Mike prepared special message for our newsletter and blog readers:
“Welcome PolishOrigins Newsletter Viewers! Thank you for your interest in my trip. If you need genealogy assistance in the United States or are considering a trip to Poland and need some advice, please contact me. I would be happy to assist you! For first time travelers, view my page titled “Traveling to Poland“. This was created based on my own travel experiences. It gives you and idea of what to expect and bring for a better overall experience.”
In August 2015 my wife Denise and I took a trip to Poland. I had been to Poland in 2013 and met some family members and seen some of Poland. The trip had a profound impact on me and I really wanted to go back. We had originally planned to go in 2014, but were unable to do so. When the opportunity presented itself to go in 2015, we jumped at it.
I would love to start telling you the story of our trip, but I think it would be best to inform you of the issues we had prior to going there.
I had been working on our family genealogy for years. My grandma got me started on the Rudzinski family tree when she lived with me. It gave us something to work on together and let her tell me stories, we used her memory and prayer cards to get us started. I remember going back to Indiana where she grew up and six of my great uncles still lived and asking my uncles how many siblings their father (Pa) had. I got differing information because he just didn’t talk about the family he left behind; it must have been too painful. However, when I got to one uncle I hit the jackpot as he had Pa’s naturalization papers and his baptismal record. The naturalization papers gave me his mother’s maiden name, and the name of his siblings left behind, Lucyna, Czeslaw, and Stefania. After much research I was still at a dead end. My sister-in-law Becky kept encouraging me to go to Poland. So after much research Kathy, Becky and I set off on our family journey to Poland in October. I hired PolishOrigins for a two-day tour after working with the website and being an active questioner on their interactive forum section. I can’t say enough about this site it is very valuable for anyone looking for family in Poland. Everyone is so helpful; this was absolutely the highlight of our trip and exceeded our expectations exponentially. Success to me would have been to go to Dlugokaty where my great-grandfather grew up and to attend mass at St. Leonardo’s in Grzebsk parish.
There is a little town named Bobowa in Poland. It is situated in Old Galicia, south-east of Krakow. There is not much more than a few streets, two churches, an old synagogue and a main square. But there is also something that you do not see at a first sight – the old tradition of bobbin lace making. It is not widely known today, but this beautiful handicraft art is still practiced there.
The most tireless bobbin lacemaker in Bobowa She works regardless of the weather, the seasons and time of day or night
(This blog post was originally published on the authors blog “no land foreign” http://www.nolandforeign.com/a-very-rigid-search/ . One of our guides (Zenon) was privileged to meet Alex, his mother and the family “at a local cafe in Warsaw” just before they hit the road to uncover their family roots in central Poland. Alex generously agreed to share with our readers his family story written in a very engaging way.)
I can remember clear as yesterday the day that Risa and I sat with Babci in her room at Rosary Hill Home in some of her final days, and she started speaking of these new, strange towns to us. Skarzyce, Winnica, Pultusk, Nasielsk…. they seemed to come out of thin air and had nothing to do with the town we had always been told she was born and grew up in, Przemyśl. A map was drawn on a worn piece of paper showing the location of the towns….Skarzyce just to the west of Winnica, with their nearest major city of Pultusk in the distance.
Coming home soon thereafter, long before I embarked on my Polish citizenship quest, I googled the towns and was surprised to see them all 40 or so short miles from Warsaw…. How did this relate to my Babci’s life? Did she simply remember some distant family from these places who were her closest relatives during the time she was in Warsaw alone during the war?
Christmas time is approaching fast. Families will gather to spend time together. You will have Christmas Eve supper with your children and grandchildren. Maybe you will prepare some dishes you remember from your Wigilia with Polish parents and grandparents. Maybe you will sing, or at least listen to, some carols – kolędy. And of course you will watch the excitement of your kids and grand kids awaiting and unpacking presents :-).
There are times when you want to express your feelings you want to express but you are aware that words do not always properly convey what you really want to say. WHat if instead of speaking words you could express those feelings in a different way..?
Here at PolishOrigins we came up with an idea of designing t-shirts and hoodies for Polish mothers, fathers and children.
We left Poland this morning enroute to Slovakia. Along the hilly roads we saw women in babushkas, a dog that would not budge from the middle of the road, stork’s nests and a dog corralling cows into a pasture. The earth had become less fertile. It was now yellowish and claylike. Fields were used more for grazing than vegetable production. The surroundings were very rural and houses spread out.
We dropped down into Slovakia through a low mountain pass and first visited the medieval town of Bardejov, a UNESCO Heritage Site. We knew only one Slovak word, ďakujem – “thank you.” At one cafe, where we warmed with coffee and richly flavored hot chocolate, we were given servings of fresh cinnamon torte, “gratis” by our pretty Slovak waitress. Wonderful memories. Read the rest of this entry »
Slav drove an extended van to the airport and we picked up the rest of the family. Zenon even woke early and joined us at the airport on his day off. The family returned to Krakow with Slav and spent hours touring neighborhoods and the Old Town. The under thirteen- year old children enjoyed the sights, even the huge piles of leaves in the park. They practiced using new Polish language expressions. We assigned Polish names to everyone as part of the cultural experience. Their Krakow rating….GREAT!
The previous night, Zenon had scouted out features in the area and told us to plan on seeing the Wroclaw Panorama exhibit the next morning before we left the city. This was not only an exhibit about one of the early, historic Polish battles for independence. It was also a fascinating artistic rendering. The history of the canvas was a story in itself. The massive canvas was painted before 1900, one hundred years after the battle depicted. It was secreted away in a monastery during the twentieth century’s politically incorrect time periods and wartime years. A rotunda was eventually constructed to permanently house the multi-storey exhibit. The panorama now contains 3-Dimensional elements laid against the canvas that bring the scenes to life. Later, Conrad walked the grounds behind the hotel and photographed parts of the ancient city walls, and of the river and ancient churches towering over the historic city beyond the River Odra.