We could not have asked for a better guide than Zenon. He worked very hard to help us find the information that we were seeking, translated conversations with people we had met and helped me with my Polish when needed. I am still working on two words that he taught me…I think I ALMOST have it right ! (I will know it by the time I return to Poland). He was very respectful to everyone we met and I believe that was why they were so willing to help us.
My first goal was to walk through my grandfather’s village to see where they lived, went to church, shopped and were buried. I still can’t believe I was there!
My second goal was to find out why I grew up surrounded by such a beautiful family. I realized while traveling Poland that my grandfather had grown up in just such a family and passed it down to his children. All of the people we had contact with were good and kind and caring. I felt like I was at home in the midst of strangers. We were invited into the home of a family that we were not even sure were relatives and had coffee and cake in their dining room – if nothing else had happened on the trip – that would have been enough!
My third goal was to find my great-grandparents marriage certificate. Although we worked very hard to find it, I will just have to keep looking. We are going to have the Archdiocese Archives staff do some research for us as we have “hit a wall”. Despite that, I was very satisfied with the records that we did find. As I told Zenon, anyone who does genealogy knows that information isn’t always where you think it is. I have been searching my family history for 25-30 years and only within the last 3 years have I found my grandfather’s village. The best news is, however, that Zenon found another village that I had been looking for for years!! It answered a big mystery on many of my records. We did find records on other family members and now I will have to piece all of the families together.
We stayed at the Hotel Stara Gorzelnia in Lichen Stary which was about 20 minutes from my family’s village. It was a beautiful hotel situated on a lake with large rooms, comfortable beds, a nice bathroom, friendly staff and good food. It was also within walking distance of the largest cathedral in Poland.
Good job, Anna!
Having Zenon doing all of the driving took a lot of pressure off of us. We were originally going to try to do this tour ourselves. I’m very happy we didn’t!
Our tour was perfect. On the next trip, I would try to bring more family information with me…and improve my Polish.
We will definitely be returning to search for the other side of the family. The Polish Origins tour is done very professionally and we would certainly recommended it to anyone interested in a genealogy tour.