The subject of finding Ukrainian roots in Western Ukraine can be split in two parts:

  1. Finding Ukrainian ancestry and sites in urban centers of Western Ukraine, such as Lviv, Chernivtsi, Drohobych, etc.
  2. Finding Ukrainian roots in smaller rural communities of Western Ukraine.

Ukrainian Ancestry in Urban Areas of Western Ukraine

Looking for Ukrainian roots in larger cities of Western Ukraine has several important issues to consider. In terms of complexity, the task can be comparable to searching for Jewish and Polish ancestry in Galicia. Ukrainian urban population of Galicia made up less than one-third of the total municipal population of the region before the War. Following the war, a large percentage of Ukrainian urban middle class left of its own will, was resettled or perished in an effort by the Soviet authorities to break any resistance to the new order of life after incorporation of Galicia, Bukovina and Volhynia into the Soviet Western Ukraine. Consequently, chances of finding living relatives among today’s Ukrainian urban dwellers are low.

Ukrainian Ancestry in Rural Ukraine

If your ancestry is based in a rural town or village of Ukraine, finding your roots becomes easier. Since rural population, as a poorer social class, was subject to less repressions from the government and remained less mobile, being attached to land, the chances of finding ancestry in Ukrainian countryside stand much higher. Often residents in smaller communities provide essential help in pointing you to the right house or telling facts of a family history. The link to ancestry through living rural residents is quickly disappearing as the village population ages while younger generations moves out in search of work.

The State of Ukrainian Archival Records in Western Ukraine

Ukrainian ancestral records are comprised of Ukrainian Church vital records, school records and cadastral papers for communities in Western Ukraine. They can be found at the State Archives of Lviv, Ternopil, Ivano-Frankivsk and Chernivtsi. The records are not always complete, or may be split between various archives. A sizable portion of Ukrainian vital records was scanned and is available through English language ancestral websites or on microfilm.

Please also consider using our GENEALOGY SERVICES for assistance in finding your ancestry in Western Ukraine.