Pan Znamirowski is a genealogical daredevil.
He is not afraid of irate priests,
muddy mountain roads,
19th century Latin or
village houses guarded by rottweilers.
Our trip to the land of Gorale was packed with first class thrills.
Those were not faux adventures of a theme park.
Those were authentic Galician attractions:
— cliffs and rocks, rivers and bridges where tourists do not go,
— centuries old churches and cemeteries,
— stern but kind faces of highlanders,
— generous road-side restaurants with tables decorated with crisp white tablecloth,
— breathtaking cold air of Tatra mountains,
— back rooms of museums filled with ancient artifacts,
— a book with church records started in 1794 – still in use (1794 – US flag has only 15 stripes, US Navy and Post Office just got created, Joseph Haydn premiers his 99th symphony),
— birth records of our ancestors that had been waiting for decades in darkness – handwritten with ink and quills and sprinkled with sand.
In just 2 days (true, those we long days that wore us out) we uncovered quite a few mysteries and moved our family history forward more than in last 70 years.
We still have enough puzzles to solve – now in Western Belarus.
I wish researchers with dedication of Mr Znamirowski existed in all ends of Polish lands – current and past.
The trip was worth every penny we spent.
A rich national history could be a country strategic resource – as much as salt and gold mines or gas and oil fields. Its difference from natural resources is in the fact that the whole nation had to work hard for thousands of years to create it.
It is impossible to purchase a national history.
It takes generations and many sacrifices to earn a dignified history like Poland has.
Pan Znamirowski helped us to see the enormous richness of his beautiful country, get in touch with the culture and place the history of our family on a bigger context.
We will be back!