Archive for the ‘Sitting Down In My GGGrandfather’s House’ Category
We went up the mountains to Zakopane. We were to take the tram to the top but it was wet and foggy so we settled for beer and a meat medley dish which included lamb sausage, which must be the food of the gods. I was hesitant, but found it to be one of the most delicious foods on my trip. Zenon and I alsodid Polish Vodka shots and to quote that Dutch salesman from North Dakota, ‘It was smood!’ I was sorry I could not sneak this vodka back to VT.
I spent one day in Warsaw by myself, visiting the old town. I got lost three times but everyone is eager to help you. (Beware, don’t drive in Poland.)
I visited to the Warsaw Uprising Museum with Zenon and his son, David. We even walked the sewers which the uprisers used to pass information to one another. While we were standing there, Zenon said, ‘That man over there was here; he is an upriser.’ (So, having a driver/translator is a good idea! Without Zenon I never would have had this opportunity to meet and praise the courage of this old man.) Zenon had overheard a conversation between the man and probably his great grandchild, who was steadying him as he was explaining his experiences. I asked to be introduced and he accepted. I told him how honored I was to meet a real hero. He agreed to have his picture taken, BUT I forgot to ask him his name.
We drove to Krakow and had a wonderful time just roaming the streets. There was a political rally commemorating the Russian invasion of Poland Sept 17, 1939. Zenon reminded me that Stalin had a deal with Hitler and when the war started to go bad for the Germans, Stalin changed sides. The city is beautifying itself and it is gorgeous. The streets are full of festive banners. Next to Paris, it is the most visited city in Europe because of its festive atmosphere. There is a McDonald’s somewhere on this street! (Driving can be dangerous in Poland, so don’t drive!)
We were off to Opole to check the archives on the Philipsek side of the family. We were going through the Mechnica church records when Zenon noticed that town sponsors for the Philipsek baptisms came from Twardawa. (By the way, ‘Philipsek’ is usually spelled ‘Phillipczyk’ and is pronounced ‘Feel LEAP chick’). I had been unable in my research in the USA to verify the marriage of August Phillipczyk and Clara Bannert and the birth of their first two children, John and Anastasia, in Mechnica.
Zenon got the microfilm for Twardawa and found August and Clara’s wedding date and the birth of some children, all of which may not be known at this time. Also listed were the names of August and Clara’s parents. (This is what happens when you have a driver/translator who is also genealogist!) I have ordered the microfilm and hope I can finish this story. In the Litchy family history, it has been passed down that August and Clara had as many as seven children—all who died, before they brought the family, as we know it, to Minnesota. The Litchy story may have some basis in fact!
Then the best thing happened! I found out that the home of Valentine Welna had chosen to be an 18th century representative home in an open air museum in 1957.
So the next day, we all went to the museum. When the guide at the museum found out that we were direct descendants, she took down the barriers and gave us free access to the whole house.
To put things in perspective and help your understanding, the ancestry order is: Louis D. Welna -> son of Louis J. Welna -> son of John C. Welna -> son of John Welna -> son of Valentine Welna, son of Martin Welna born about 1754.
The main reason I went to Poland was to meet the descendants of my grandfather John’s brother, August, who stayed in Poland in the town of Dabrowka Dolna. I had been corresponding with the family for about 15 years. But I also wanted to visit the towns of all my grandparents. Zenon picked me up at the airport and we drove to Kobyle, the ancestral home of my grandmother, Mary Deja.