Day 2 – Thursday, May 5th – Izbica Kujawska, formerly Zagrodnica, Russia
This morning, Dale stayed behind at the hotel and did birding along the water near our hotel, the church grounds of St. Dorothy’s and in Lichen Stary. Z and I left the hotel, and headed back to Konin Archives to look for more records. We then drove around Sompolno where my grandfather Frank Wilinski was born. In Lubstow, we visited the area where my great grandfather Wojciech and great grandmother Emilia Ast lived and worked.
In the area we visited the church where they attended, walked through the cemetery took many pictures of graves that might have a connection to my family. It was noon, so we got to hear the church bells ringing at St. Hedwig Church. Inside the church it looked like they were preparing for a First Holy Communion mass that weekend.
We walked down the road from the church, past several abandoned buildings to a gate where a very large estate stood.
While looking through the gate admiring the property, a lady approached us. Z, in polish explained to the lady why we were there. She looked at me and smiled, and invited us to come through the gate and view the large estate. We hesitated, but accept her invitation.
A surprise was revealed to me later regarding this visit. That evening, Z did some research and revealed to me that this estate was where my great grandparents Wojciech worked as a guard and Emilia worked as a maid.
After researching more when I got home to the States, I found out through a Google search that this was a Palace in the late 1850’s. The article had a picture of the grounds I walked…..what an unexpected surprise! I would not have encountered this experience or found out about this fact if it was not for this genealogy tour to my grandparents ancestral village here in Poland.
The Palace is seen in the background of the picture above, as we walked past these abandoned buildings, where possibly my great grandparents lived while working at the palace.
Again we stayed the night at Hotel Stara Gorzelnia in Lichen Stary.
Day 3 – Friday, May 6th – Lubstow area
We continued my genealogy research in the Lubstow area today. Not far from our hotel in Lichen Stary we pass by the Basilica of Our Lady of Lichen Stary near Konin in Greater Poland Voivodeship, Poland. The Basilica is the world’s seventh largest church in the world.
After going by the Basilica, we head to the countryside towards Izbica Kujawska where my grandmother Stella Lojewska was born and grew up. Just as we approach the village, we found a monument in honor of composer Fredrick Chopin’s mother Tekla Justyna Krzyzanowska Chopin born in 1782 and was baptized at the Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Izbica Kujawska, where my grandmother also went to church and was baptized.
We got back in our car and drove to the cemetery where we found many headstones with the family names, Ciesielski, Lojewski, Wielinski, Hernacki, Teper, Lewandowska. At this cemetery, Z spoke to some people who were visiting grave sites and asked if they knew of any living Lojewski’s living in the area. We did not get any leads so we left the cemetery and continued our drive around the village.
Z stopped at a driveway where a resident was working outside of their house and he asked them a few questions regarding any living Lojewski’s in the area. She said yes, follow the road and stop at the duplex house up the street. We parked across the street and Z asked a man standing outside if a Lojewski lived here. He said yes, Zofia Lojewska lives next door. Go knock on her window. Z did, and he explained to her who we were and she smiled and told us to come around through the gate and some in to her home.
We introduced ourselves and she asked us to sit down at her dining room table. The next thing she said was she saw us at the cemetery earlier when she was there tending to her husband grave. What a coincident, that we should meet later. Her husband, Thaddeus Lojewski, was a police officer and died in 2014. They have 2 sons who are also work for the police department. Zofia offered us a tea, water and cookies while we sat at her dining room table talking about our family through Z translating for us.
It was confirmed at Thaddeus was my 3rd cousin and my grandmother Lojewski’s nephew. As we were leaving she gave me her address so I could write to her and allowed me to take a picture of a picture of her husband in his police uniform with my camera. We walked outside and took a picture of us together and said our goodbyes. She is a retired school teacher, a sweet lady with a big heart.
We stopped at another very small abandoned cemetery in the area to see if we could find anymore family gravestone’s but did not find any. It looked to be an old German graveyard that had been deserted. After our long day of collecting information on my ancestors we headed back to our lodging place in Lichen Stary for the night and had dinner.
Day 4 – Saturday, May 7th – Lubstow area
Today we drove from Lichen Stary to Biskupin, Celinowo, Jastrz, Ryszewo to Gniezno back to Lichen Stary for our last night of lodging there.
We decided to go to the Biskupin Archelogical museum which is an archaeological site and a life size model of an Iron Age fortified settlement in Poland. The reserve or property had preserved wooden buildings dated back to 700 – 600 BC., farm buildings, vegetable gardens, and a train that would take you around the reserve. It was very interesting to see how life was back then. It took us about 2 hours to tour archaeological museum.
We continued on to Gniezno, where we walked around the city and visited the Gniezno Catchedral near the market square and had lunch.
On our way back to Lichen Stary we finally stopped at the Basilica of our Lady of Lichen where people come from all over the world to attend masses, conferences and religious celebrations.