My father’s surname was POLA and research showed that this family had lived in Rembieszow for generations. My father was one of eleven children born to Piotr Pola and at the time of my trip in 2008 only my father and his youngest sister Bronia were still alive. Bronia was still living on the family farm in Rembieszow where my dad and his siblings had all been born and still doing a little farming in her later years. The old home where my dad and his family lived had been knocked down over 40 years ago but standing on the land you still get a sense of how they lived.
Zenon arrived at our hotel in Zdunska Wola and we decided to go to the Stronsko Parish which is where the Pola family attended the church and across the road they buried their loved ones. The church is a Romanesque church of St. Ursula and Eleven Thousand Virgins. On closer inspection of the outside church walls it showed holes in the brick work which I was told were remnants of WWII as the church was next to one of the war fronts. This really made me realise how close the war and the fighting had been to my family. WWII Bunkers still exist in the fields and valleys behind and left of the church.
We met up with the Parish Priest and he was not too keen to sit down with us and go through Parish records. Zenon had warned me earlier that a lot of the older Priest may not wish to help us as they always said they were too busy and could not understand the concept of people researching their family trees. I pleaded my case to the Priest, in that I had flown over here from Australia at a great cost and for the purpose of finding out about my family. He finally relented and agreed to meet with us in two days at an appointed time. That was a huge relief!
When we returned to see him two days later, he was extremely nice to us and quite chatty. He took out his many parish registers and looked up and verified names and dates of the Pola family. Unfortunately he would not allow us to take photos of the registers. He also could not find the date of birth of one of my dad’s sisters who had died quite young just two weeks before her anticipated wedding. Not a lot was known about her and I wanted to find out more. When he found my dad’s birth certificate it also showed the date of his marriage which was different to what I had been told. Zenon then explained that two marriages take place, a civil ceremony and a church ceremony. The official records showed 28th June 1945 but the civil records showed 29th April 1945.
After our fruitful meeting, we then drove to Zapolice registry office where we could obtain my father’s birth certificate and those of his parents. The ladies in the office were quite helpful and were happy to look up other registers to confirm more dates and also to try to find the birth of dad’s sister, Anna which they did! They also let us take a photo of it which Zenon later translated into English for me as it was written in Russian.