My Genealogical Quest. Part 1: In the Beginning…

The series of blog posts was originally published on Mike’s blog:

After talking about this for a long time (begging Amy to let me use our vacation on this), in June, Amy and I finally took the leap and bought tickets for us to travel to Poland and Lithuania this fall. This is not going to be like any other vacation/sightseeing trip we’ve taken before.

This trip is centered around my ongoing genealogical research. We will be visiting villages where my ancestors once lived, churches where they worshiped, and cemeteries where generations of family members are buried. Of course we will do some site seeing, but we’ll also visit cold, dusty archives in order to research my family history in centuries old books and visit with distant relatives who I have connected with.Unfortunately, I think that buying the tickets will be the easiest part of this trip. I quickly realized that I still have a lot of work to do when my first stab at plotting our travels required approximately 40 hours in a car! Not including travel days, we are only there for 8 full days. This equated to about 5 hours in a car each day which hardly left me the time required to visit AND research – back to the drawing board.

I ended up on this preliminary itinerary:

mike mapa

Among others, our stops include the following places to perform research:

Bolesław, Poland – Janik Family
Odrzykoń, Poland – Danek Family
Leżajsk, Poland – Ozga Family
Kopczany, Poland – Guzewicz/Danilczyk Family
Vabaliai, Lithuania – Maslauskas Family

Currently, I’m discussing my itinerary (and budget) with local guides in both countries. Because we will not be limiting our travels to big cities and tourist attractions, we’ll need to have a translator/guide with us during most of our trip. I’ve been told that finding someone who speaks English in these small villages is nearly impossible so having a translator at your disposal is like gold. Plus, these guides have connections with priests, archive directors, and locals which can always come in handy. Good thing the exchange rates are favorable at the moment!

The preparation continues…

Mike Maslauskas


  1. Wow Mike,,, so exciting always see this on tv but never with someone I know……Enjoy reading about your family….

    Talk soon…


  2. Hi Mike,

    I Read your narrative below, and would like to comment briefly on the present day
    travel conditions in Poland.

    I just returned from a similar trip to Krakow a few weeks ago, and visits to ancestral
    villages of my parents, in the south (near Jaslo) and east (near Janow a Lubelski). it
    was a great experience, and I did a lot of driving; but I will say that traveling by car is
    not like in the USA.

    There are few freeways, and most of the roads are two lane roads that you share
    with semi-trucks, farm vehicles, and related slow moving traffic. The roads are in
    decent shape where I drove, but You will not be able to drive much faster than perhaps
    45-50 mph at best, so you need to factor that into your itinerary.

    Average speed may be closer to 35-45 mph when all real conditions are factored in.
    Also, the roads are not as well marked as in the USA, and I highly recommend some GPS software like Tom-Tom for your smartphone or iPad. I found that to be invaluable, and works much better than paper maps. Tom-Tom has an Eastern Europe version with turn-by-turn directions in English. It’s about $95, but priceless if you’re traveling by car.

    I plan to make a return trip in the summer of 2014.

    Good luck!

    Chet Szerlag
    Chicago, IL

  3. My husbands Andrew LUbczinski,lubczynski,Lubczynskyj came from Podhajce,the only information I have that his father Jozef died in Germany and his grandfather Aleksey went to Brazil before 1939.I wonder do you ever go to Podhajce on tour.For any information I would be great full.Thank you Julien.

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