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Tour Belarus for family research

updated on 16/05/2013

This article covers field family research in Belarus that in most cases comes after dealing with the State archives of Belarus and genealogical research.

In my experience visiting Belarus for family research purpose includes seeing where one's ancestors lived and worked, talking to the oldest surviving locals - which is the most fruitful and emotional part - and attending graveyards and churches that might or might not throw more light on the subject. Such a trip will require a tourist visa and the invitation can be supplied by my partner travel agency if my services are hired.

church in lyskovo, Belarus

Collect information on the local landmarks

Please, note that if your tour location is too close to the state boderline of Belarus, a permit might be required to visit the area. Also, if you are planning to come in and out of Belarus, e.g. to Russia or Latvia, you will need a double-entry visa. And most important (!) having a visa to Russia you still need one to visit Belarus and vice versa. First step here will be visa support which requires a careful planning of days and locations to be visited while touring Belarus.

Based on my previous experience mileage and hours (and respectively my fees) are easy to calculate when you know the dates of arrival to and departure from Belarus and locations of coming in and out. The best option in terms of logistics is landing in Minsk and departing straight into the countryside while landing in Vilnius and taking a train to Minsk or Grodno seems cheaper.

With the starting and ending points in mind, I will estimate the itinerary within 1-2 days depending on my schedule and quote the budget for the guiding and driving services. Being an ex travel agent I will offer you the hotel options on-site and book them free of charge. The hotel of our longest stay will be included into the visa application and invitation to Belarus.

Belarus hotel options

We may stay at a castle hotel or a countryside manor!

While the paperwork is being dealt with, I will need to go through any vital information about the locations in Belarus to be visited during the trip. Please, specify the names, years and any clues and landmarks that are available from the relatives (if at all possible). Note, that the best on-site landmarks are chuches, highways, railroads, bridges and solid (stone) village houses. E.g. when on a mission near Mogilev the tip about the former family residence was "the fourth house on the main street". Fourth landlot was indeed deserted and the old lady from the first house told us the rest of the story! If you need to know more about the history of the location - please, specify - I will research the matter.

interviewing a local during family research

The mission's success - surviving locals!

Once you've got the visa in your respective country of residence it is all quite simple. We meet in Minsk or at an agreed location in Belarus and begin the touring activities. Please, note that I do not charge in advance before you get to Belarus - all payments are executed in cash on a daily basis. Being a registered private businessman (I hold a license of a private guide No 000961 issued by the National Tourism Agency of Belarus on 20.05.2011 and the certificate of a private businessman No 191585488 issued by the Minsk City Executive Committee on 18.08.2011) I prefer to not have a bank account - at any rate not yet a USD-account which is a potential source of headache.

It might also be the case that I will be passing by your family's native place when on a different mission. There is nothing to prevent me from taking a side-trip and taking a few pictures or asking a few questions on your behalf. I might also find a co-sponsor for such a trip who'd like to take a good look at the real Belarusian village without paying too much or risking such a voyage on his own... Ready to go? Fill in the visa application form!

Driving through Antopol, Southern Belarus


Questions are welcome!

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