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.
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.
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!