Archive for the ‘Genealogy Tours and Gen Stories’ Category

Dawn and Walter’s trip to Poland and Slovakia. July 12, 2018 – A Necessary Hike.

Friday, November 16th, 2018


When we woke up we were very excited to see that there was no chance of rain for the time that we were planning on being at Spišský hrad, Spiš Castle that morning. We had breakfast in the dining room of Boutique Hotel Pracháreň and we quickly returned to our room, finished getting ready for the day, and maybe snapped a couple of parting scenic photos out of our bedroom window.


Dawn and Walter’s trip to Poland and Slovakia. July 11, 2018 – Time to Say Good-bye.

Thursday, November 15th, 2018


At 8:30 we met downstairs in the dining room for our last breakfast with Lucjan. Today was the last day of the tour  with him and although I was pretty  tired from all the travel, family meetings, and sights I was feeling sad that our time was coming to an end. After breakfast we had made plans to sit and review what we had accomplished and to come up with a plan for what still needed to be done. Lucjan came to our room and he and I sat down in the sitting area to discuss things. We took this time to exchange gifts, I gave Lucjan two of the fabric bowls that I made, and he gave us a magnet and collectible plate from Przemyśl, his hometown. Before too long there was a knock on the door and a cleaning person informed us that it was check out time and that they needed to clean the room. They very generously offered to let us finish our discussion in a sitting room.

Lucjan gave us a magnet from Przemyśl, his hometown.


Dawn and Walter’s trip to Poland and Slovakia. July 10, 2018 – How Many Meals Can You Eat Pizza in a Row.

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018


Lucjan, Walter and I met for a breakfast at Šariš Park. What impressed us most wasn’t the meal but
how a member of the staff was washing all the windows. She would balance on top of the chairs,
sometimes standing on one leg as she stretched and contorted herself into whatever shape was necessary to get the job done on the inside and outside of all the windows in the restaurant. By the time she was done the windows were spotless.

The route of the fourth day of the tour.


Dawn and Walter’s trip to Poland and Slovakia. July 9, 2018 – On to Slovakia.

Thursday, November 8th, 2018


We met Lucjan in the dining room around 7:45 and again had the huge breakfast buffet set out for us. We made sure to take advantage of what was set out, though I steered clear of the pâté and pork jelly. Walter and I ate a more traditional American breakfast and Lucjan, in what I am assuming was a more European way, had his breakfast, maybe including the pork jelly. No matter what continent we had come from we all indulged in the baked goods. Walter and Lucjan had discovered the joys of a Nespresso commercial coffee machine, one in which the coffee has the cream added at just the right temperature to create a masterpiece of coffee the day before. This morning they again made good use of it and by the end of our breakfast they were both suitably caffeinated and ready to go.

The route of the third day of the tour.



Dawn and Walter’s trip to Poland and Slovakia. July 8, 2018 – Cousins, cousins everywhere.

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018


Having been treated to a quiet and cool evening’s sleep we woke up raring to go. We headed down to meet Lucjan for breakfast and to check out the breakfast buffet that was included with our stay. I walked into the dining area and absolutely couldn’t believe my eyes, there was the biggest buffet of any type that I had ever seen.


The biggest breakfast buffet I’ve ever seen.


Dawn and Walter’s trip to Poland and Slovakia. July 7, 2018 – Genealogical Tour Begins.

Monday, November 5th, 2018



I started off with a little bit of a nervous feeling in my stomach, I am pretty good at recognizing these butterflies and identifying what causes them, this time it was pulling Walter, my husband, into my hobby on a big scale. I had really pushed the idea of doing this type of tour on Walter and what if it was a bust? We had been having so much fun and seeing so many things up until this point.

Stop…take a deep breath…it is going to be fine.

We got moving early at 6:45, very early for anyone who knows me. This was the way it was every day, and Sue, my friend that we had been travelling with us up until this point, would be driving us from Kraków, to Kombornia Poland.


Route from Kraków to Kombornia.



The long put-off trip to Poland to search for my eastern European roots. Part 2.

Friday, October 19th, 2018

The next morning we were off to the Sanok archives—a smaller less formal center–where we would look through church documents of births, deaths and weddings.




The long put-off trip to Poland to search for my eastern European roots. Part 1.

Thursday, October 18th, 2018


The long put-off trip to Poland to search for my eastern European roots started September 18, 2018 with a flight from Chicago to Frankfort, Germany, and a Lufthansa flight to Krakow.


The next morning, we met our genealogy guide Zbigniew Stettner from PolishOrigins who came to pick us up in his Citroen C4 Picasso. Taking major Highway A4, we cruised along at 140 km per hour-about 85 miles per hour.


Arriving at the archives in Premysl, 11 km from the border with the Ukraine, we started our research.




From Michigan to Poland – a short story about Mom and Son’s Genealogy Tour (part 2)

Friday, August 3rd, 2018


We began the following day, Thursday, with a visit to a government office at the neighboring city Bielsko-Biała, to look at military records.  A remarkable thing that happened was in the process of requesting bundles of documents, an archivist came up from his area and talked to Zbigniew.  He had recognized Zbigniew’s name on the request slips and remembered that Z had helped him with personal genealogy work in the past.  Z said that he helps so many people that he did not remember this man, but was appreciative of his offer of help to us.  It turned out that the archivist did help us with some additional documents of our family records.


From Michigan to Poland – a short story about Mom and Son’s Genealogy Tour (part 1)

Monday, July 30th, 2018


This past April, my son and I had the most wonderful experience with our tour planned by PolishOrigins.  I wanted to share some of the highlights of our trip since it was so much more than what I was expecting.

We decided early on to focus on the Kraków area and we later discovered that two branches of our family tree were from that general area. PolishOrigins helped us organize our trip into three parts: several days of touring the city, followed by several days of research and more touring in the countryside, and then finishing with a final day in Kraków. For the first part, PolishOrigins set us up with fantastic guides for tours of the Wieliczka salt mine, a city tour of Kraków, Wawel hill and castle, and a tour of Auschwitz and Birkenau.