3 Men and a Mom: Finding our Polish Family. Day 1.

April 25

We enjoyed a delicious European/continental breakfast at the hotel – meats, cheeses, eggs, etc. Met our guide Zenon in the lobby right on time at 10am – it was so nice to finally see each other face to face. Our luggage barely fit into his SUV – good thing we had packed “light’. We drove just under 2 hours to Posadowa, where Mom’s grandmother Anna was from. Very small village – it was just a few houses along the narrow road, with lots of open space. We drove to the neighboring town of Mogilno which is where the parish church is located. The old church is mostly unused now and was locked: Zenon found the priest and explained why we were there and asked if he could show us around.

mogilno

Main entry to old parish church in Mogilno

I can already see why it’s so important to have him as our guide and translator! The priest patiently explained the history of the old church and then took us into the new building where the old baptismal font has been relocated. It dates from 1510 – imagine how many generations of our family had been baptized in this very font!

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Baptismal font dating from 1510 in Mogilno parish

Next we headed to the town records office to see about finding living relatives. Here Zenon again showed his expertise. The woman in charge of records looked skeptical at first, but as Zen showed her the relationships we knew and old records we had, she slowly warmed up and was eventually very eager to help. After many dead ends they were able to locate birth records for 4 cousins from more recent generations. At least 1 is still living and Zen got his house address – ‘house 35 in Posadowa’.  We plan to knock on his door tomorrow since it’s already late in the day.

We had a late lunch (3pm) at what looked like the only restaurant in town. I had pierogis while the others had pizza. We were all a bit tired so we decided to head to our hotel and check in. We are staying at the Bartnik bee keeping museum in Stróże. Talk about middle of nowhere – it was very remote and quiet. Very nice accommodations, the rooms appear to have been built recently.

bartnik

Our rooms at the Bartnik Beekeeping Museum

I managed to access their internet for a few minutes and started a video chat with my wife back home, but it failed in the middle of our talk. The other 3 took naps while I edited some of today’s photos. Then it was off to dinner, not much to do here except eat. It was raining as Zen drove – had to travel a bit to find a place to eat (in neighboring Grzybów).  It was a pub type place where I had żurek soup and bigos. I’ve been very impressed with the food already – delicious and very inexpensive compared to America.  Back to the hotel – had another 5 minutes of internet connectivity before it failed again, but Zenon was nice enough to share his phones’s internet for us so we could talk to family back home.

Brian

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