Archive for the ‘Genealogy Tours and Gen Stories’ Category

My Incredible Trip to my Grandparents Ancestral Villages. Part 4.

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

Day 10 – Friday, May 13th – Gdansk


This morning we headed to the Archives in Pelplin to research more on my mom’s side of the family Melka.

We drove the countryside passing through the villages of Mieliczki, Osiek, and on to Skorcz to visit the church of All Saints.


All Saints Church.



My Incredible Trip to my Grandparents Ancestral Villages. Part 3.

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

Day 5 – Sunday, May 8th – Poznan


We leave Lichen Stary and head to Poznan. There we met local guide, Adam Dykiert at our next lodging place, Hotel Brovaria at 11am. Our guide is very enthusiast and proud of his heritage and city. Our tour lasted over 3 hours and we covered a lot of territory. Poznan is a city on the Warta River. It included a visit to Poznan Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul, which is a 10th century Gothic-Baroque architectural style, the Uprising Museum, a city park, then we road an electric trolley train to Old Town Hall (it’s famous because of the display of the mechanical fighting goats, that fight each other everyday at noon and bring crowds to the square to see it).


Town hall in Poznań and mechanical goats.



My Incredible Trip to my Grandparents Ancestral Villages. Part 2.

Monday, December 11th, 2017

Day 2 – Thursday, May 5th – Izbica Kujawska, formerly Zagrodnica, Russia


This morning, Dale stayed behind at the hotel and did birding along the water near our hotel, the church grounds of St. Dorothy’s and in Lichen Stary. Z and I left the hotel, and headed back to Konin Archives to look for more records. We then drove around Sompolno where my grandfather Frank Wilinski was born. In Lubstow, we visited the area where my great grandfather Wojciech and great grandmother Emilia Ast lived and worked.

In the area we visited the church where they attended, walked through the cemetery took many pictures of graves that might have a connection to my family. It was noon, so we got to hear the church bells ringing at St. Hedwig Church. Inside the church it looked like they were preparing for a First Holy Communion mass that weekend.


St. Hedwig Church in Lubstów



My Incredible Trip to my Grandparents Ancestral Villages. Part 1.

Friday, December 8th, 2017


We arrived in Warsaw, Poland on May 3rd from Atlanta, Georgia, USA for our 13 day journey which is shown on the map below.






A Moment In Our Lifetime

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

(This is another post which was originally published on the Polish Genealogy group on Facebook where it collected more than 300 “likes”, “loves” and “wows” and dozens of comments. Author of it, our honorable guest Victoria, graciously agreed to share it with our blog readers.

If you want to meet helpful Polish Genealogy community we highly recommend both our Forum and the Polish Genealogy Facebook group)

In September my cousin Kathie and I traveled to Poland hoping to find family. Our common great grandmother, Francezka (Frankowska) died following childbirth leaving our grandmothers without a mother at a young age.

Franciszka Frankowska

Francezka Frankowska



Recollections of Julius Bier. Part 3.

Thursday, April 6th, 2017


Why did you want to go to Vienna?

Because I was thinking right away to go to Hamburg, to go to America.

Weren’t you going home?

No, I didn’t want to go home.

Why not?

Because, you know if a young man comes home from the Army, they want to give you right away shothunen [Yiddish – “matchmaker”] and they want you to get married and I didn’t want that.

So you didn’t see anybody at all? You didn’t see your family?




Recollections of Julius Bier. Part 2.

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017


Well, let me just straighten one thing out. Everyone was supposed to go in the Army then? Every boy was supposed to serve a certain amount of time in the army?

Three years.

Three years in the army. How old were you supposed to be when you were going to be taken?

Twenty. But you could enlist at 16, 17 or 18.

If they thought that you were running away, then they would try to catch you before?


I see.

So the gendarmes in Europe had noticed as soon as I came home that they should lock me up.

How did they find out?



Recollections of Julius Bier. Part 1.

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017


This is story published a few years ago on the old version of our website. Together with Mary Bier Wilson we decided that it is important for the interview with her grandfather to be published here for even more people to have chance to read it. A few years ago Mary, her late husband John and one of our guides Zen had chance to visit “Sukoluff” Austria, which is actually Sokołów Małopolski and Trzeboś, and step the same ground he once was stepping every day before leaving for his long journey.

We hope that it can also inspire some of your to interview your parents and grandparents  as long as they are still among us. You can always wait with your research, but you shouldn’t wait with talking with your ancestors about their life…



The interview, which follows, was taped on a reel-to-reel tape by an older first cousin of mine who had lived with our grandfather for a number of years after our grandmother died in 1937.  The interview was conducted in about 1956 when Grandpa was 86 and I did not know this tape existed until about 10 years ago, which was about 10 years after I began doing my family’s research.

Thankfully, my cousin had the foresight to do this interview long before most of us had been encouraged to do so by the genesis in the popularity of genealogy research that I think is due to the advent of the home computer and wonderful software programs that are easy for almost anyone to manage.

My cousin finally was able to make a cassette of the tape and, happily, shared it with me and I then transcribed it and gave it to ALL our cousins.  I knew none of the information it contained other than Grandpa saying he was born in “Sukoluff” Austria.  I knew Grandpa but did not have the opportunity to see him often nor was I interested in that “stuff” at the time.

Let me just say, it answered a great many questions but it also posed many new ones whose answers I am still seeking.

Mary Bier Wilson

Julius as a young man



Trip of a Lifetime! Part 2.

Monday, March 20th, 2017


First thing next morning we are off to Tropie.  Zenon gets out of the car and just walks right up to who we assumed is a neighbor and starts asking him questions about the possible location of my family….try that one in the U.S.!  He gets back in the car and says, “your cousin lives across the street”  WHAT?!?



Trip of a Lifetime! Part 1.

Friday, March 17th, 2017


For many years I have been trying to find my Polish relatives.  I knew they existed in the 1960’s because I remember sending clothing to “cousins”, however, I was young and did not know the value of family.  In the meantime, life got in the way and my search was hit and miss. When I retired and my search became an addiction.  The one bit of information I had was 3 letters to my babcia, from my swietny dziadek in the 1920’s.  He told of very sad stories about their life at the time and one story really touched our hearts; it was about his grandson, Josef. The letter told about how sick the child was and he wasn’t expected to live, mostly because they could not afford the medicine to make him well. We always wondered what had happened to this little boy.

At some point I talked my husband (of Irish descent) into going to Poland and had no idea what our adventure would bring.  Why would anyone go to Poland?