Susanne’s Genealogy Tour with PolishOrigins took place in June 2014.
All the events described here happened in one day!
We had a successful trip to Poland. We actually met family and entered the homes of our paternal grandfather the Dudzik’s and or maternal side the Krzak’s. The Dudzik home, according to my research, can be dated back until the 1600s.
It’s a very exciting story filled with emotion but I will try to keep it brief. My sister Kim, Steve (Kim’s husband) and myself drove to Mecina with our interpreter Paweł. He told us that we will go to the home of Ludwika Dudzik, a retired teacher and the town historian. When we arrived in Mecina, Paweł called her from the church parking lot and told her about our mission and asked it we could come over. I had no idea it was a cold call! She said yes. We took a short drive to her home to find her very excited and nervous. I was also nervous and started to think this was a bad idea as it was awkward. She sits us down in the dinning room and quickly prepares tea and gathers cookies. Her husband, Stanisław, is cautious and doesn’t really talk. We determine we are not related, however she has all the home numbers in Mecina and a list of who owns the homes. She tells us number 32 was owned by Zdzisław Dudzik and house 222 owned by a family with our grandma’s last name, Krzak.
We start with the Dudzik side: There was a lot of discussion between Ludwika and Stanisław, Paweł interrupts that Zdzisław Dudzik died 16 years ago. He was a fireman. He has a son however they are estranged and he lives in another village. Zdzisław suffered from Gangrene and the current fire chief’s family cared for him until his death. Since Zdzisław had no one to leave the home to he gave it to the fire chief’s family. As Paweł translates this story to us, Stanisław makes a phone call and soon after there is a knock on the door, in comes the Mecina fire chief, Eugeniusz! Eugeniusz and Stanisław took us to Zdzisław’s grave and there are a few people listed on the same grave stone, I check my research and now I am sure this is a relation.
Dudzik Gravestone. Piotr is our grandfather’s brother.
Piotr worked at Pullman Car Company in Chicago, IL but obviously went back to Poland. Małgorzata is Piotr ‘s wife and Zdzisław their son.
Eugeniusz and Stanisław (who is now so excited he is with us at every turn) takes us to house 32 located in the Eugeniusz’s backyard. We approach an old home in very poor condition. No one has lived there for 16 years.
No one has lived there for 16 years.
We walk through the house and all along I am thinking this IS the Dudzik house. Then the Eugeniusz opens a bed side table and reveals three photos. They are really dirty and I can’t see the images right away but as soon as he clears the glass I see our grandparent’s wedding photo and family photo. Photos I have in my home in Michigan.
Photos found in house 32
Incredible! These photos have been in this house for 80-100 years! My emotions were running high! It was like something out of movie. To think I was in the home of the Dudzik family that dates back until the 1600s, and maybe even further back! WOW!
Eugeniusz, Paweł, Susanne, Edward, Kim, Stanisław in front of the house 32, Mecina.
House 32 is now in the hands of the fire chief’s family who plan on giving the land to their son (who right now is a teenager).
Later that evening we were invited back to their home where there was a big celebration. Polish food, vodka and more vodka. Soon they were singing songs and celebrating. It was so much fun. We were so honored to be there. They told us how wonderful it is that we traveled so far to learn about our Polish family. Between the discovery of house 32 and the dinner celebration we went to our grandmother’s house.