My Journey to Poland. Day 3.

I woke up at 3:45am to the sun shining in my room!  I was told later these are the longest days of the year here.  Slept longer and then met Zenon for breakfast downstairs (no elevators, discovered Poland is not really handicap assessable), we are offered a breakfast buffet, but they prepare scrambled eggs for you, unfortunately they will not cook the eggs all the way, no matter how many times you ask!

After that we left for Poryte (this is what I’ve been waiting for) seeing the church.  As we drove up we noticed construction at the rectory, so we went to the church hall.  And there was the priest who explained he is new to the parish only one week.  The rectory, church and hall are being remodeled and repaired.  I took photos of pictures of prominent citizens of Poryte area that were hanging on the wall.

The priest explained that the books for the church are in the attic of the rectory and we cannot view them at this time, but perhaps in the winter would be better; Zenon agreed to come back and research for me in the winter.  We asked if we could see the church, which had not been remodeled yet.  As we entered, I got that lump in my throat again and started to cry!  The poor priest did not understand, and thought that I was upset on the condition of the church; Zenon explained that I was overcome at being in the church where my father and grandmother were baptized.  Just think any later and things might have been replaced!

Plague for memory of Jozef Kisielnicki from 1775
Plague for memory of Jozef Kisielnicki from 1775

Poryte Church- Interiors
Poryte Church – Interiors
The main altar
The main altar
Baptismal Font
Baptismal font

I seen the actual baptismal font we took several photos, from there we took photos of the outside of the church and I took some dirt for the graves at home (I found out later this is actual a Polish custom to put dirt on graves from their homeland).

Poryte church - main entrance
Poryte church – the main entrance
Poryte church
Poryte church

We said our goodbye and thank the priest. We then walked back to the cemetery behind the church, there we spent time going through all the graves, looking for family names and taking photos for later use in my research.

Way to the cemetery
Way to the cemetery
Baginski gravestone
Baginski gravestone
Poryte Cemetery
Poryte cemetery

The cemeteries in Poland are a surprise to me, as the stones on most graves are very elaborate, but the general grounds of the cemetery are not kept up as in weeded.  In some places in the cemetery the weeds are waist high!  I also know that there is no record keeping of who is buried where and when, this is something that really bothers me.  Also when someone dies, you see the priest and lease the land (grave) for 20 years, and you need to renew the lease or as needed the stone is removed and a new grave is added atop of the old, there is no perpetual care as in the United States.

From there we drove to Dzierzbia, where my Father and my Grandmother (maternal) were born.  We drove through the village (about 140 people) with dairy farmers.  We found a little store and post office, it looked like a garage, went back and rang a bell, a woman came from the house to help.  Zenon explained we were looking for my family names Korytkowski, Grabowski, Lusinski, Baginski; she said she only recognized Grabowski, who were a young couple but gone away at the time.  The neighbor came to the fence and told us to wait, and he went down the road.  When he came back he told us to go see the oldest woman in the village who might be able to help.


We first went to the wrong house they took us to the correct one.  I think we caused quite a stir in the village, a visitor from America!  We were told to come in and sit down; I was smiled at and looked up and down by the 4 others in the room.  Zenon asked about the family but she did not recognize any names.  When we were back in Zenon’s car, I asked about the living arrangements there.  I was told that when the oldest (usually son) gets married the parents (if all other children are gone) move to one room with the wood burning stove; and the new family takes over the home.

I also notice Zenon wore his wedding ring on his right hand and asked why, I was told this is correct and Americans are wearing it wrong!  From there we drove to Romany, the next large church that might have records for the area.  A funeral was just ending, Zenon spoke briefly with the priest, who asked we come tomorrow at 9am.

I saw a large nest atop a pole, Zenon told me that was a stork nest and it is considered a blessing if they nest on your property.  Zenon said the storks fly to Africa for the winter, and back to northern Poland in the summer.  We decided to walk up the hill (most cemeteries are at hilltops) to check out the cemetery.  The area looked as though a tornado might have gone through recently as some trees were downed and a few very large headstones were felled.  We walked through some of the cemetery (very large cemetery) and took photos, found graves of Baginski and Grabowski, this leaves me to believe my family were in this area too.

From here we went for lunch, I had tripe (which is not fish as I had thought). “Wieprzowe flaczki” is pork tripe soup, this again was delicious with broth, pieces of pork and vegetables.

We decided to drive around went to Stare Kupinski which is where my Grandfather Alekander Lusinski was born.  This is another small village with no church and the records would be in Lomza.

Stare Kupiski
Stare Kupiski

Zenon thought I might like to visit an open-air museum of a typical Polish village from the 1800’s.  It was interesting to see how they decorated with what they had and how they lived.  It started to rain as we left and headed back to our B&B.

Skansen in Nowogrod
Skansen in Nowogrod
Inside the 19th century cottage

We had dinner across from our B&B I had the chicken, salad, potatoes and a sprite soda which is in an 8oz. glass bottle, they do not serve free water at restaurants.  After dinner we drove to Jon Zalewski to pick him up as planned and then to Marianna Korytkowska.  This was a visit I wasn’t sure how to plan, as our last visit was not so welcomed.  What a surprise, Marianna was very warm and welcoming, she had prepared tea, coffee and cakes for us.  She explained she knew nothing of our planning to visit yesterday and was not prepared to welcome us properly.

With Irena
With Irena

We took photos and she showed us some old photos (which Zenon had scan with his portable scanner).  Through Zenon I asked what she knew of her father and grandparents; she said very little and Irena was the one with all the information, unfortunately it died with her.  She did know and Jon agreed that her father and my Uncle Kazimerz was known in the area as a very good baker.  I was later told from my brother Stan, he remembered that our father sent money to Kazimerz to go to school to be a baker.  Marianna told us that her dad Kazimier and mother lived across the street and showed us where the house stood, down the street is another home still standing which was a lot like theirs, I took photos of both.

Marianna called her brother Bogdan and we all went to visit him.  He and his wife, daughter and her two children live in a 3rd floor flat.  I later learned a lot of people live in flats or apartments and do not own a home of their own.  Bogdan is very sick with cancer, his hands shake a lot too.  He was very happy to see me and showed me pictures Mom must have sent the family, he even had a baby picture of me!  He explained how much my Mother helped the family out with money and packages.  After our visit we took everyone home and again Jon invited us in for coffee, we said thank you and next time.  We headed back to our B&B for the night.

With Bogdan
With Bogdan

Mary Ann Baillargeon


  1. Mary Ann,
    My name is Chester Harubin Jr. My father b. 1920 in Boston, was born Czeslaw Boleslaw Charubin and for some reason went by the Americanized name Chester Benjamin Harubin. He died in 1976 and I only recently discovered his birth certificate with the actual name. His father was Boleslaw Charubin, born 1894 in Poryte. I have been researching the family with a bit of success and would be happy to share what I have with you. I too would like to visit Poryte some day. My family comes from the Village of Korzeniste. My email address is [email protected] Please feel free to contact me – I would love to hear about your trip. I had someone go to the Church in Poryte this week on my behalf and they found the priest to be quite abrupt and unconcerned with assisting anyone. I suppose if he were to accept all tasks we Americans ask, he would get nothing done. Oh well. If it would be a help to you, I have access to the church records for Poryte prior to 1870 (all 9 LDS films). If you are looking for someone and know approx date of event (birth, death or marriage) let me know and I will send it to you.

    Hope to hear from you – you have written a great travelogue – I bet you had a great time!

    Chuck Harubin

  2. Mary Ann, thank you so much for sharing your Poryte visit pictures. I was born and baptized in Poryte. I am too researching our family tree. Now I live in Maryland. -Denise

  3. Hello Denise, Thank you for the post. What family members names are you researching? I am looking for Grabowska (Ewa) my GG grandmother.

  4. Hi Mary Ann,
    so very interesting your journey to Poland. I see you were in search of family members Baginski, my grandmother was a Baginski from Lubin Bielsk Poland. I wonder if there is any relation.
    I have a family Crest with names going back to the 1700s. I would very much want exchange Baginski names to see if there is a family connection.
    Regards, Valerie

  5. Mary Ann,
    My father’s mother was Monika Kotowska from Poryte, she married Stanislaw Lipinski from Kubra, Przytuly. I have names of their fathers but only first names of their mothers. Stanislawa parents were Lukasz and Anastazya Lipinski /a and Moniki parents were Jozef and Agnieszka Kotowski / a.

    My mother’s parents were Konstanty Wadalowski from Koniecki, Lomza (his father was Victor)and Natalia (Ramatowska) from Grady Stare, Lomza.
    Regards, Denise

  6. Hi Mary Anne,

    I as well have ancestors from Poryte. They were Medynkt/Medyng/Medyngt, Kotowski and Wisnewski. My great grandmother was Maryanna/Marcjanna Lipinski – she was supposedly from Barźykowo, but she could have been from Poryte.

    And to respond to Denise: Jan Kotowski married Klementyna Medyng and they had 8 children. I wonder if we have ancestors in common.


  7. Wow. I came to America in the sixties and finally this year am going to visit Poryte where I was born. I am looking on the website and low and behold I come to your site visiting my village and near the end I see that my cousin Denise Tysor is responding to your trip. I’m blown away by the coincidence. [email protected]

    Thanks for your feed. I am really looking forward to seeing the place next to the church where i grew up and some of my memories of many areas. Thank you for sharing

  8. I was born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, born 1964 full name Walter Andrew Harubin , My father was born in Wyandotte Michigan born November 1, 1941. Water Andrew Harubin, any feedback is good. Love all Harubin’s .

  9. I also was born and raised in Wyandotte, Michigan and have Polish ancestors from the area around Poryte. My Grandfather Adam Litwinski was christened at the parish in Poryte along with his older sister Stanislawa. Three other siblings, Antoni, Stanislaw and Zofie were christened in Grabowo. My great grandfather Ksawery was born in Drozdowo and married Julianna Narewska in Poryte. I made a journey to Poland in 2016 with Polish Origins and visited the parishes in Poryte, Grabowo, and Drozdowo. Zen was able to find the 1888 marriage record of Ksawery and Julianna in Poryte which gave me the names of my great-great grandparents, Ksawery (also) and Marianna Kowalewska. We were unable to locate any relatives in the area but walking through the cemetery at Poryte, I saw many familiar names from my youth in Wyandotte. Rutkowski, Kozikowski, Piasecki, Zdunczyk to name just a few.

  10. Hi! Thank you so much for sharing your story. My grandmother, Wladyslawa Gryglik was also borne in Poryte, Dzierzbia and emigrated to Wyandotte, Mi. Her parents were Maciej Gryglik and Teofila Borzymowska. I’ve had such little success in researching them, I was encouraged by your journey! Thank you for sharing!

  11. My grandfather Adam was born in Dzierzbia according to his birth record at the church in Poryte. I found many of the family birth records online at the Geneteka website before I made the trip to Poland.

  12. Great read. Hoping to take a trip to see this place as well. My Klimaszewski family is from Poryte, some of which moved to Wyandotte, Michigan. I also have Lipinski, Charubin, and Boc as well in my tree.

  13. Hi my maiden name is Baginski. I grew up in Chicago. My grandfather came from the Warsaw area, I think, he was Alexander Baginski.

  14. I believe my 3x great grandparents ( Jan Halajko and Franciszka Wywas/Wyrwaszewska) were married in this church. According to records that a contact found for me, they were married in Poryte in 1852. When I searched online I found information that said this church was built in 1840. Thank you very much for posting the pictures. Even though I know it looks different now than it did when they were married (assuming that they were married in the church, since the information is from church records) it is amazing to see it.

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