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The joy of blogging

A lead to Arno’s death

People sometimes ask The Legal Genealogist what the benefit is to having a blog about genealogy.

Why — even in these difficult times when all too often the get-up-and-go has gotten-up-and-left — I try hard to get at least a family post done every single week.

Today by itself is enough of an answer.

It was more than eight years ago that the post appeared here at The Legal Genealogist.

Entitled “Death on the Eastern Front,” it focused on my paternal grandfather’s only brother, Arno Werner Geissler, born 27 July 1885 and baptized not quite three weeks later, on Sunday, 16 August, at the Lutheran Church in Bad Köstritz, Thüringen, Germany.1

It’s a sad story of a man already pushing 30 years of age when World War I broke out, who was in the reserves… and of course called up with “die alten herren” — the old men of the seventh company, second battalion, of Reserve Infantry Regiment No. 83, part of the 50th Reserve Infantry Brigade and 25th Reserve Division of the German Empire.

The story of his name on a list, published 20 July 1915:

Casualty list


Killed in action.2

There is a death record that was entered in 1915 in his home city of Gera. And that record has always been a tease. It’s been part of another story. The story of a frustrating word on that record. Because, it says, Arno died “bei Zarndec” — near Zarndec.

And there is, of course, no such place.

Now most World War I German military records no longer exist because of a British air raid that caused a fire in the military archives in Potsdam and another air raid on Berlin in 1945.3

His unit, we know, was in action on the Eastern Front near what was then Lemberg and is now Lviv, Ukraine. The unit was there is the Battle of Lemberg 17-22 June 1915 and then on the Galician-Polish border from 22 June – 12 July 1915.4

I’ve tried, with the help of some great experts on today’s Ukraine and on World War I, to find out where Zarndec might have been in 1915, but without any luck. Part of the problem is that there have been so many name and border changes since then.

So where did Arno die?

I woke this morning to a clue.

A comment posted on that blog post from eight years ago.

“Hi there,” it begins. “The correct name of this place is not ‘Zarndec’, but ‘Zarudec’. Now it is Ukraine Zarudtsi – a village in Zhovkva district of Lviv region.”5

There were two links with the comment — one to a Ukrainian Wikipedia article on Zarudtsi (in Ukrainian — thank you, Google Translate!) and the other to a Facebook group (also in Ukrainian) about an area of Ukraine in World War I.

Is he right?

Dunno. It’s only been a couple of hours … and I don’t know his source yet.

But it’s more than I had yesterday.

A clue from a blog post written more than eight years ago.

This is the joy of blogging.

Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “The joy of blogging,” The Legal Genealogist ( : posted 15 Aug 2020).


  1. For the post, see Judy G. Russell, “Death on the Eastern Front, The Legal Genealogist, posted 28 July 2012 ( : accessed 15 Aug 2020). For Arno’s birth and baptism, see Evangelische Kirche, Kirchenbuch Bad Köstritz, Taufregister Seite 41 Nr. 45 aus 1885, Baptismal Record of Arno Werner Geissler; digital image of entry in the possession of Judy G. Russell.
  2. Verlust-Liste Nr. 0596 (20 Jul 1915), World War I Casualty Lists, 1914-1917, digital image, ( : accessed 27 Jul 2012); citing Deutsche Verlustlisten 1914 bis 1917, Berlin, Deutschland : Deutsche Dienststelle (WASt).
  3. See (, “Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv,” rev. 19 Dec 2019. See also
    GenWiki (, “Finding German Military records,” rev. 18 Sep 2006.
  4. (, “25. Reserve-Division (Deutsches Kaiserreich),” rev. 12 Mar 2019.
  5. Andrii, comment to “Death on the Eastern Front,” posted 15 Aug 2020.
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