In Płock we visited the Church diocese archives.
Because I had done lots of research with the LDS microfilm library, we did not stay long. We did have one strange experience. We were accidentally locked into the small archive room! Zenon jumped out the window, but not being young like him, we were hesitant to jump the 6 or 7 feet to the ground. Finally, an elderly priest came to our rescue!
We also visited the state archives. They were supposed to be closed all week. Zenon’s gentle persuasion once again came to our rescue. We were allowed in even though they were officially closed to the public! It was amazing to be given stacks of 200 year old books – way easier to read than microfilm!
Remember Jacob Cybulski’s wife, Franciszka (my g-ggrandmother)? We found her birth record which stated she was the daughter of
Franciszka Jablonska but does not give a father’s name. According to the record, my g-g-g-grandmother, Franciszka was working at the manor home in Rościszewo at the time her daughter was born.
We decided to visit the church in Rościszewo since that was the location of Franciszka’s birth. We found the church but no records and
very little evidence in the cemetery that would connect to the Jablonski family. While talking to the priest, we took this picture. The juxtaposition of past and present makes for an interesting photo.
We went back to our central location of Drobin to regroup. Zenon decided it was time to pursue some hints from the old
pictures I had copied before leaving home. We also wanted to revisit the ‘city hall’ in Drobin to deliver some candy to a very stressed out lady in the records office that had helped us.
The above photo shows Zenon on the phone in his office (car) trying to track down a possible relative of my Cybulski family while I sit absorbing the fact that I was actually sitting in POLAND. He got permission of us to stop by to visit a lady about 30 miles away.
After World War II, many families in America sent money and things to Poland to help relatives. The war had hit Poland especially hard because
they were squeezed between two very aggressive countries. Both Germany and Russia wanted to destroy Poland; and between the two of them, it was almost accomplished! The Cybulski relatives in America would try to help out by sending money and clothing. Very specific stories were handed down in my family. In order to get money past Polish customs, my grandmother would put money into various places in used clothing, such as in the hem. The letter accompanying the coat would state, I know the coat is too long for you so you will have to hem it up, which would indicate where the money was hidden. Balls of used yarn would have money rolled into the center. My grandfather even sent antibiotics
using special government seals and bags.
Upon arriving we met the lovely lady shown below. Her name is Krystyna Frymarkiewicz, and is 83 years old. When she was shown the picture of the teen, she immediately began talking and smiling. It was HER. The 65 year old picture I had at my house was of HER! Through Zenon’s translations we began exploring our family connections. Her family were some of the recipients of the packages sent from America.
She told me a story from her side that I did not know about. Evidently, someone in the family sent her a sweater in one of the packages. When she wore it to school, all the girls were jealous of her having something new to wear. Even today she fondly remembers the gift of love that made her life a little brighter. One of the first things I did on arriving home was to send Krystyna a new sweater!
The older couple she identified as her parents, Henryka Bockowska and her husband, Stanislaw Kwidzynski. Henryka’s mother was Josefa Cybulski. This would make Krystyna my mother’s third cousin.
In case you need a little help, a family chart follows!
It is hard to say goodbye
To say this trip was amazing is an understatement! It exceeded all my expectations. Without Zenon it would have been just a sightseeing trip. His knowledge and expertise made it so much more. I met the friendly people of Poland, found cousins I did not know I had, and located new clues to expand my research about my “Polish Origins.”
Thank you Zenon!