This is a fragment of a story published by Abraham Mahshie who we had the privilege to assist on his Genealogy Tour last year. This year, Abraham returns to Poland and Lithuania with his Polish-American mother to introduce her to the family he rediscovered after 67 years.
The village was so small; I could almost count the wooden houses on one hand. An old man with bushy grey eyebrows stepped out of one of them and greeted us: “Yes,” he said, in Polish, “I remember a man named Boleslaw Jadczuk.” The old man walked barefooted into the quiet road and pointed us toward another house. In front of it was a small vegetable garden with a single sunflower. Zenon turned to me, “It is never this easy.”
We knocked and an old woman answered the door. “Is this where Boleslaw Jadczuk lived?” Zenon asked.
“Yes,” answered the woman.
Did he have a brother named Ludwik who immigrated to America?
On a Sunday in August I drove to a farming village in Eastern Poland where I believed my ancestors lived more than 100 years ago. I was led there by the elegantly inked words in a 67-year-old Polish letter that belonged to my great-grandfather, Ludwik Jadczuk, who had immigrated to America in 1913.
The only clues to my family’s whereabouts were in the letter written by Ludwik’s brother. It began, “Village of Kamianka, 3 August 1947.
(…)My Polish-American mother was perhaps the happiest of all. She called her cousins in Syracuse, New York, where Ludwik had first settled and where she had grown up, to relay the joy. This summer, I will take my Mom to Poland to meet the family. We’re both taking Rosetta Stone Polish classes to prepare. And Mom did something else to bridge the gap: She rallied a representative from each family to send a box to Poland with photos and mementos from America — five in all — to replace the parcels lost three generations ago.”
Read the rest of the story by Abraham published on ozy.com: http://www.ozy.com/t%E2%80%A6/looking-for-great-grandpa-ludwik/37435 .