My great grandfather had four sisters, maiden name Belostotsky (Belostotskaya), who had lived in Berlin some time between 1900 and 1920, and subsequently emigrated. Three went to the US, one went to Australia. Unfortunately, they were all married at the time of immigration, and I do not know their married names. I was thinking I could try to find the sister who went to Australia by her maiden name, but have had no success on a brief search using FindMyPast, searching ships' manifests, NSW deaths, ACT deaths, QLD deaths, and WA deaths. While I have no confidence whatsoever that I would have found any records given the nature of the search interfaces and the indexing functions, I am also wondering about a better way to select where to search and how to do it. Suggestions welcome!


Here's a picture to gauge their ages. Judging from the dress style, this may have been taken around the turn of the century. The back gives their names (in Russian); their youngest brother (my ggfather) was born in 1883.

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  • Is the variable placement of the initial "o" deliberate? Belsototsky (Belostotskaya) If not, which is correct?
    – Fortiter
    Oct 20, 2012 at 1:22
  • Thanks for catching the typo. I provided two variants, the first one msxuline and the second feminine, since I'm not sure how the name mitt appear in English records. A germanified spelling might have a Z instead of the ts. Oct 20, 2012 at 4:06
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    @GeneGolovchinsky - What were the four sister's names please? Which one came to Australia. Oct 20, 2012 at 12:03
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    The names were Anna, Esther, Diana, and Maria. I don't know which one went to Australia. Oct 20, 2012 at 16:15
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    I guess the next best option would be South Australia, as that was the second highest German Immigrant State. However, I am unsure if maiden names were recorded for SA deaths. Oct 21, 2012 at 8:47

3 Answers 3


I suggest looking at the Australian National Archives as you are probably looking for a clue in an immigration file. A lot of migrants came by way of one scheme or another so include the word scheme along with your search words. If the person had an unusual given name just search for that name and scheme.

The log-in as a guest URL is http://naa12.naa.gov.au/


"[Three Belostotsky (Belostotskaya) sisters] lived in Berlin some time between 1900 and 1920, and subsequently emigrated ... they were all married at the time of immigration ... I do not know their married names."

My suggestion is that you first figure out the logic that would support your search, THEN set off on the quest:

  • Death records often report a woman's maiden name, though in my experience, the maiden name isn't always captured by an index. With some creative search terms, though, you may have luck.
  • Obituaries sometimes will report the names of surviving (or even late-) siblings names. Again, creative search terms/keywords may help once you find the appropriate collections.
  • Modern children's vital records often report about a mother's maiden name. Depending on when the sisters emigrated (if the women were still in their child bearing years, this might include the children's birth records as well as their marriage and death records.

Ideas such as those above may get you started on the logic and reason. It's helpful though if you put a little thought also into the kinds of record collections the different content providers carry.

P.S. Is there a reason you haven't located the marriage records? Working from the known to the unknown is usually a little easier if you exhaust the resources of one locale at a time. (Inchworm principle).

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    I haven't found the marriage records because 1) I haven't gone to Berlin and 2) haven't figured out which microfilm to order because of such a large date range. I was thinking that the Belostotsky name might be easier to unearth in Australia, but I am unclear on which collections I should be searching since I don't have a good sense of what's indexed where. My searches on Ancestry.com failed to turn up any Australian records, so I am not inclined to pay for the world-wide subscription. I suppose I will try to figure out the Berlin angle first. Oct 20, 2012 at 0:34
  • I have been reading ProGenealogists, "Berlin Civil Registration Jurisdictions" (Sonja Höke-Nishimoto, 1992). progenealogists.com/germany/berlin/bercrint.htm
    – GeneJ
    Oct 20, 2012 at 4:12
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    Wow! What a mess of jurisdictions! Makes it that much less likely to find anyone if I don't know their addresses. I guess I will try the phone book route. With the number of microfilms involved, though, it's not clear whether it's more cost-effective to order them or to go to Utah. Oct 20, 2012 at 16:34

While this may mean nothing, those born in Germany were required to register under the War Precautions (Aliens Registration) Regulations 1916 and the Aliens Registration Act 1920 (Forms A, A2 and E). Only one Anna registered, MELKE Wilhelmine Anna: Nationality - Germany: Date of Birth - 24 December 1865. The record has not been digitised but is available for viewing from NAA Melbourne Reading Rooms.

  • The Belostotsky sisters were born in Bialystock, Poland Oct 22, 2012 at 7:30

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