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© Douglas Hykle
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Frequently Asked Questions

I have yet to fully develop this page, but I have added a few questions to get the ball rolling, and plan to update it continuously as new questions/issues arise.


Why have you created this website?

To answer this question properly would probably take a few pages -- the My Story section gives some background to my personal interest in Tovste. Apart from being the birthplace of my ancestors, who emigrated to Canada more than 100 years ago, Tovste has a rich history and a fascinating story that most of the world has yet to hear. I figured that I was uniquely positioned to share that story with a wider audience.

Still, when I took on the challenge -- more than a decade ago -- of developing the website, I couldn't have imagined how much effort would be needed to bring it to fruition. I have spent literally thousands of hours researching the town and writing the texts that appear here (yet still representing only a fraction of the information I have compiled); and then learning Dreamweaver "on the fly" to be able put these pages together over the course of several months. If enough people find this material useful and informative, and respond positively to it, the effort will have been worthwhile.


I think my relatives came from Tluste. Can you help me to trace my family tree?

As I mentioned above, I have developed this website in my spare time and with my own resources over the past several years. I am not a professional genealogist or historian. The website is the product of how I have spent most of my free time away from my "real" profession -- at the expense of other interests and leisure activity. In fact, I regret that for the past few years I have ignored my own family history research to be able to concentrate on this project. Although I am not in a position to help you with your own family tree, I think you will find many aspects of this website useful for your research. Please refer to the Welcome Note to get a better sense of everything this website has to offer.

Having said that, I would love to hear from you if you have a personal in interest in or connection to Tovste. If I can give a quick pointer here or there, I would be happy to oblige. Please use the Feedback page for that purpose.

What archives have you visited to do your own family history research?

I have made use of many exceptionally helpful archives in different towns in Ukraine, as well as abroad. I have listed these in the Resources section, and have given an indication of the holdings that I have found particularly valuable.


Can I extract some of the images or pages from your website and put them on my own site?

In a word: no. Most of the photographs and images you see on the website are my own, or I have obtained them from other sources who are duly acknowledged. A few of the images are publicly available from Wikipedia and are identified as such. If in doubt, you should assume that the images on this website are copyrighted and may not be extracted and used without my prior permission.

Except where appropriately referenced, I have written all of the content on this website. You are most welcome to advertise the existence of this website by linking to it from your own, but please acknowledge the original source.

When I use the Quick Navigation that's available on some pages, the cursor jumps from section to section as soon as I begin to scroll. How can I prevent this?

The Quick Navigation tool is great for moving straight the the section of the document you are interested in (such as this one). Once you reach the the desired section, simply click once anywhere within that section, and you will then be able to scroll line by line. (Otherwise, scrolling will immediately take you to the next section header.)


What is the best time of year to visit Tovste?

This is obviously a matter of personal preference, but I would be inclined to recommend early summer or autumn, when the weather is nicest. This may vary from year to year of course: I spent two weeks in Tovste one September and had sunshine virtually every day. In May (normally late enough for decent weather) it was cloudy or rainy almost the whole time. Bear in mind that in spring and fall, your Ukrainian hosts might be preoccupied for a few weeks with the regional pasttime of planting and harvesting potatoes! Winter is probably to be avoided, as western Ukraine does tend to receive a lot of snow and cold temperatures (eg. as low as minus 25 C) , which can create problems for getting around and keeping warm.

Is it possible to rent a car to travel around the region surrounding Tovste?

When I first started visiting western Ukraine in the late 1990's, it was difficult if not impossible to find companies offering "self-drive" car rental services to which one might be accustomed in the West. It was – and to some extent still is – much more common to hire a car or a van, with a driver (and perhaps an interpreter) for a certain period of time. They will take you wherever you want to go, depending on your requirements. Times have changed and, as I explain in the Travel Information section, it is now possible to rent cars from both local and international companies.

I personally have little experience hiring a driver for anything longer than a day trip, so I am not in a position to comment on particular companies or rates etc. However, I am familiar with one tour company, Lviv Ecotour, operating out of Lviv. Although I have not used their services myself, I have met one of the partners and I can vouch for the fact that he speaks perfect English and can take you just about anywhere you want to go in his own vehicle.)

Needless to say, with any tour company, one should be clear on all of the terms in advance (for instance, whether you are expected to pay for meals, accommodation etc.).

Is it difficult to communicate with the local people if I don't speak Ukrainian?

This could be an issue when it comes to arranging accommodation, ordering in restaurants, purchasing food etc. However, you would be surprised how far a few simple words, sign language, patience, and a reasonable translation guide will go. Many Ukrainians will have worked abroad, so it is not uncommon to find someone who speaks, say, German or Italian. This might be an alternative if you happen to know those languages. Also, there's a reasonable chance that a younger, school-age person will be able to speak some English, if you get stuck when trying to communicate with an adult. In the end, if you are apprehensive about the language barrier, the best solution would be to hire an interpreter to accompany you for the day.


Can you recommend hotel accommodation in Tovste or a nearby town?

The accommodation available in Tovste and the immediate surrounding area is described in the Travel Information section.