3. An Aussie trying to find her Polish Roots.

On another day we decided to concentrate on my mother’s family, LAGIEWCZYK who hailed from the Parish of Marzenin. We drove to the Church and had a look at the grounds and inside the church which was just beautiful and very ornate. This is where my parents were married in June 1945.

Marzenin Parish Church Inside Marzenin Church Dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Mary. Built Circa 1300

Inside Marzenin Church

Again, another irate Priest who made us stand outside in the rain, waiting for him to finish his ‘important’ meeting. When we went inside his whole demeanour changed and he began searching earnestly in his parish registers for the family I was seeking. I wanted to verify my grandparent’s marriage date, but unfortunately for me, the whole year that I was seeking had been torn out of the parish register!!! The Priest was nonchalant about it, saying that at times whole registers had been lost as during the War winters, the Germans used anything they could find to put in the fire to keep them warm. I was horrified! Had I come all this way across the seas to be confronted by this? Panic started to set in and realisation of War had again become a stark reality in my search.

I think Zenon could see the panic in my face and he suggested we now go to the Civil Registry Office in Sedziejowice to see if they may have a copy of the parish register for that period of time. Zenon then also explained to me that two copies of a parish register are always kept, so there was still a chance…

Luckily for us, the lady at the Civil Registry Office in Sedziejowice was the friendliest one we had encountered. Luck (or something) was on my side as she pulled out the parish register I was seeking and even allowed us to take a photo of it! She also found my mother’s birth and her siblings and also searched other years to see if my grandmother had given birth to more children I was not aware of. She let us photograph each birth, death and marriage that we found on that day and I will always remember this lady with great warmth and affection. My research was finally back on track!

Zenon later transcribed the parish registers we had photographed into English for which I am extremely grateful for. My Polish is not THAT good and my Russian is non-existent!

We then travelled to the local cemetery where I showed him the grave of my grandparents and Aunt. My sister and cousin were also with us this day to help out. We split up into groups and spent some time walking around the cemetery, looking for the Lagiewczyk name on headstones. Unfortunately we could not find any matching surnames but there were some beautiful graves and statues around the grounds.

Marzenin cemetery


My sister had never seen her original birth certificate in her lifetime. When she needed identification she always had to use her Australian naturalisation certificate to prove who she was. Zenon and I decided to surprise her and took a trip to Kolumna where she had been born and went to the Civil Registry Office there where the lady showed Grace her birth in the records and then typed it up for her. The look on my sister’s face was priceless! I think she finally felt like she had a real identity!



  1. Hi.

    That’s an interesting account.

    My mother’s maiden name is Pola. My grandfather was born in a place called Felsztyn (in Poland until 1939, now Skelivka in Ukraine). His grandfather was from Rzeszow.
    My Polish grandparents were deported to Russia in 1941 and never returned to Poland. They both died in Ireland, where my parents still live.

    I spent some time in Poland in the 1990s. I visited the places my grandparents lived.

    I live in Wellington NZ now.

    All the best

    Des Brennan

  2. Hi Des,

    Your response was very interesting to me. Pola is a very unusual surname and through my research back to late 1700s there have been variations when records were written in Russian or Latin which include PALA, PALINSKI, POLINSKI and then POLA.

    My POLA family were all born and bred in Rembieszow, Poland but it is quite likely that we may be related in some distant way. I always believed that my parents were the first to leave Poland and their family behind in our family, but I could be wrong…

    If you are interested in exchanging some names or other information to see if we do link up in some way, please let me know. I will then ask Zenon to pass on my email to you directly.

    Kind Regards,

  3. Hi again Basia

    Just read your reply to my comment.

    Our family tradition says that our Pola ancestors were from the port city of Pola/Pula, which is now in Croatia but was formerly Italian. The Polas are supposed to have migrated from Pola to Poland some centuries ago. I’ve read that there are some Polas in the Czech lands, who are also of Italian origin. They might be distant relatives of ours.


  4. Hi Basia,

    My 2nd Great Granfather was married in the same church in 1826!


    Voytek Siewierski

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