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

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.




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How Surnames Came Into Being in Poland

November 28th, 2017


During the First Rzeczpospolita (Republic of Both Nations), from the mid-1500 to 1795, (Poland’s borders included then the majority of territories of today’s Poland, a large part of the Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and parts of Latvia and Russia ) surnames already existed, but not for everybody.

Commonwealth of Both Nations at the peak of its strength. Source: Wikimedia, author: Halibutt


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A Moment In Our Lifetime

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

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Useful database for Polish genealogy search:

April 11th, 2017


The web site is one of several databases of records and indexes prepared and maintained by the Polish Genealogical Society. It is not as well known as its sister database, . We thought it may be useful to briefly describe it’s contents, and write a short instruction on how to use it. It contains indexes of parish and civil records and pictures of actual records, mainly from central Poland (łódzkie and mazowieckie provinces) but there are also records from other parts of Poland (in former Kingdom of Poland, the area that used to be occupied by Russia, and also from the former Galicia area). There are 1265 collections of records from different towns listed in the main database.

How to use the website:

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Recollections of Julius Bier. Part 3.

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?


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Recollections of Julius Bier. Part 2.

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?

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Recollections of Julius Bier. Part 1.

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

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Not all priests are saints.

March 29th, 2017

Or What I have learned from Latin records translations.


On our Forum there is a separate section where you can ask for translation of Latin records. It has existed since 2013 and the undeniable hero there is David – dnowicki, who since the beginning, has been translating, and often adding, very interesting secrets of this language, its history background and context of the times when all those event happens. This not only enriches our understanding of the records but it makes them much more absorbing.

As one of our Forum admins, I am browsing all new posts on a regular basis, and each time I am surprised at how much information can be found and read between the few handwritten lines, and sometimes these were written many centuries ago. Sometimes one’s family history can be hidden in a document that seems to be impossible to decipher.

Here is my subjective choice of Dave’s notes, interpretations, explanations. I do not want to underestimate our other translation sections (Polish, Russian and German), but I’ll focus here in Latin as something that is most mysterious and complicated at first glance. Most of all I want to encourage you to try reading your own family records and to read Dave’s notes and explanations to the translations he makes.

I do not know Latin. I am well aware of that I still have to learn a lot about genealogy and I am eager to do this. I decided to share with you what I have learned from Dave’s posts and what I found especially useful, intriguing or even funny.




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Country Party in old good style!

March 24th, 2017


Since 2013 our guests participating in Galicia Tour are hosted by the Cultural Center in Strzyżów and “Kłosowianie” folk group. These country parties became the tours highlights! Watch some of the best moments from 2016.



More details about the tour:





Trip of a Lifetime! Part 2.

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?!?

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