This is a story by Jennifer Shoer aka Scrappy Gen, who runs genealogy services as Reconnecting Relatives, LLC, based in the US. This is originally published on Jennifer’s blog: The Scrappy Genealogist. Jennifer travelled with PolishOrigins in September 2016.
Jennifer is another professional genealogist we assisted in genealogy tour in Poland. A year before, Mike Mierzwa (and his wife) traveled with us and they plan to return this year for even longer trip.
Here are some selected parts from Jennifer’s blog:
Buckle your seatbelts! We are traveling at the speed of my parents. Oh, did you think that speed might be slow? Not with my parents. They may physically move at a slower pace than me, but they travel with the purpose and intensity of a rocket trip to Mars.
We spent two weeks in Poland and Germany with a small day trip to Austria. During that time, we visited eight cities and numerous villages; researched our family in archives in Płock and Włocławek (Poland); spent time with six new (to me) cousins (ages 8 months to 95 years); crawled through overgrown cemeteries and the locations of long gone villages; and even did some sightseeing.
Target: Wisła river
I hoped to stay near the Wisła River. My ancestors lived in various small towns along the river between Włocławek and Płock. I wanted to feel what it felt like to be there.
Most of these ancestral towns, are part of Powiat Włocławski in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship. These towns belonged to the Nowa Wieś Lutheran parish. Nowa Wieś is just south of the border of Powiat Włocławsk in Powiat Płocki in the Masovian Voivodeship. When it was active the Nowa Wieś Lutheran parish encompassed 36 towns and villages.
Hiring a Genealogy Tour Guide
I do not speak Polish. I can usually recognize names/surnames in Polish handwriting in genealogical records, but speaking, writing or even sounding out Polish is beyond my capability. What does a good genealogist do when she does not have a needed skill to complete a project (and I didn’t have enough time/years to learn Polish)? Just like you, we hire someone.
PolishOrigins was extremely flexible with our planning. September is their busiest season, but Zbigniew fit us between a big trip to Belarus and his next client. While with us, he gave us his full attention and energy to our family. It was super hectic as we had only two full days to accomplish so much, but he kept us on task and going forward. Sometimes he even let us have a coffee break. Zbigniew is a typical genealogist. Finding the records and the places and the people are more important than sleeping or eating. Although, sometimes I like to eat. And sleep. But he and my parents (Remember those rocket to Mars travelers’) kept telling me that I would have time on the train to sleep and eat. And I did.