Posts Tagged ‘Russian Partition’

Poland: Traveling at the Speed of… My Parents!

Monday, January 9th, 2017


This is a story by Jennifer Shoer aka Scrappy Genwho runs genealogy services as Reconnecting Relatives, LLC,  based in the US. This is originally published on Jennifer’s blog: The Scrappy Genealogist. Jennifer travelled with PolishOrigins in September 2016. 

Jennifer is another professional genealogist we assisted in genealogy tour in Poland. A year before, Mike Mierzwa (and his wife) traveled with us and they plan to return this year for even longer trip.

Here are some selected parts from Jennifer’s blog:


Buckle your seatbelts! We are traveling at the speed of my parents. Oh, did you think that speed might be slow? Not with my parents. They may physically move at a slower pace than me, but they travel with the purpose and intensity of a rocket trip to Mars.


We spent two weeks in Poland and Germany with a small day trip to Austria. During that time, we visited eight cities and numerous villages; researched our family in archives in Płock and Włocławek (Poland); spent time with six new (to me) cousins (ages 8 months to 95 years); crawled through overgrown cemeteries and the locations of long gone villages; and even did some sightseeing.




My Trip to Poland with Zen: Day 9 – September 3, 2015.

Monday, September 19th, 2016

As my trip to Poland begins to wind down, the remaining days are devoted to sightseeing mostly.  Today, we went to the famous pilgrimage site of the Jasna Gora monastery in Czestochowa, Poland.  It was here in 1655 that a small contingent of friars, Polish nobles and volunteers fought off the numerically superior Swedish force of German mercenaries for a month inspiring the Poles to rise up and sweep the Swedes out of Poland.  Legend has it that the inspiration for this valiant defense was a famous religious icon known as the Black Madonna of Czestochowa which has been housed in the Monastery since at least the 1300s.


The Black Madonna with the protective screen.



Search for Pajek Family and 4600 miles trip to Poland. Part 9. Sadly time to leave Poland after magnificent tour.

Friday, April 1st, 2016

This was the day to head back to Warsaw.

We were picked up by Zenon at 9 am for our car trip to Warsaw. It was a great time in Krakow but it was sadly time to leave. The ride to Warsaw was very nice and we traveled the scenic roads and the country side was beautiful. After a little more than 4 hours we arrived in Warsaw. Zenon was gracious enough to give us a tour around Warsaw. We toured Wilanow Palace.

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Poland Trip 2015. Part 13. Kraków and Warsaw by train

Monday, March 14th, 2016

(…)The train itself was extremely clean and very comfortable. They can get up to speed of around 125 miles an hour. In this particular train I don’t think we went past 60 or 65 mph. I would definitely use trains in Poland to go from point A to point B for long distances. You get to see a lot of the Polish countryside by taking a train.

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Welcome to Warsaw!

(…)We grabbed a cab and took it to our hotel, the Polonia Palace, without realizing exactly how close we were to it. Looking at a map of the city, it looked like it was a ten block walk to the hotel. At this point in our trip, we were both exhausted. With the traffic that we were seeing, crossing the street with lots of luggage wasn’t an option. So we took a cab and found out it was only three blocks away. If nothing else we can say we took a cab in Warsaw.

No wonder the cab drivers were laughing with each other. 🙂

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Poland Trip 2015. Part 7. Pysznica, Kopki, Rudnik & Lublin. Poland

Friday, March 4th, 2016

(…) If you’re visiting Poland, and know where your ancestors came from, I would highly suggest visiting those locations. I spent a considerable amount of time walking around Pysznica on foot, shopping in the local stores, talking with the staff and dining in local restaurants.

Wherever I’m there, I try to visit the family farm that my ancestors have owned and lived on for the last 400 years. That itself is surreal, knowing that many generations of my paternal family walked that very ground.

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Original family farm

Prior to leaving, it became somewhat of a joke between my cousin Gienek and I stating ‘Don’t you know who we are? We’re Mierzwa’s, we ruled this town!’ We were able joke and say that because at one point in time, our ancestors were actually mayors of the city.

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Poland Trip 2015. Part 6. Oleśnica and Pacanów, Świętokrzyskie. Poland.

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

(…)Suddenly he realized that I was a direct blood relative. He couldn’t believe I had come all that way to find and meet him! He knew there was family in America, but when my grandfather passed in 1961, communication was lost and the family had no idea how to locate us. Now, fifty-four years later, here I was. We spent a better part of the afternoon getting to know one another, exchanging family stories and history and dining on some amazing Polish food.

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Głowniak family relations reunite!

(…) Later in the evening I made a Skype call to my mom and her sister in the United States, so they could meet their Polish cousins. My mom and aunt both immediately started crying. They couldn’t believe that I had found my grandfather’s family.

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Poland Trip 2015. Part 5. Kotuszów

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

(…)It’s a surreal feeling being in a church that was built in 1661. As we walked inside, the caretaker pointed out certain areas of the church to us and gave us a full tour. You could tell he was proud of the church and of the area. Zbignew asked him about my family, and while he did not recognize the name from the area, he did know that there were some Glowniaks in Pacanow and Olesnica.

We spent almost an hour getting a tour of the church and its surroundings. One thing he pointed out to us as we were standing outside, was a machine gun that had been attached to the church tower during World War II. It was left there as a reminder of what had happened. We thanked the caretaker and I was so touched that what he had done I asked if I could take a picture with him. He was shocked and graciously accepted. We thanked him again and headed out towards Olesnica.

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Poland Trip 2015. Part 4. Travel from Skulsk to the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

(…)As we started heading towards our destination, Zbigniew made a side trip to a castle and museum. We took a long hike up and had the opportunity to see Chęciny Castle. (photos)
Some may say that I’m obsessed with the medieval time. There’s nothing more beautiful than see some of these old castles and churches that have lasted centuries.

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(…) When we finally arrived at our hotel we got some last-minute food and drink and headed up to our rooms to prepare for the next day. We were scheduled to head to Olesnica to see if I could finally find my maternal grandfather’s family. As we briefly talked in a room, we said good night and I started to unpack.

It couldn’t have been more than five minutes and I heard a knock at our door. It was our guide Zbigniew. Zbigniew had a smile on his face and said, ‘oh by the way, tomorrow we will be visiting your family in Olesnica.’ I’m pretty sure the look on my face was priceless.

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Looking for Great-Grandpa Ludwik. Part 2. We return with mom to discover even more!

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

This is continuation of the first visit of Abraham in Poland in 2014. You can read it here:

In 2015 Abraham returned and took his mother to show her newly-found family in Poland and to discover more family in Lithuania. Our team was again privileged to organize the tour.

The blog is adapted with permission from Abraham’s FB entries when he was relating ‘hot off the press’ the adventures they were experiencing :-).

Kamianka, Poland

Mom meets her family in Poland. Sharing family stories and laughs with some homemade cakes in the Polish countryside.

Back in Kamianka with Polish family, mom and Meghan.



A Very Rigid Search

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

(This blog post was originally published on the authors blog “no land foreign” . One of our guides (Zenon) was privileged to meet Alex, his mother and the family “at a local cafe in Warsaw” just before they hit the road to uncover their family roots in central Poland. Alex generously agreed to share with our readers his family story written in a very engaging way.)

I can remember clear as yesterday the day that Risa and I sat with Babci in her room at Rosary Hill Home in some of her final days, and she started speaking of these new, strange towns to us. Skarzyce, Winnica, Pultusk, Nasielsk. they seemed to come out of thin air and had nothing to do with the town we had always been told she was born and grew up in, Przemyśl. A map was drawn on a worn piece of paper showing the location of the towns. Skarzyce just to the west of Winnica, with their nearest major city of Pultusk in the distance.

Coming home soon thereafter, long before I embarked on my Polish citizenship quest, I googled the towns and was surprised to see them all 40 or so short miles from Warsaw. How did this relate to my Babci’s life? Did she simply remember some distant family from these places who were her closest relatives during the time she was in Warsaw alone during the war?

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