Archive for the ‘Genealogy Tours and Gen Stories’ Category

Anton Slawik—Polish Pioneer in Michigan’s Huron County

Friday, March 9th, 2018

By: Charles Ciechanowski-Chinoski-Chase & Evelyn Osentoski-Clor

Anton Slawik (1824-1899) was the 3rd child born to Johann Slawik and Francisca Wiatrek. He was born in Boronow, which is an old historic town dating back to the 13th century. Boronow is located in south-central Poland about 20 miles southwest of Częstochowa (home of The Black Madonna) and about 70 miles northwest of Krakow. Boronow is a village (today’s population about 2,500) in Lubliniec County in Śląsk Voivodship on the Liswarta River in Silesia, Poland.

It is believed that Anton’s father, Johann, was the brother of Valek Slawik who was the son of Bartholemew (Bartek) Slawik and Marianna Warczokin. Valek (Valentin) married Francisca Borón and together they had several children, one of whom was Josephine (Josefa) Slawik who was born in Dembowa Gora, Lubliniec, Poland in 1819. Josephine, a 1st cousin of Anton, later married Francis Polk who was also an important pioneer in the founding of the town of Parisville in Paris Township, Huron County, in the “Thumb” of Michigan.



Francis Polk: A Founding Father of Parisville, MI

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

By: Charles Ciechanowski-Chinoski-Chase and Evelyn Osentoski-Clor

The following tells some of the history of the great-great grandfather of Evelyn Clor and Charles Chase.


At the tip of the “Thumb” of the Michigan’s Lower Peninsula can be found Huron County. Within this county is Paris Township which contains the historic town of Parisville. Parisville is, arguably, the first Polish community within the United States. One of the founders of Parisville was a Polish farmer by the name of Francis (Franz) Polk who left the tyranny of Poland to provide a better life for his family.



One of Michigan’s Polish Pioneers—Ambrose Ciechanowski

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

By his gr-grandson: Charles Ciechanowski-Chinoski-Chase


Ambrose was born December 8, 1833 in Sliwice (Gross Schliewitz in German)–Tuchola, Bydgoszcz, Poland to Thomas (Tomasz) Ciechanowski and Francisca, nee, Dobecka. Ambrose had four siblings: Thomas (b. December 20, 1830), Josephine (b. March 16, 1832), Johannes ( b. May 5, 1835) and Theodora (b. May 14, 1837). Within a few years after the birth of Theodora, their father, Thomas, died. With a family of active young children, Francisca needed someone to help her raise these children and serve as a father figure.


Old postcard from Sliwice.




Tad Strójwąs – Rożnowski In Memoriam

Friday, February 16th, 2018


Below there is the beginning of autobiography of Tad Strójwąs – Rożnowski ‘I am Australian. Of Polish Descent.’ who passed away a few weeks ago.

“I was living in Starachowice Poland when World War 2 broke out. German stukas (aircraft) were roaming over the sky and dropping bombs here and there, creating panic amongst the civilian population. Hours later, we were informed over the radio that Poland was at war with Germany and general mobilization was at hand. As Starachowice had an armorments production factory the civilians were panicking that it would be heavily bombed so they began collecting their belongings and moving to outlying villages. Of course as a thirteen year old boy I joined them and took the road to Pakoslaw where my mother lived and guess what happened next …..I ended up in the biggest battle! The Germans completely destroyed the village and yet only one bomb fell in Starachowice.

I think I should have stayed put.

Once the Nazis moved in with their regiments, requisitions started where local residents were moved out of their houses and occupied by German officers. At the age of thirteen I had finished public school and was enrolled in high school, but found myself on the street since the Nazis had closed all high schools and did not allow the higher education of Poles.

Jewish cleansing commenced and I sawJews being forceably loaded into cattle trains. Anyone who resisted was beaten. Since the autumn weather was not favourable many people where being knocked down into the mud and not given any help and generally mistreated.

Once the Nazis finished this task, they began rounding up girls and boys and loading them onto passenger trains to take to Germany as forced labourers. I was one of them and that was the last time I saw my family. (…)”

(Full text of Tad’s autobiography available at in a pdf format.)

Tad and Linda contacted me for the first time in 2005. They asked me if I could help them to find Tad’s family. They made several attempts in the past but without much success. Tad was on the stage of his life that he wanted finally to learn about the fate of his parents and sibling and, hopefully, find out how they had lived in the last 60 years when was the last time he was in touch with his father…



Poland Ancestry Tour in September 2017. Part 3.

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

This is part 3 of a blog based on the photo presentation by Bonnie Lewis travelling with us in 2017.



Former historic check post for Russia, on the way to Bydgoszcz.




Poland Ancestry Tour in September 2017. Part 2.

Friday, January 19th, 2018

This is part 2 of a blog based on the photo presentation by Bonnie Lewis travelling with us in 2017.

Konin archives genealogy research




Poland Ancestry Tour in September 2017. Part 1.

Friday, January 12th, 2018


This is a blog based on the photo presentation by Bonnie Lewis travelling with us in 2017.





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