We have not written to you for a long time due to an intense season. It was a laborious but so emotional, rewarding, full of joy and good surprises time for us, for our guests and for the families we reconnected.

Below are a few numbers summarizing the PolishOrigins Tours season in 2015:

• 6 of our genealogy guides were engaged in the Genealogy Tours from April till October.

• 15 tourist guides and tour leaders were engaged in the tailor-made and the ready-made tours.

• We visited 4 countries: Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine and Slovakia.

• 24 families were reconnected in these countries

• It is hard to estimate how many individuals the family reconnections affected. In one of the families in Zakopane (Mountains) region there was a lady who had?. 100 grandchildren and great-grandchildren!

• Our genealogy and tourist guides spent 249 days on the road


This week we will start publishing blogs written by some of our honored guests, describing their adventures:
link .


Our calendar for 2016 is filling up and as of today, when this emailing is being sent out, we already have 7 different groups booked.


During the Genealogy Tours, when we talk with descendants of emigrants, we often hear the question
 ?Why didn?t they talk about it??

This subject was also raised a few weeks ago in our Forum link  by Ute  

? It was in fall of 1989 when I asked my father where his father came from originally. At that time I knew nothing about the life of Polish immigrants to the United States and thought it was an easy to answer question for him. Thinking back, I sometimes wonder how things would have developed if he had shown me some old family pictures, given me some names, and told me a little bit about his father's side of the family. Would that have satisfied me? Would I ever have started family research on the paternal side of my family as obsessionally as I did for many many years, had his answer to my question not have been a simple "I don't know"? (...)?

? Today, after reading quite a few family stories and comments written by fellow researchers, I know that it wasn't unusual for the children of first generation immigrants not to know where their parents came from and for the parents not to discuss their life in the 'old country' with their children? , ? What were the reasons for that? Were the parents embarrassed to talk about the poverty they came from?? , ?Or was it too painful for them to talk about it? ?

Answers to these questions are not easy. I am sure that now many of you think - this concerns me?

What are your thoughts about family memories you have heard or were not meant to hear?

Ute tries to understand what the reason was...

?I imagine, while their hearts were filled with hope for a better life in America in approaching emigration, it wasn't easy for some of our ancestors to leave their family and home village behind, parents and grandparents that had raised them, the familiar village they had called home as long as they could think back in their lives, knowing they would most likely never see their kin and home village again. I can imagine the decision of whether to stay and adapt to the given conditions or to leave, facing the unknown, wasn't simple. Most of our ancestors had no choice. They were used to working hard to survive, and life continued to be hard for most of them. Due to often low education levels, illiteracy, and unfamiliarity of the English language, the jobs available to them in America were usually the low-paid, dirty, hard-labor, and often dangerous ones, e.g. in coal mining, construction, steel factories, slaughter houses, and so on. Later, during the Great Depression, many of them lost their jobs and were forced to use up all their savings, if they had any, to be able to survive and to meet the basic needs of their families?

I have been on the PolishOrigins Team since April of this year, helping organizing tours for you. This topic opened my eyes and helped me to understand who exactly our guests are. Now I know even better how important my job is!

Ute summarized her reflections.

? Immigrant generation (...) were simply too busy coping with the present and striving for a better life, getting ahead economically and socially. Burdened with all these worries, it was useless to dwell on the past. Or, maybe not useless, but not advisable. It was better to look ahead, to work hard, and try to forget?

If you are interested in how the discussion initiated by Ute developed, visit the ?Why didn?t they talk about it? Some old and new thoughts...? thread in our Forum: link.

I invite you to visit our PolishOrigins Blog to see a recent story written by Stasu, about his childhood memories, quest of his Polish ancestry and valuable personal thoughts he shares with us: link.

 

Best wishes from Poland,

Anna and PolishOrigins Team