forgotten ancestors: a journey to Western Ukraine

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I invite anyone to view this journal documenting my search for family roots in Western Ukraine. Start with the first June entry in the archives and read the posts in chronological order. I've tried to be accurate and apologize for inadvertant mistakes. Feel free to post or e-mail corrections, comments or questions. I also have many more pictures that I would be pleased to share. The Internet has been crucial in my research and I'm happy to give back to it.

Our family names are Wojtowicz (Voytovich), Cycyk (Cicik), Komarnicki and Matkowski. I looked for my relatives in the towns of Hubici, Lacko (now Solianuvatka), Lapousanka and Verkhnie Vysotske (Wysocko in Polish.)

Hubici and Lacko are neighbors, located in the foothills of the Carpathians. Lapousanka and Verkhnie Vysotske are about an hour and a half away, deeper in the mountains but very close together, on the same road. I took the opportunity to look at Komarnicki and Matkiv--origins of the family surnames-- since they were also along this road.

Unless you speak Ukrainian fluently and are a fearless driver, I can't begin to stress the importance of a good translator/driver. Slav Tsarynnyk, owner of Lviv Ecotours, made the all the difference on this trip. We highly recommend him. (

Finally, I'd like to thank Oleh Iwanusiw, a Canadian who I've never met, for his exceptional kindness. The pictures he took several years ago of three women in a Hubici field proved crucial to my search. The Internet is a powerful resource!

The picture at the top of the page is the road from Lacko to Hubici.


At 7:45 PM, Blogger yasser said...

indeed it is a powerful resource; how else can you experience the places you described without actually going there....

At 3:40 AM, Blogger Chriswab said...

Hi ich bin Chriswab aus Bottrop. Viele GrĂ¼sse !!

At 7:49 PM, Blogger falco348 said...

This site is one of the best I have ever seen, wish I had one like this.

At 9:44 AM, Blogger PAUL WHEATMAN said...


I really enjoyed reading about your trip to the Ukraine with Slav. I too used Slav in May of 2006 to visit Sambir. We were fortunate enough to find the birth records of my mother and her 2 younger sisters. My mother's maiden name was Agnes Sech and she was born in 1903. My grandmother and her 3 daughters fled to America in 1912 (my grandfather at the time was working in the coal mines in West Virginia) There is a large market area in Sambir She talked about this market and how she got separated from her mother and was temporarly lost. I know this was the same market! I looked at the old steel tables where the merchandise was displayed. What a awesome experience. My regrets were that I didn't use Slav to asl the old women there of they know of a Sech.
My Mom lived to 97 and her sister lived to almost 101. My grandmother had 5 sons after coming to United States.

At 5:49 AM, Blogger Kendra15 said...

Thanks for posting this. Beautiful account. My husband's family comes from that area. Would love to know more on how you started the search.Did you have some documents to start?

At 10:53 PM, Blogger karen said...

Dear Sandy,

I really enjoyed reading your beautifully written account of your journey. I made a similar journey myself to Lviv, Drohobych and Boryslav last you I come from a Ukrainian diaspora family and didn't get interested in my Ukrainian background and culture until it was too late. Now Ukraine has well and truly got under my skin and I am keen to learn all I can. Your account of finding one of the women in Oleh's photo is just amazing! How amazing is the internet? And Ukrainian's are so kind in their willingness to help. I particulary love your description of the old customs and your photos are just fantastic. Thanks so much for sharing.

Best regards, Karen (

At 2:10 AM, Blogger unlybbe said...

Hello Sandy!

I am going on a trip to Lviv next week. Some of my ancestors also come from Staryi Sambir and I am planning a guided trip to the village, as well. I hope you get this message, as I would love to hear any pointers or information you feel might be useful!

Thank you,

At 10:06 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

My late maternal grandfather came from the village of Komarniki in Turka area which had lots of Komarnickis and his mother's maiden name was Emilia Matkiwska. I know Komarniki sometime get written as Komrnicki so wondering if this is the same village you visited. I was last there back in 1998.


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