Library of Congress
U.S. National Archives
U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Research Institute
Research in former Soviet archives (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia)
Boris Feldblyum photo collection
Articles on archival and genealogical research
Index to 12,000 names in the FAST record collection
Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905). Russian-Jewish Soldiers injured, killed or missing in action
We Fought the Nazis in 1941-1945
Book of Memory. 100,000 records of Soviet Jews who fought and died in WWII
Personal ads and obituaries from the Novoe Russkoe Slovo (Новое Русское Слово) newspaper (New York)
FAST Genealogy Service is an organization created in response to the demand of American researchers for access to records in former Soviet archives. Since 1992, FAST has established working relations with over 30 former Soviet archives and retrieved thousands of documents for Western researchers and genealogists. We are able and happy to help you document your family history. We search for and obtain copies of original records, whether a single document or an entire collection. We work primarily with archives in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
FAST is the acronym for Feldblyum Archival Search and Translations. Boris Feldblyum is a co-founder and president of FAST. His working knowledge of several local languages (Russian, Ukrainian, Lithuanian and Polish), his thorough understanding of post-Soviet culture and mentality, and his ability to motivate archival officials are the main factors in the ongoing success of the organization.
Since the first signs of the decay of the Soviet empire, Boris Feldblyum has carefully watched the changing state of archival affairs in the Soviet Union and its successor states. When the first reports about visits to the Soviet archives appeared, it was obvious that doing genealogical research there would not be a simple task. There were very few catalogues and no finding aids, and the archival staff was unprepared to deal with genealogical requests. However, after months of persistent efforts in establishing contacts throughout the former USSR, Mr. Feldblyum concluded that the idea of servicing the genealogical community was feasible.
What we can do:
- Archival research
We can identify and research collections that may contain records related to your ancestral family. If the records are found, we can have them photocopied and send the copies to you. Whenever possible, we go beyond finding vital records. Census, police, communal and many other types of records do exist and can provide invaluable information.
- Search for living relatives (in the former USSR and anywhere in the world)
Reconnecting families separated by events of the 20th century is the most exciting and rewarding service we offer. It tends to be logistically complicated and is an open ended process with no guarantee of success. However, we are proud to have successfully completed a number of such projects.
- Search for unknown heirs
It is a combination of archival research and search for relatives, although with a different goal (execution of a last will and testament). We are result oriented and provide accurate and verifiable information for our clients.
Genealogy research is an exciting vocation. However, it may be frustrating, especially in the early stages of research, when the only information available is that one’s ancestors came from “Russia or Poland”. We provide analysis of information and assist with strategy development for those who wish to conduct their own research.
We specialize in translating handwritten records in the Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, Lithuanian, and Yiddish languages. Translating old handwritten records is often more about deciphering old handwriting rather than translating. If we can read it, we can translate it.
What we cannot do.
We cannot meet unreasonable expectations. Genealogical research, like any other research, is about finding information, analyzing findings, and drawing conclusions - in that order. Being emotional about one’s own roots and family history is understandable, but it may lead a genealogist in the wrong direction or to a dead end. A simple example is the often encountered insistence that a family name must be spelled in a certain way. When it comes to researching Eastern European names, spelling plays a lesser role than phonetics.
When the information is found, we do not analyze it as a rule, although we do share our opinion with a researcher. It would be too presumptuous for us to make conclusions based on superficial familiarity with another person’s family history. Moreover, it would not be fair for us to deny a genealogist the pleasure of a discovery.
With regard to legally oriented genealogical research, we do not "sign up" people based on similarity of names.
Although FAST was created with the goal of retrieving Jewish archival treasures (copies only) from the former Soviet Union, we have since expanded our services to include the research in such Washington DC repositories as the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and the USHMM.
We can help and we will be happy to hear from you.FAST Genealogy Service