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Ukrainian archives have preserved many historical records useful for genealogical research. During the period of Soviet rule, archives centralized and preserved a vast holding of church records dating from 1721-1917, and other genealogical sources such as censuses and land records. Ukrainian archives today continue to preserve records according to international archival standards. The archives are centrally controlled by the State Archival Service of Ukraine, which administers about 700 archival institutions.
Access to archival records varies from archive to archive. Records may be available for research in reading rooms at the archives and some archives provide reference services by correspondence. Many archive records have been microfilmed or digitized by FamilySearch, although most records remain in their original paper form in the archives.
Archives of Ukraine Web Site
The offical web-portal of the State Archival Service of Ukraine is Archives of Ukraine (http://www.archives.gov.ua/Eng/). This site is available in English and provides links to the web pages of individual archives in Ukraine, with contact information, information about holdings, and other information about using the archive. As far as is known, there are no online record images or indexes provided on the Archives of Ukraine web site or the web pages of the individual archives in Ukraine. Online catalog information about holdings varies from archive to archive, with some providing more detail about the contents of their collections than others.
Organization of Records in Ukrainian Archives
Most of the records of genealogical interest are organized into Central State Historical Archives for each province (oblast) of Ukraine. Additional records may still exist in smaller local archives.
As in other archives of the former Soviet Union, all Ukrainian archive materials are assigned a record group (font), inventory (opis), and item (delo).
A record group (fond) contains the records of a specific organization, portion of an organization, or individual. Archives also create collections as opposed to record groups, in which records of different organizations or individuals are filed together on some logical or thematic basis. Thus, in some archives, vital records of different religions can be filed together.
An inventory (opis) is a list of items in a record group or collection. While filing by record group reflects authorship, description by inventory reflects content, equivalent to a table of contents in a book. The inventory identifies title assigned to each item, the sequential number, and information on inclusive dates and number of pages. The inventory is the key to finding records in an archive. It usually is not available outside of the archive, although microfilmed records often include a microfilm copy of the inventory. There may be more than one inventory for a record group. These sometimes reflect different types of material or different accessions of records for the same institution. The decision as to what to include in an inventory will vary significantly from archive to archive.
An item (delo) can be a single volume, file, or even a single sheet of paper. Each item is given a title based upon the record type and contents. Items are usually filed chronologically by the earliest year of information found in that item. Within a particular year, the items are supposed to be filed by degree of significance.
Each item in an archive is defined by three numbers:fond, opis, and delo. The number at each level is simply a sequential number. Later insertions are given an alpha designation after the number such as 21a, 21b, etc.
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