When I located Talalay cousins in Mogilev, St. Petersburg and Moscow, most of them told the same stories.
They knew relatives had gone to America long ago. Their parents and grandparents had once possessed photographs and stacks of letters from the American family.
But, during Stalin’s era, these momentos and family connections were considered liabilities and, if found, could have meant one-way tickets to Siberia. Almost all of these families burned anything that could connect them to America.
Sometimes, I had copies of these precious pictures in my collection and was able to send copies to them, and connections were established once again.
However, this kind of rediscovery isn’t just fueled by people who had left the old country.
Russians of all backgrounds are eagerly looking for their roots, for ties that were long buried during the Communist era.
Click here for a fascinating article on this new activity.