassy in Kuibyshev in February 1942, pointed to the National Archives as the source of the information.  Not only was this exciting since it provided me with someone who was researching my family, but also because it alluded to the city of Kuibyshev, which was mentioned in the April 22, 1942 diary entry. (see “The Importance of Reading Between the Lines-)

I knew I had to contact the author; I needed more answers.  I began my search for him by turning to Facebook. My initial query came up empty, but when I decided to search on his unusual last name only, I got a single hit- a woman named Lucy. I hoped that perhaps she was a relative, so I took a chance. I sent her a private Facebook message asking if she was related to Tim Tzouliadis, who I needed to speak with regarding individuals in his book who were related to me.  Bingo!  Lucy is Tim’s sister, and she was kind enough to put me in contact with her brother.

Mr. Tzouliadis explained that I should be able to obtain copies of the documents via mail, and The National Archives website provides an online inquiry form for researchers to obtain copies of records:  http://www.archives.gov/contact/inquire-form.html.  I supplied the names, dates, and information from the citation and waited.

Within two weeks I returned home to a phone message from an archivist in College Park, asking me to call her back immediately. When I finally spoke to her, I was thrilled to hear that she was unable to send me copies of the records held at the archives, because there were too many documents to copy.  I was advised to plan a trip to Maryland.  I couldn’t wait to see what I would find!

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About kjw616

I am a genealogy detective. I have already written one book about my Irish family's journey from 19th century Ireland to the United States- a family history sprinkled with personal anecdotes. My second book was intended to be a similar story about my Russian ancestors. Instead, it turned into a tale of just my father's immediate family. It is the tale of what happens when 6 children from New Jersey are moved to the Soviet Union by their Russian-born parents during the Great Depression. It details who lives, who dies, and who is able to return to NJ during a time when leaving the USSR was not an easy endeavor, particularly during World War II and the Cold War. It is my hope that those interested in history during this time period will find this story fascinating as well as those fellow amateur family historians who will learn some of the tools such as ancestry.com, visits to the National Archives, and local libraries I used to uncover this story.
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