On July 28th, Zbigniew picked us up and we headed for the Town Hall in Czarny Dunajec to look for records of deceased members of my family. The clerk would not let us see any of them as she said, ‘it would infringe on the privacy of the dead people’. Although Poland’s law says we could look at them we did not argue with her. We then went on to Pieniazkowice, which has a population of approximately 800 people and is located about 200 miles south of Warsaw. This is the village of my grandmother Tekla Swiatek (Swietek).
We first traveled to the church. Father Marian Dziubas was home and welcomed us. He searched through many records for us. He was very patient and kind. He had to stop to say a funeral mass and said we could come back at 2 p.m. and he would continue looking through the records for us.
So we went back to Czarny Dunajec and had lunch and then returned to the church. From here we drove to Załuczne which was the village of my grandfather. It has a population of roughly 700 people.
Zbigniew stopped and asked two villagers if they new any of the Jasien family.
The villagers sent us on down the road to another family. After much discussion they decided that we were not related but referred us to another family. By now it was 4 in the afternoon and this family was busy milking their dairy cows. But the father came out of the barn and asked us to wait, which we did. Upon returning and discussing with Zbigniew it was decided that in fact we were related. They invited us in for coffee, tea and cookies. As it turned out, the father, Marian is my cousin 3 times removed. His great grandfather and my great grandmother were brother and sister.
While sitting and talking (through Zbigniew), Marian brought out a shoebox, which was full of photos. He put them on the table and we started passing them around and looking at them. One of the photos was an original photo of my grandparents wedding with the entire wedding party.
Marian and Zophia gave this photo to me. What a wonderful gift this was as the family does not have this photo! Marian told us our family has been in this village some four hundred years and owned 100 pieces of land.
Before we left I asked if we could all have our photo taken together.
After our full day adventure we headed back to Zakopane and ate at the Karczma Restaurant, which was established in 1847. The meal was delicious!