Posts Tagged ‘Russian Partition’

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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Mike

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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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>Mike

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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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Mike

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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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Mike

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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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Mike

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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: https://blog.polishorigins.com/looking-for-great-grandpa-ludwik/.

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.

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A Very Rigid Search

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

(This blog post was originally published on the authors blog “no land foreign” http://www.nolandforeign.com/a-very-rigid-search/ . 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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A Poland Family Adventure. Day 4. Our hearts beat a little faster- the beginning of search for ancestors.

Friday, November 27th, 2015

 

The city tour was over. Bright and early Zenon appeared to begin the drive through rural Poland. Driving the back roads is an adventure in itself. Narrow village streets and twisted bands of paved highway are framed by close set houses and thick trees, planted too close to the road! Cars, trucks of all dimensions, bikers with no reflectors and even pedestrians fill the roadways. Steep ditches fall away on either side of the roads in the country and spacious fields stretch out in all directions. A few hours outside of Warsaw we reached the first ancestral family villages in the Kujawy district. The topsoil in the fields was deep and black, freshly plowed fertile soil. Crops of sugar beets were being harvested and piled high along the roads throughout central Poland. Sugar refineries were seen in many communities.

My husband’s earliest known ancestors lived in hamlets that were part of the parish of Lubraniec. In the cemetery we saw the first evidence of our family’s surname (relationship unknown at this time). Our hearts beat a little faster as we searched for familiar names. Deaths before early 1900 were not shown on markers. However, we know that Conrad’s great-grandfather was buried in this parish cemetery.

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A Poland Family Adventure. Day 3. Museum of the Polish Devil.

Thursday, November 26th, 2015

 

After breakfast  this day, Slav took us for a nearby walk to the tomb of the unknown soldier. It is guarded around the clock each day of the year, with a scheduled change of the guard. The tomb sits under a stone  arcade, the only remaining part of a palace that once existed on the site that is now an open square. Behind the tomb is a massive decorative fountain and a landscaped park that was once part of the palace gardens. Old Town Warsaw is like the Phoenix…risen from the ashes of its former destruction.

I planned an unusual itinerary for our stay in Warsaw and Slav helped us schedule a special stop. One of our requests was to see the Museum of the Polish Devil. In Poland the devil is known as Boruta. He shows up in many disguises, sometimes as a nobleman, a farmer, a friend, a soldier, etc. Sometimes he is even a patriot. But you can recognize him by horns and a tail. The museum is private, kept by an elderly man in his own home, who has been collecting folk art depictions of Boruta for 40 years. After his death, the collection (already owned by the government) will be housed in a public museum.

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A Poland Family Adventure. Day 2. Discovering Warsaw.

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

 

Slav met us bright and early the next day and after breakfast we hit the street wearing our walking shoes.  It was cool and crisp outside but the sun warmed us as the day progressed. Across from the hotel stood buildings that were once part of a palace compound. Now a huge iron gate topped with a family crest closed off the few of the remaining buildings.

Old Town Warsaw buildings are new since the 1950s. Slav explained that Hitler ordered the city be destroyed near the end of World War II, even as the Nazis were losing the war. Poles who fought in the underground resistance movement had dared to stand up to the Nazi invaders with street fighting and sabotage and Hitler retaliated by destroying their city. Centuries old buildings and palaces were turned to rubble. The inhabitants were given a week’s  notice to evacuate before the bombings took place. The medieval looking Old Town buildings we see today were re-constructed after World War II.

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