Researchers of Galician ancestors interested in accessing original documents are forced to face bureaucracy and very often are confused by unpredictable behaviour of Polish and Ukrainian officials. The main aim of the presentation is to shed a light on formal requirements and procedures in approaching the archives and Civil Registration Offices in Galicia. I'll discuss in popular manner Polish and Ukrainian law regulating work in reading rooms, privacy law and law on civil registration. The second part of my presentation, based on my own experiences from Galician archives, will be dedicated to practical aspects of research: how the law is interpreted, how to approach the officials effectively, what local differences and peculiarities might be expected during the on-site genealogical research. My presentation will leave the participants armed with legal arguments and practical skills, useful for their further research, regardless they wish carry it out for themselves or for their friends.