If you want to travel to Poland to seek your roots and visit the towns of your ancestors, I highly recommend Zenon Znamirowski from PolishOrigins as your personal tour guide. I have just returned from a highly productive and enjoyable two-week stay in Poland with Zenon as my driver/translator/genealogist.
You do not ever want to drive in Poland. I do not care whether you know Polish and can drive in the big city and/or the countryside in the US, but Poland is different. Save yourself from having a migraine or an accident and hire this driver/translator. It’s worth every penny, and you get to go where and when you want to go.
Zenon is fluent in English and Polish, making for easy conversation and streamlining access to the information I was seeking. He asks what you want to accomplish and how he can make that happen. He listens and offers suggestions in order that you get what you want from your trip. He has a master’s degree in Economics, and we had a great time discussing the ideas of Thomas Friedman’s book, The World is Flat, as we made a grand 2000+km circle around Poland.
(…)We were off to Opole to check the archives on the Philipsek side of the family. We were going through the Mechnica church records when Zenon noticed that town sponsors for the Philipsek baptisms came from Twardawa. (By the way, “Philipsek” is usually spelled “Phillipczyk” and is pronounced “Feel LEAP chick”). I had been unable in my research in the USA to verify the marriage of August Phillipczyk and Clara Bannert and the birth of their first two children, John and Anastasia, in Mechnica. Zenon got the microfilm for Twardawa and found August and Clara’s wedding date and the birth of some children, all of which may not be known at this time. Also listed were the names of August and Clara’s parents. (This is what happens when you have a driver/translator who is also genealogist!) (…).
Louis D. Welna
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