Young and beautiful, they called her Tsarian Valentina. Where is her Russian family?

+7 votes

They called her Tsarina Valentina (She is Valentina Getsch) and we are looking for her Russian ancestry

This is my beautiful grandmother Valentina (Getsch) Konola who came here to the U.S. from Russia in 1933. This was taken in Russa. In this photo she is pregnant with her son who was born in Moscow, June 1932. His name is Walter (Konola) Buranen and he is my father. He was just 14 months old when she traveled to the U.S. They were coming to be reunited with Walter (Konola) Buranen Senior, her husband and his father. However after a bitter divorce in 1937, Walter Senior took the young boy and moved to another state and changed their names from Konola to Buranen. We suspect he changed the name so that Valentina could never find them. My father, now 86, searched his entire life for his mother. Fortunately last year, we found her American family. After the divorce, she remarried and had 2 other children. Valentina passed away in 2009 at the age of 96. Her children and grandchildren tell us she never stopped searching for our father, Walter. From what they tell us she enjoyed celebrating Holidays, especially Christmas. What's ironic about that is my father Walter remembers as a young teen around age 13, stopping to marvel at houses as they were decorated with lights at Christmas. And he would look through the windows to watch families celebrate. See, after his father Walter Senior took him from Valentina, he abandoned our Father. My father grew up alone most of his life and never knew what it was like to celebrate Christmas with family until he met my mother and had one of us own. We learned that Valentina enjoyed painting. And in another odd twist of fate, one of my Father's favorite past times is painting. They also tell us Valentina was funny and talented and liked to dress well and that she carried herself like a princess. They had a nickname for her, Tsarina Valentina. My father wishes he could have known his mother like her US family did. Before he passes away, we are doing our best to find out more about her Russian family so that he knows as much about her as possible. But finding information on her Russian roots has proven difficult. We don't even know if we are spelling her Russian last name properly. Getsch is how my Father remembers it being pronounced. To anyone who can help us in this endeavor, our hearts would be filled with gratitude and appreciation.

in Genealogy Help by Sandra Buranen G2G2 (2.6k points)
What a lovely picture, my goodness she was beautiful. What a moving story, I wish you all the luck in the world. I hope someone on here can give you some clues.
Thank you. The greatest gift we could give our Father is letting him know as much about his mother as possible. As much as finding his American family has been a true delight, it's bittersweet for him. It makes him wish all the more he could have shared more of his life with her and her life with him. And as his children, it would have been great to know her as our grandmother. But all we can do now is move forward and do our best to share her life with him with whatever information we can find. Again, I thank anyone who is able to help.

Your story has really moved me, I wish I could help you and your dad. I’ve looked on Ancestry but even though I have worldwide access; Russia doesn’t appear to be a country where they have access to sources. Have you tried the link below yet? There may be some tips for research here, but I would also contact the Slavic roots project leaders directly.

Hi Lizzie, Russian genealogy sources are mostly kept in the Russian State Archives; not much has been released online and even less translated into English. For best results, one should probably hire a genealogist in Russia to locate relatives.
Thank you. We’ll check into that and see what’s possible.
Thank you for the link and taking the time to do research. For us to learn that Valentina searched for him her entire life was wonderful news. Her granddaughter told us that every night Valentina would say a prayer that she would be reunited with her son. In the last few years of her life, she suffered from dementia and would often cry out for Walter to come back home in her maiden tongue, Russian. Her US family gave him some of her paintings and a few other of her cherished items. I guess it’s a close to her as he can get right now. I can’t imagine the whole in his heart he has felt all of these years and her’s too. Thank you so very much for your help.
Who did she marry,his full name,where did they live.After her Divorce.

1 Answer

+1 vote
Thank you for your help.

Her second husband was Sulo Orni, whom she married November 1937.

Her third husband was Michael Tchaplygin. Not sure when she married him, but she remained happily married for over 45 years until her death in 2009.

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