During one of these trips we stopped at a tiny village store in Chotowa and Zenon asked the store owner if she knew of the Piech name. She became very excited and was talking faster than Zenon could translate as she drew a map of property lines.
As it turned out the Piech family she was speaking of wasn’t more than 4 or 5 houses away! With much excitement we jumped into the car and off we went. The woman at the house was very gracious but couldn’t give us a lot of detail, as this was her husband’s family. She asked if we could come back the next day at 3pm when he would be home. Needless to say we were happy to do so.
And the next day we were introduced to Wladyslaw and Irena Piech. What a wonderful couple. I was so touched when he took my hand, kissed it three times and told me he was so happy family from the United States was looking for them. My heart was full! We are not quite sure yet how it all fits together but suspect his great grandfather, who we think is Wojciech, and my great grandfather, Stanislaus, were brothers.
Wladyslaw remembers letters coming from Chicago but wasn’t able to find them while we were there. Hopefully, he will be successful in his search and we can verify the connection. We left Chotowa feeling incredibly grateful, amazingly happy and astounded that Zenon had indeed topped himself from the previous days, which also led to a discussion of how at times it feels as if our ancestors guide us in our search.
After our days of intense research it was time to be tourists and Zenon accompanied us as tour guide and historian extraordinaire! We toured Lancut Castle, which was as fascinating as it was beautiful (click here: http://www.zamek-lancut.pl/en/ to see English version of Łańcut Castle website).
Zenon took this time to organize the large amount of data he had compiled. One of his suggestions was to visit the open air museum in Sanok for a better idea of how our ancestors lived. He arranged for a private hour and a half tour of the museum. Our tour guide spoke excellent English and was able to explain life as it would have been in the mid 1800’s for our ancestors. The structures were amazing and we were given access to buildings that were closed to the public. What an education. If anyone has the opportunity to do this it is well worth your time. (And now you can take virtual stroll through the old Galician market square: http://skansen.sanok.pl/wirtualny-spacer-rynek-galicyjski.html)