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Bodnar & Norman Great Grandparents

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  • Bodnar & Norman Great Grandparents

    I am trying to find information regarding my great-grandparents Andrew Bodnar & Katherena Norman Bodnar. I know they were both born in Ukraine sometime around 1919. My grandmother was born in a displaced persons camp after WWII in Germany in 1948 I believe. Katherine and Andrew moved here to the US shortly afterwards. I have no idea what village they may have been from or what their parents' names are. My grandmother has not shared any information regarding her parents only that she suspects Katherena being a gypsy... I would greatly appreciate any help! Thank you!

  • #2
    Welcome Corynna.

    Germany kept meticulous records for anyone who set foot in their territories.

    Most DP Documentation (from all WW2 German Territories) is now centralized in BAD AROLSEN ARCHIVES. It is a small archives in a small German town of 16,000, that holds documentation for the fate of 17.5 million people. Appx 30 million records have actually been digitized so far. There are five miles of shelves stuffed w/DP documents, a lot of which still need to be digitized. It is an on-going process. Reason why it is taking so much time to digitize the entire ITS collection is that the filing system is based on name cards.

    Inquiry by direct family is free of charge. All you need to do is provide name or names (including any alias) and their variant spellings and dates of birth. You can make an inquiry for both GGrandparents and Grandmother at same time. Turn around time can vary. I warn you that patience is an absolute must. The estimate is that up to 20 million people were displaced post WW2. Their descendants are now swarming these archives. The archivists are overwhelmed w/work.

    It might expedite matters if you provided a copy of a notarized death certificate. You do have to be over 18 yrs old to make an inquiry. If you are underage, ask parents for help.
    Keeping in mind that family stories are frequently inaccurate, my guess is that GGrandmother was not Roma, a Gypsy. This was a ethnic group that came close to being annihilated by the Nazis during WW2.

    Your GGrandmother may have been a Ukrainian folk healer??? They were frequently referred to as (gypsy) charmers.

    There are many traditional healers and magic users in the Ukrainian Carpathians (See the documentaries "The Whisperer" by Yara Arts about Baba Anna or "Wisdom of Carpathian Molfar" about famous witchdoctor Myhailo Nechay). They practice a form of witchcraft that blends ancient Slavic Pagan practices with modern Christianity, which does, in fact, make it similar to Voodoo, but not the same. It was originally blended with Christianity, the gods' names in incantations were replaced with saints' names, to help save these witches from being brutally tortured and murdered by the so-called "Christians". These are real people practicing a system of magic and spirituality handed down witch to witch, for thousands of years. To say that their magic works or does not work is a matter of faith.

    subject covered in detail:

    In the interim following is very informative site re Ostarbeiter (Forced Laborers) and POW (Prisoners of War) and the various DP (Displaced Person) Camps set up post WW2.
    Displaced Persons' (DP) Camps Table of Contents

    Last edited by Hannia; 25th April 2015, 18:13.

    æ, !

    Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


    • #3
      corynna, where in the us did your ggranparents settle? do you know what town in germany they were? my parents were taken by the nazis into forced labour. do what hannia said to do. write to bad arolsen and ask if they have anything on your ggranparents. i did and they sent me copies of everything they had on my parents. honestly, it was heartbreaking to read but it had a lot of info i needed.
      hannia, her great grandmothers maiden name was norman. unless it was shortened ,norman does not sound ukrainian to me. maybe that's why she was thought to be a gypsy, which in ukraine is a bad thing. my tato always told me, "never go to sleep hungry, you'll dream of gypsies". maria


      • #4
        Appx 50 people in Ukraine still carry the surname, Norman. It looks to have Viking - French origins??? Most look to be in Eastern Ukraine??? Additionally, there a least another 100 w/same hyphenated surname. Best to ascertain EXACT birthplace.

        1968-05-22 -
        0 1976-02-11
        0 1931-01-09
        0 1988-03-24 -
        0 1936-09-15
        0 1988-01-24 93
        0 1965-06-15
        0 1984-07-03 93
        5660764 1909-05-17 .
        0 1938-10-04
        0 1938-10-04
        0 1972-07-25
        345636 1946-09-26
        0 1929-03-14
        0 1964-01-21
        0 1966-07-03
        0 1962-10-22
        0 1943-09-04
        0 1938-06-06
        0 1949-07-18
        0 1928-04-20
        0 1934-01-01
        0 1986-09-28
        4460539 1971-03-23 .
        0 1956-03-10
        0 1928-09-15
        0 1939-03-08
        0 1948-06-27
        0 1966-02-24 -
        0 1966-02-24 -
        0 1965-02-24
        0 1938-04-20
        0 1935-07-19
        0 1936-11-03
        0 1935-07-14
        0 1970-04-07
        0 1934-07-19
        0 1940-09-13
        0 1976-05-08
        119446 1974-05-11
        0 1971-03-15
        0 1949-07-29
        0 1942-01-01
        0 1942-01-01
        0 1942-01-01
        0 1951-12-09 (Prussians

        PS: The surname can also be Prussian. Keep in mind that Catherine the Great invited Germans (Prussians) to resettle in what was Southern Czarist Russia in 18th century > today Eastern Ukraine.
        Last edited by Hannia; 26th April 2015, 17:21.

        æ, !

        Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


        • #5
          Thank you so much! I actually have updated information. My grandmother's name is Katheryna Chanas. She married Andrij Bodnar (my grandfather). Later, she remarried to a gentleman with the last name Bodnar.

          I've been told Katheryna grew up in a small village near Kiev around 1925- her parents were killed by Germans at their home and she was forced to work on a German farm.

          My grandfather Andrij Bodnar was born in Ukraine as well, but I unfortunately do not have much info on him.

          I am putting in my request for that database you suggested. Thank you!


          • #6
            Hi, first they moved to Cleveland, OH and later the Chicago region.


            • #7
              ??? This is "kind of an educated guess"

              Both GGrandparents might very well have been from Babchyntsi () > today located in Chernivetskiy raion/county > Vynnyska oblast/region - not very far from Kyiv. Both surnames, Norman and Bodnar, appear there to this day. The predominant heritage in this immediate area was Cossack.

              Hopefully the archives will provide you w/paperwork that will reveal the exact birthplace/s.

              æ, !

              Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp