1. Trip of a Lifetime.

I had the pleasure of finding the PolishOrigins site about a year ago. While I haven’t been able to establish a family connection with anyone with the same Piech surname, I have truly enjoyed others stories and connections.

After years of searching records for my great grandfather,Stanislaus Piech, I only had the very vague answer of his origin as ” Poland”. I knew the family had come from Poland to Chicago in 1880. The one clue I did have was my great grandmother’s death certificate. On it her daughter listed her mother’s birthplace as Sedziszow, Poland. In reviewing LDS films it was clear Stanislaus was not from the immediate area. But, surely he must be from a village somewhere close. There were a few clues of other family members from the US on Ancestry and Family Search, but, nothing to help with my mystery man, Stanislaus. I felt I had exhausted my research in the United States.

I had previously hired a researcher in Poland to help me find the ancestral village of my great grandfather some time ago. This turned out to be greatly disappointing. Whether it was a lack of understanding because of the language barrier or lack of research experience I am not sure.

So, to say I was a little hesitant to hire yet another researcher was an understatement. But, after reading testimonials and spending time reading PolishOrigins I became convinced Zenon was the right person for the job. After much communication and being very clear about my expectations I asked him to research my family.

In May 2012 Zenon and I agreed on a course of action for the research and he had Marek check the archives in Tarnow. After just a couple of weeks I had my answer! Stanislaus was from Chotowa in Straszecin parish!! Not terribly far from Sedziszow. And included were the names of six siblings, marriages, deaths, names of his parents and grandparents…all with documentation. I was overwhelmed!

I had promised myself that if I were ever lucky enough to find Stanislaus I was going to Poland to see the villages of my ancestors. By October my husband and I boarded a plane and were on our way! Ten days in Poland!! I couldn’t believe this day had finally arrived.

Zenon was amazing! He helped us with every detail of our trip. He offered ideas of sites to visit but makes it very clear that this is your trip and is willing to do whatever you’d like to make it special. My husband and I did not speak a word of Polish and I was a little hesitant about how we would handle everything. There was no need to worry as Zenon made sure everything was perfect. From hotel rooms to ordering dinner to buying things in the market squares he paid attention to every detail.

We spent three days at the archives in Tarnow. As a researcher Zenon is extraordinary. With the three of us looking through records, the information, at times, seemed to be coming so quickly I don’t know how Zenon kept track of it all. We had such great success at the archives I laughed and told Zenon I wasn’t sure how he could possibly top this!

Zenon and Michelle in Tarnow Archives

During this time we also went to Sedziszow , Chotowa and to Straszecin and visited the parishes and the cemeteries. We found evidence of the Piech family but we’re not sure exactly how they fit in.

Parish cemetery in Sedziszow

Church of the Birth of Our Lady in Sedziszow

A way to the cemetery in Chotowa
As we confirmed it later this was a grave of my great grandfather’s brother and his family!
Wojciech was the oldest brother of my great grandfather Stanislaus.


Click for part 2.


  1. I was very moved to read your story. It will inspire many others. I have had dealings with Zenon and I am not suprise at your lovely comments. There is hope for me and my cousin to find my uncle FRANICZEK CHARA born 1919 Poland who migrated to Australia in the early 1950’s and never saw his family again. I look forward to this day when I can visit Poland like you have. Fantastic result and I am delighted for you. Sylvia from Australia (I had a Polish uncle in Chicago also now deceased)

  2. I have ancestors with the surname Pięk, from the village of Głowaczowa, part of Straszęcin parish. My fourth great grandmother was Agata Pięk (1773-1828). She was the daughter of Łukasz Pięk. And she married Jan Gawle (1769-1829).

    I’m curious about the cemetery at Straszęcin. Are there intact gravestones or markers there from before 1850?

  3. Cemetery in Straszęcinie of 1850 there because it was located next to the walls of the old church, in 1930 it was decided to build the present Church and cemetery was moved by the Creek.It bears the name of an old cemetery, there are only a few graves from about 1880

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