My husband and I recently visited several Towns in Western Ukraine on a Family Roots Search. We were searching for Records and evidence of Family Members dating back to mid 19th Century - quite a challenge! There is no way that we could have accomplished as much as we did without ...

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My GGGrandfather's House in ancestral Ukraine

What was my GG grandfatherís life like? What kind of place did he live in Ukraine? What was the house like? Where did they cook and how did they heat the house? What was the babyís cradle like? What kitchen utensils did they use? What kind of premises were around the house and where was the livestock kept? What were the tools they used in everyday life? What did they grow on their garden? What kind of clothes did they wear?

published: 2012-12-26

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My GGGrandfather's House in ancestral Ukraine

What was my GG grandfatherís life like? What kind of place did he live in Ukraine? What was the house like? Where did they cook and how did they heat the house? What was the babyís cradle like? What kitchen utensils did they use? What kind of premises were around the house and where was the livestock kept? What were the tools they used in everyday life? What did they grow on their garden? What kind of clothes did they wear?



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I did not really know much before but I went to my ancestral village of Rovno in Luboml destrict of Volhyn Province. I did manage to find my GGGrandfather’s home inhabited by another family!

It is possible to may get answers when you take a heritage trip and come to see your ancestral village in Ukraine. The houses being more than 100 years old have been preserved in many distant villages in most provinces of Ukraine. Lots of them have been abandoned but some are still inhabited by senior citizens. Some people still lead the way of life which resembls the one your Ukrainian ancestors did. It’s thrilling because you may not only see the location where the house used to be and the field your grandparents worked on but the building itself when you take a heritage tour in Ukraine.

Nevertheless, the architecture of numerous villages and towns is characteristic of Soviet times only because many villages were destroyed during WWII. Time passed and many new buildings appeared where old ones used to be. Much construction is being done nowadays. What a great pity the old homes of our ancestors are disappearing one by one as well as their owners.

Another good opportunity to learn about the life of our ancestors in Ukraine is to visit the so called skansens – open-air museums of folk architecture and rural life. They are amazing places - I would say they are windows which overlook the past.   

I think number 1 is definitely the skansen in Pyrohiv village near Kyiv. Coordinates - 50.354444°, 30.512222°

The well known outdoor museum of Folk Architecture and Life of Ukraine in Pyrohovo (people often call it Pyrohovo too) covers the territory of about 1.5 square km (it's about 370 acres). It houses more than 300 authentic pieces of folk cowhich were nstructions brought from all provinces of Ukraine. It hard to believe but the oldest hut dates back to 1587 and it is still in tact! The territory is divided into fields or segments, each of the segments features houses characteristic of a certain area of Ukraine. It will take you  few minutes to walk from one province to the other. It will not be any problem to rent a bicycle to ride from Central Ukraine to Western Ukraine. A modern bicycle looks very strange in this surrounding. Renting a horse would be more natural and it is also possible.

 No matter which area of Ukraine your ancestors are from, you will still find the type of house similar to the one where they lived. The interior, all the tools and utensils have been preserved well too. You can come in and feel the ancient atmosphere, it is not about the huts only. Barns and sheds, old churches, workshops of the blacksmiths, pubs and windmills, water wells and haystacks, even gardens where people in Ukrainian folk clothes work. When you walk from Carpathian Mountains area to let us say Southern Ukraine, you will notice craftsmen working along the street dressed the way their ancestorts did.

We used to bring a cloth, some food and have a picnic near the house which was moved from the province our ancestors were from. That was when we were students. We often changed places because my friends were from different areas of Ukraine. It can be still done nowadays, you can also have a good lunch in the pub located on the territory of the museum too.

 

Shevchenkivsky Hai, another skansen, is located in Lviv, 1 Chernecha Gora Street. Coordinates - 49° 50′ 40.57″ N, 24° 3′ 56.26″

Shevchenkivsky Hai is the Museum of National Architecture and Life which houses 124 pieces of architecture brought from several areas of Western Ukraine, such as Hutsulshchyna, Podillia, Bukovyna, Lemkivshchyna, Boikivshchyna and Polissia. There are about 50 homesteads and about 20 000 exhibits displayed there. I must admit the place is close to the busy city center but it feels like you you’re in a calm village. The museum is open all week long but the houses are closed on Monday. If you visit the museum at weekend, you will see numerous newly weds attracted by the picturesque scenery and having photo sessions.

Here is the list of other time machines - the outdoor Museums of Folk Architecture and Rural Life featuring the typical ancient architecture of the region:

 - The Transcarpathian Museum. Address: Uzhgorod, 33a Kapitulna Street. Coordinates - 48.620861°, 22.305958°

 - The Museum of the History of Agriculture. Address: Rokyni village, Volyn Oblast. Coordinates - 50°49'59''N, 25°15'17''E

 - Subcarpathian Regional Museum, the part of The Ancient Halych National Reserve.Address: Krylos village, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast. Coordinates - 49°4'53"N   24°42'30"E

 - Perejaslav-Khmelnycki. Coordinates = 50.065956°, 31.477203°

 - Chernivtsi Museum. Address: 2 Svitlovodska Street. Coordinates - 48°17'18.24''N, 25°58'54.12''E

Skansens are wonderful places for time travel. You can easily lose the sense of reality while being there. Even if the goal of your tour in Ukraine has nothing to do with genealogy and heritage research, the skansens in Ukraine are worth visiting anyway.