A client since 1999 (written Sep 2004):
To Whom It May Concern:
I feel that I have an obligation to share my experiences with any future patrons of the genealogic research services available from Blitz and its primary research associate Elena Tsvetkova in St. Petersburg. I am doing this totally voluntarily as a token of my appreciation for the assistance provided for me.
I first contacted Blitz in late 1998 via traditional mail services. Soon thereafter, we switched to the usage of email to expedite communications between us. My knowledge of my Russian ancestry was then limited to only six people, my two grandparents and 4 of my great-grandparents, and various aunts & uncles. Now, over these last five years of collaboration, I know fifty direct ancestors and countless hundreds of aunts/uncles/cousins! This is well beyond my expectations. Further, our research continues to this date.
Our projects have taken us to the large state archives in Moscow and St Petersburg. We have also visited multiple libraries; read old newspapers from the 1820s to 1920; consulted Geographic Services for their reports; and visited additional archives that were remote from the home base in St Petersburg when only on-site research would hold the information that we needed. When I thought that there were no further avenues for search, Elena would make suggestions as to where other possibilities for further search existed. The diligence of Blitz in the pursuit of my family research was only limited by the guidelines that I placed. The projects were undertaken promptly and reported equally as promptly in concise and usable form.
I have often requested that Elena search for tiny & remote pieces of information that have, collectively, given an identity and reality to the individual people that were initially identified by name from church registers, Nobility files and military records. Later, on a larger scale, information has been gathered to help me to understand the beginnings of the Cossack 'nation' as recorded from the perspective of their own written records in 1878. We have discovered written accounts of professional soldier's own life stories and copied them to help me to understand the passion with which this group of people wished to preserve their own way of life and sustain their devotion to Mother Russia.
In summation, while the premise of my research was to see if I could find any information about my family, the resourcefulness of the research staff has found many many people in such as fashion that I have been able to gain some insight into their own life and times. While no one would be able to guarantee being able to duplicate the considerable research achievements that have been fortunately provided for me, I feel most able to assure anyone that the quality of effort and the consummate knowledge of the Russian historical resources available would not be duplicated by any other research group other than BLITZ.
BLITZ in general, and ELENA TSVETOVA in particular, with her associate OLGA, have provided me with a gift of family heritage that I could have never dreamed able to be discovered. My family and I will be in their debt for what they have provided to us.
Phyllis Mary Dorosheff
A client since 1998:
I have been using Blitz to research the history of my family in Russia for the past three years. Their researchers in Russia have done a fabulous job in helping me trace the life of my grandmother and her brothers and sisters between 1890 - 1922, including obtaining details of three military careers during World War I and the Civil War, and three sets of university records.
They have pointed to many other potential sources of information, which have yielded fruit, and conducted other research in Russian archives (reading local newspapers, etc.), which have enabled me to put my family's life in context. A source of first rate, reliable research."
Stephanie Williams [London. England], author of 'Olga's Story', forthcoming from Penguin(UK) and Doubleday, June 2004'
A client with Blitz since 1997, working on a book with another Blitz client. These men were shipmates on the USS Renshaw DDE-499 during 1950 & 1951. Together, they researched an incident that involved their ship and five others in protecting the USS Sicily & HMS Glory on July 28, 1951:
"The people of BLITZ, especially Yelena and Natasha, were tremendously helpful in finding and arranging for me to interview the two outstanding people I met with in St. Petersburg, in 1997, at the BLITZ offices. Without Natasha and Yelena's translations, I would have been lost."
"Additionally, Yelena went out of her way to help me both professionally and personally(she assisted me in purchasing a present for my wife) while at their offices. The novel that I am working on is oriented about much of the information I obtained during my interviews. Thank you BLITZ."
- Donald C. McElfresh
Co-author of Submarine or Phantom Target
A client researching family, writing a book and traveling to Russia. Using Blitz services since 1996 and continues today:
"I have been very pleased with the work that Blitz - USA and Blitz - St. Petersburg have provided for me. I have taken Blitz outside of the operating boundaries; i.e., after 1917 and away from the Romanov family. My request was into the KGB files with the delivery of files for a relative from Tula, Russia and from St. Petersburg, Russia, and files from Estonia.
This research has encouraged me to learn Russian, to visit places I would not have thought were possible, and to meet some very nice people. The research has enlightened me on the history of Russia, its penal system, and the vastness of the penal system. The research does require a lot of researching and asking to get to the bottom of a person's life in Russia.
I have already been able to help others and direct them to the Blitz organization. One case in point, the person had a birth certificate of his grandfather. I translated it for him. Showed him the structure of the Russian Name. And, he was able to locate the name in Ellis Island records. Now, he has a name of the town in Russia and can request the help of Blitz.
Blitz has been very willing to help a person in the research and to meet persons in the system of Russia. I found this to be very helpful. I anticipate several more trips to Russia to do the research, to practice the Russian language, and to meet the people...."
A client from 1993 and again in 2002:
I first engaged Blitz in July of 1993 and continued to use their services through 1996 and obtained quality information & service on several families at that time, mostly from the archives in St. Petersburg. The time frame ranges from before 1810 to the Revolution, and the various sources were mostly official "service records" both civil & military. This year I learned that access had been obtained to a certain archive in Moscow so I re-engaged Blitz to research another family which another firm had totally failed with. Within a few months a quantity of information had been received and I am going to continue the search. Both the cost and the turn around time is reasonable, and all the more so considering the substandard conditions that the archivists must contend with.
-Craig M. Hamilton
A client researching family with Blitz since 1997:
"A first-rate resource for anyone interested in tracing their Russian roots, Blitz provides excellent archival and genealogical knowledge and skills, and at reasonable cost. I cannot speak too highly of their services."
Tania, Scotland, UK
A book author who used Blitz services starting in 1995 wrote:
"I wholeheartedly recommend the research services provided by BLITZ. Their staff is efficient, knowledgeable and always courteous. Thanks to BLITZ, I was able to make dramatic progress in my research. You won't be disappointed!"
co-author of The Road From Letichev
Clients from Western Australia write:
"At all times we have found your work to be attentive, helpful and rigorous in research techniques. The Stepanov book just published and sent to 15 members of the family acknowledges the help of BLITZ, especially Elena Tsvetkova, in the introduction and in the final section gives future directions for other generations to follow. Hopefully a younger generation will be in contact with BLITZ in the future and find our old friends and
research colleagues, without whom the genealogy so far of the family would be so much the poorer."
Dr. Klazina Easton-Stepanov
Two Rocks, Western Australia