We often fall in love with some towns and villages when we come to do local genealogy research. Ilnyk in the Carpathian Mountains is one of them and I would like to take you there as well. While you can feel a very strong influence of the war everywhere in Ukraine, this part has not been destroyed.
The photos below were taken at the time of our research project in Ilnyk in July, 2023. Our customer has kindly agreed to share part of his Ancestral Village Photo Album and part of our family research story with you. So, welcome to Ilnyk on our photos.
The views on our way to the village are breathtaking and the roads are mostly good. The rain is very short in summer and it makes the nature even more beautiful.
Ilnyk in the land of the Boykos – an ethnic group of the Ukrainian highlanders which have managed to preserve their uniqueness to some extent. The Boyko area was part of many heritage tours we did before. Mrs. Luba who leads the wedding ceremony in the photo below is one of the local guides who can tell great and real stories about the highlanders and their culture. This picture can be found in her book titled “Boyko Beads”.
If you’d like to learn more about the Boykos, I think you may find this post on the Ukraїner website interesting. I would also recommend checking other articles and videos there as they show Ukraine the way it is, without any fake stereotypes.
Being the birthplace of the extremely energetic Boyko people, Ilnyk radiates tranquility. It’s a very interesting and strange combination to experience.
The old Roman Catholic church of Ilnyk produces a very strong impression today. The sites that were all part of the customer’s grandfather’s life in the old country still exist. They’ve seen many generations, historical events and changes. Learning history becomes exciting because you can feel it here.
Although the evening view of the abandoned church may seem somewhat scary in the photo, it produces an impression of peace when you are there.
The church where the customer’s grandfather was baptized in still standing as well:
The old lists of the church parishioners can be a very valuable source of information. As a rule, they are not stored in the archives. We were so lucky to find this record in the village. It covers 4 generations and it’s been a good addition to the family tree. It was the key that let us connect the past of the family with its present. It let us locate the living relatives, family burials and the ancestral plot.
The tradition of using the photos of the deceased people on the tombstones let us see the faces of some of the relatives who left many years ago. As a rule, such tombstones exist only if there’s any living family to keep them up.
This is a road to the distant district of the village where the customer’s grandfather was born.
And this is the view from the ancestral plot.
Although the house of the stepbrother of the customer’s grandfather is not inhabited today, we could still feel the atmosphere of his life very well.
Finding living relatives is always the most exciting part of the experience. I know this story is not complete without their happy photos and the “detective” stories we’ve learned when doing family research. I am sorry but I just can’t share them for privacy reasons. However, I will post some other photos of Ilnyk to let you feel what this part of Ukraine is like.
Being here is also part of the exciting time travel experience that we love in the Dorosh Heritage Tours so much. I’m happy we can do it with the help of photos and videos despite the war. I am sure the time when we can do it by means of heritage tours of Ukraine as before will come.
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Love from Ukraine.