Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Some Family History

Tatiana’s paternal Great Grandfather Franskevich moved to Siberia with his three sons in the mid 1920’s. Tanya said he never spoke about why they moved or where they were from so to this day they know nothing about their family history outside of Siberia. The name is Polish but they could have been from parts of Ukraine, which were under Soviet rule and were moved involuntarily. No one knows.

Tanya’s Grandfather was 16 years old at the time. A few years later, he married Maria Egorova and they had two sons Petr (Tanya’s father) and Victor. The war broke out and the three brothers were called up. All three were killed. The family got letters about two of them, when and where but of Tanya’s Grandfather no word. For years, they lived with the faint hope that he was somewhere still alive. Many people who were displaced by the war never found their way home again. However, last fall one of Tanya’s second cousins, who lives in Moscow, found an official website, which listed him as being killed near Smolensk but grave location unknown.

Maria never remarried. She raised the boys on her own and when Petr married Maria Tischina in the mid-1950’s, they lived in the Franskevich family home with Petr’s mother. Babushka Maria pretty much raised Petr and Maria’s children, Sasha, Tanya and Luda, as Tanya’s mother worked full time as a veterinarian and was away from home long hours. Tanya’s father was a tractor driver in lumber camps in Northern Siberia and then on a state farm near their home. My Tanya speaks often and fondly of her Babushka.

This picture is of Tanya’s Babushka, Maria (right) and Maria’s older sister, Tatiana Larkin. It was taken in the early 1950’s when Maria would have been in her early 40’s. Maria had two older sisters, both named Tatiana. The girls, both born in January, a couple of years apart, were victims of an absent-minded priest and a timid father. According to Orthodox custom, the priest chooses the baby’s name. Parents may suggest but can be over ruled. St Tatiana’s Day is January 25th. My Tanya’s Maternal Great Grandmother was home sick on the day of their second baby’s christening. When the priest forgot they already had one Tatiana at home, my Tanya’s maternal Great Grandfather was too timid to correct him. The Tatiana in this picture is the middle sister, Tatiana 2.

This family picture was taken in front of the Franskevich home in Kalyagino village along the Yenisei (like Tennessee) River near Abakan in Khakasia. On the left is Tanya's Uncle Victor, who died of meningitis at age 26, beside him is Tanya’s brother Sasha and behind Victor is his cousin Tonya and her little one. Tonya is the daughter of Tatiana 1. Next to her are Tatiana 2 and Maria. Tanya’s Babushka was 1 meter 50 centimeters (5 ft) high. The tall girl at the back was a friend of Victor’s and front right is my Tanya’s mother, Maria. This picture was taken in 1957 the year before my Tanya was born.


  1. These are really interesting. Tanya looks very much like Tatiana 2 and her grandmother.

  2. I love the story of the timid father and the forgetful priest. Two Tatianas. It sounds like the beginning of a short story, or something.


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