On Wednesday, we traveled to Lusławice, where my grandfather was born! Luslawice is about 30 miles east of Krakow, so we headed north east from our village. I snapped photos all along the way, but we joke that I only photograph trees and cars because when I see something that looks interesting and try to snap a photo with my digital camera, I end up with a car or big tree in the photo because of that frustrating delay so characteristic of digital cameras! We stopped to visit 2 old wooden churches. One was locked, but at the other, the priest gave us a tour! He produced a ring of large ancient looking keys and opened a small door on the south side of the church.
When we stepped inside, we were in a tiny room that looked and smelled like a cellar! The priest then unlocked another small door and we stepped into the most amazing church I have ever seen. The wooden interior was even more remarkable than the exterior. The best that I could describe it is that someone built a beautiful church inside a large barn. That is what all the wooden walls reminded me of. It was built in the 1500’s and once had beautiful murals painted on the walls. In the 1970’s, someone painted over the murals with white paint and it was almost impossible to recover these priceless works of art. Still, we could make out many faint images on the walls. Pictures can never catch the true essence of this church, you just have to be there to believe it.
I was looking forward to our visit to Lusławice because I wanted to see where my grandfather was born, and to collect images and information for me and my new friend Lisa who was researching her Osiecki ancestors from the same area. The villages of Lusławice and Kończyska turned out to be tiny, without their own churches; the villagers traveled to nearby Zakliczyn, another Galician town. Zenon drove us around the entire village area while I captured images of trees, houses, farms, more trees, and walls :).
We also drove past the manor house in Lusławice where we think that Lisa’s great grandmother Anna Osiecki worked. It is now owned by a famous composer and is not open for tours. It is also surrounded by a large wall, so it was impossible to get a good look at the manor house. Still, I got some great photos of the walls!
I saw some church steeples in the distance, so we headed off to Kończyska to see if these were some churches that we did not know about. We actually ended up finding a convent, a Jewish war cemetery and a monastery.
Next we headed to the Zakliczyn church. It was quite large and beautiful inside, but sadly, the inner doorway was blocked by a metal gate. This was disappointing because I wanted to walk inside the church where my grandfather was baptized and take photos. I stuck my camera between the bars and captured a few shots and then we headed off to find the cemetery down the street.
My great-great-grandfather, Andreas Kulawiak, died in 1909 in Luslawice, and was probably buried here, but I knew better than to expect to find his grave. Still, I stubbornly tried to examine every old stone in this large cemetery. Of course I came up empty handed, but I did get some photos for Lisa of Osiecki, Koza and Nowak headstones. I also photographed some stones that looked interesting and also some that had photographs. I didn’t know any of the names, but they were interesting and I can post the photos on find-a-grave or some other genealogical website.
We hurried back to Odrowaz to visit Jozef Kulawiak’s parents. His father Wincenty is 91, frail and very quiet. Mama was quite lively and served us a delicious cake with blackberry filling and talked about living in the area.
We were hoping that she might remember something about Leopold (my great-grandfather’s nephew). She recalled that he was a construction worker who built roads, and that about a year ago, his son visited the village. She did not recall his name, but thought that he lived here in Poland. Maybe we will be able to locate him while I am here!