Posts Tagged ‘Podlaskie Province’

Little miracles and fortuitous coincidences in Brzózki, 2018.

Tuesday, July 30th, 2019

Blog by Sharon Schoen.


I cannot recommend Polish Origins highly enough. In June 2018, I spent a week touring Mazovia, the place from which four of my great-grandparents and three of my grand aunts emigrated to New York around the turn of last century. The week was exceptionally well planned by Aga, and Daniel was our guide and translator. Daniel is incredibly adept at quickly establishing rapport with people and assessing options for which leads to follow, and this led to learning so much more than I’d have imagined possible and experiencing very many unlikely moments, including some adventures.


According to US census and naturalization documents, the village of Brzózki was where my Serafiński grand aunts and their parents were living when they left Poland, but despite prior attempts with multiple researchers, I could not locate any documentation of them in Polish archives. So I was fairly sure—but not one hundred percent certain—that this was the correct village, and I was hoping to find some verification.




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.


Tracing the Obiala and Samelko families. Day 9. Kiermusy, Treblinka and last day in Warsaw.

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

As we spent our last night in Kiermusy, we sat and reflected on the journey and how we felt about everything.

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Tracing the Obiala and Samelko families. Day 8. Touring in Tykocin and Biebrza National Park.

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

Another busy day as we played tourist in the morning.  Toured the town of Tykocin which is near Kiermusy. This was the scene of the Tykocin massacre. On August 25, 1941, the Nazi’s ordered 1400 – 1700 Tykocin Jews to the town square for ‘resettlement’.

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Men were marched and the women, children and elderly were trucked to the nearby Lopuchowo forest.  There they were executed in waves and this mass execution of Polish Jews continued to spread across the Bialystok region.


Tracing the Obiala and Samelko families. Day 7. Samelko Family in Romany.

Monday, November 16th, 2015

We returned to Romany and met with the priest.  The priest opened the church for us to go inside and take pictures.

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Tracing the Obiala and Samelko families. Day 6. Heading to Romany to research the Samełko side

Friday, November 13th, 2015

Checking out of the hotel, we bid goodbye to the Obiala side of the family and headed to the Romany area to start a new chapter and research the Samelko’s.  It was about a five hour drive thru the Polish countryside, including the outskirts of Warsaw.  Upon arriving in the small town of Romany, the birthplace of our grandfather, Jan, and Theodore’s father, we went to the church.  Zenon met with the priest and set up an appointment for the next day. He then proceeded to ask around and located a family whose parents cared for Balbina (a sister to Jan) in her later years when she was ill.  They could not answer as how they were related, but felt they were in some way because you do not care for someone that is ill unless they are family.

After some discussion with Zenon and using our family tree, they were able to give us more leads as well as additional names of family members.

Note: This part of Poland is home to storks.  Their nests are everywhere, on roof top chimneys and on utility poles.  They spend the summer and around the middle of August migrate back to Africa.

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PolishOrigins Adventure. Part 5: Lachowo Parish Catholic church.

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Of course our trip included a visit to the Catholic Church in Lachowo that served the villages of Rydzewo-Świątki (birthplace of Rajmund Wierzbicki) and Kumelsk (where he and his mother were living in 1909). The current building was constructed in 1877 which means it is the exact building where my grandfather was christened and attended the first 17 years of his life. It was an amazing feeling to walk into this church and realize that this distant church would have been such an important part of the lives of my many relatives with the names Wierzbicki, Dąbrowski, and Sadowski.





PolishOrigins Adventure. Part 4: Meeting with Jadwiga.

Monday, December 1st, 2014

The following day we returned to Kumelsk to visit Jadwiga. We hit a genealogy jackpot! We begin talking, through Zenon’s rapid translations, and immediately learned we are both former school teachers! Before long, Jadwiga was sharing photo albums and seemed more like a sister than a distant cousin!




PolishOrigins Adventure. Part 3: Kumelsk.

Friday, November 28th, 2014

On our way from Elk to Kumelsk, we came across a sign taking us a slightly different way than the main paved road. We took the ‘road less traveled’ and were amazed to find a very old rock road that appeared to have been laid by hand. It was several kilometers long but took us into Kumelsk the ‘back way.’




PolishOrigins Adventure. Part 2: My grandfather’s homeland.

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

Before discussing our discoveries, please allow me to digress a little.

The national symbol for Poland, like the United States, is an eagle. Notice the crown on the eagle’s head. Until 25 years ago, it had been missing for many, many years. Why? Under communist rule, Poland’s eagle was not allowed to be displayed with a crown as that went against the communist policy. Today, Poland’s eagle once again proudly has a crown.