My 75th birthday present to Poland. Day 3 – Looking for grandparents’ home.

July 29th Zbignew picked us up again for another day of adventures. We sat in the hotel and went over a map of the places my grandparents and great grandparents Swiatek, Jasien and Balenski lived in the 1800’s. I had a record of the house numbers. We were on the road at 10a.m. and it was raining.

We headed first to Pieniazkowice looking for the home of my grandmother Tekla Swiatek. This is the spot where my grandmother’s home once stood. Notice the mountains in the background.

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We went to the village of Odrowaz, which is located between Zaluczne and Pieniazkowice. We wanted to see the priest in hopes of viewing records of my family. At the time my grandparents lived in Zaluczne and Pieniazkowice they attended church in Odrowaz, as this was the only church in close distance for them.

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I wish I could tell you that the priest was cooperative but he was not the least bit interested in helping us to find information about our family. However, we did have the cemetery and between the four of us we walked and looked at tombstones and took photos of those that may have some relationship to our family. Zbignew was incredibly helpful and prepared in finding relevant family information for us.

My grandson and I thoroughly examined the names on the gravestones.

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Marian showed Zbigniew the tombstone of his great grandparents. Sebastian was the brother to my great grandmother Magdalena Jasien nee: Bielanska. Through it all, Zbignew was really prepared to help us learn everything about our Polish origins.

After our trek through the cemetery and with rain beginning to fall we headed back to Zaluczne to say goodbye to Marian and Zophia. When we arrived Zophia was coming from the barn with a pale full of eggs. They invited us in for another visit. Zophia fixed us fresh eggs with fresh bread while we continued to visit. Marian topped this off with a wonderful glass of cherry wine that he had made from his cherry tree.

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This was the last day of our search for our family in these villages. Words cannot express the feelings I had when I was standing in front of the spot where my grandparents were born and raised. Thank you so much Zbigniew for making this possible with all your hard work! Then actually finding our family and to be given my grandparents wedding picture. I want you to know I consider you my third son!



  1. I found the following in Sw. Rozalia Church birth records, Podszkle. Maybe they are related?
    1878 p61 15 Stanislaus Josephus Króly Agnes Bielański Bukovina 166
    1880 p65 23 ? Joannes Króly Agnes Bielański Bukovina 166
    1883 p 69 17 Joannes C Joannes Króly Agnes Bielański Bukovina 166

  2. I also found these marriage records. The spelling is off but close.
    1809 Feb 7 Josephus Bilanski Odrowąż 30 1779 Maria Vitcsak Podszkle 20
    1806 Maji 5 Stephan Bilanski Raba 43 1763 Maria Bur? 27

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