Archive for the ‘My Trip to Poland with Zen’ Category

My Trip to Poland with Zen: Day 3 – August 28, 2015.

Friday, September 9th, 2016


Today was much more low-key than the excitement that was an explosion of new knowledge regarding the Michnal side of my family from yesterday.  While we compile the info (read: while Zen compiles the information) that we learned yesterday, we decided to do a little sight-seeing.

Podkarpackie, the region in which Zarzecze exists, is probably the most rural area of Poland.  It is known for only a few things other than its natural beauty.  First, the area was the center of the Polish petroleum industry as it is (or was) rich in oil and natural gas.  Second, it is the area where Eastern Culture and the Eastern Orthodoxy meet Western Culture and Catholicism.  Third, its border with Slovakia along the length of the Carpathian Mountains has its lowest pass in this entire mountain range meaning it has a long history as a trade route between Hungary and Poland (the good part) and a long history of raiders and major battles over this strategic position (the bad part).



Me and a Russian T-34 tank


My Trip to Poland with Zen: Day 2 – August 27, 2015.

Thursday, September 8th, 2016


My sleep timing is out of sorts and I woke up at 4am.  I watched the sun rise from my hotel room while I did battle with a bee.  There is no AC in the hotel and it is dreadfully hot in Poland now.  It was near 90 degrees today and there is no relief in sight.  Eventually I met Zen for breakfast. The meal consisted of cold cuts, coffee, fruit, scrambled eggs and a lemon coffee cake.  This is more than I usually eat before 8pm at home.

We set off before nine to meet out local genealogist, Marek, at the parish administration office in Debowiec. The parishioners of Zarzecze, where Wojciech Michnal is from, belonged to this parish and any records regarding births, deaths, marriages, etc. would have been recorded here.

The good news is that the Catholic Church in Poland was very good at recording such things.  The bad news is that the Germans, Russians, Swedes, Cassocks, Tartars, Turks, Ukrainians, Romanians, etc. have had an annoying habit of invading Poland and destroying everything in their paths.  Thankfully, the parish priests in Debowiec are friendly toward those in my situation and are more than willing to share what has survived with us.

>On the way to the offices, we pass through the village of Zarzecze which is little more than an extension of Debowiec across the Wisloka River.  We stopped for the obligatory picture with the Zarzecze sign:


Me as I enter the birthplace of my great grandfather Wojciech Michnal for the first time.


My Trip to Poland with Zen: Day 1 – Flight into Krakow, settle into my hotel

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016


I booked the trip through, a company that specializes in heritage-type trips for people who are exploring their Polish heritage and are researching their family trees.  The company was started by Zenon Znamirowski, a Polish guy about 40 years old and he has been doing this for many years now.  Although he has several other guides going at the same time with various groups, he personally took care of my trip acting as my driver, interpreter, and genealogy guide…as well as a great tour guide and travel companion in Poland generally.  I had shared a lot of info with him that I already had discovered prior to making my final arrangements and we discussed my goals and interests extensively before for the trip. Armed with this knowledge he had visits set up at various parishes, museums, etc. before I even left.

fot1Ruins of Some Castle in Poland


My Trip to Poland with Zen: Introduction

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016



Dave – the author of the blog

NB: This was originally written in a series of emails to my family. On Zen’s suggestion, I have compiled them here into a whole and added photographs.

Well…what a trip!  I learned a lot about our family, particularly the Michnal, Paruch, and Rosiek lines and a little Lesniak mixed in.  I stood on the very spots that Jan Paruch, Agnes Rosiek, and Wojciech Michnal lived (though none of their original homes are still standing) and met (and therefore had to share drinks and food with) two nieces of Wojciech Michnal and the nephew of Jan Paruch… This was possible because they were the youngest children of Wojciech Michnal and Jan Paruch’s youngest siblings.  Thus they were my (and many of your) first cousins, twice removed for me.