PolishOrigins

Testimonials

These testimonials have been written and shared with us by our Tours’ and Genealogy Services’ clients. We have collected them in this place after more than a decade of providing genealogical, historical, cultural tours and genealogy services. There are a few more of them on our Google, Facebook  or TripAdvisor profiles.

You can also check our the complete offer of PolishOrigins’ tours, blogs written by our guests or photos from our tours to understand even better what we do and how people react to it.

 


Thomas (Genealogy Services and Genealogy Tour)

September 2022

I first got in contact with PolishOrigins in 2020 to seek some information on where one of my grandparents village was located. Long story short I develop a relationship with PolishOrigins and because of Covid all travel stopped so I had them research the church records from the four villages my grandparents were born. At that time all I knew from the Ellis Island records from the early 1900s my grandparents names, ages they were when they came to America and the villages they were from. PolishOrigins was able to find who my ancestors were from far back to the late 1700s. The information they found was just amazing. Birth dates, how many children were born, marriage dates, etc. This year my wife and I visited the villages using PolishOrigins as our tour guide. The tour was unreal we got to see the villages and surrounding villages, learn the local history and enjoy the Polish culture. I would strongly recommend using this genealogy tour company.


Vivian (Genealogy Services and Genealogy Virtual Tour)

August 2022

You have helped us so much with what has been provided and we understand that this is probably as far as we can go – but it is so much farther than we imagined! My 87 year old father watches the video every day and cries tears of happiness to see where his father and mother and grandparents lived. He never thought that he would know any details of their lives or of his background.
We are very grateful and understand that we have as much as we can have.
THANK YOU and everyone at PolishOrigins!!

Caitlin (Genealogy Tour)

July 2022

My guide was amazing through and through. I fully appreciate him tolerating our minor tardiness in getting ready (my wife and her friend are from Mexico and it’s a cultural thing for them to take their time, ha). He was such a great driver, patient guide as I explained things to my wife and friend in Spanish, and all in all super nice. We all learned a lot from him and I’m very thankful for this. The fact that we also drove a bit out of Zamosc just to pick up the folk traditional attire made a really big difference for me.

The genealogy research satisfied my goals and also taught me a lot of new things; I feel that I can go back to the archives myself and carry out additional research, if needed. Additionally, I know that meeting a relative of mine (on the Gil side of the family) was part of the itinerary – which was enjoyable and we’re still in touch with each other – but the fact that we stumbled across some relatively-close family members is something I will always remember, and I’m very very thankful for this.

We were very well-informed of the tour and my wife – who worked in tourism a while ago – was very impressed with the amount of information provided beforehand. We’d love to recommend this service to anyone else that may be interested.


Steve and family (2nd tour) (Genealogy Tour, Family Reunion)

July 2022

“I genuinely cannot think of anything negative to say about our trip. Lucjan and Jakub were both kind, knowledgeable, and helpful. They were a great resource – the trip would not have been possible without their knowledge and translation – but they were also fun to have on the trip. They were nice people and fit right in!”

“Lucjan was great!! He was always available for questions, solving issues, and keeping in touch with other guides, restaurants, priests and family with needed information (meal requests, etc.) and informing them if we were not on schedule. He took care of everything for us. And was constantly counting to 8 (or 12 once the rest of the girls joined our tour) to make sure that everyone was there. Also took great pictures which I hope we will be able to access from him. He was great with the 9 year olds as well as the 93 year old! And also was great in translating the many times we needed him to —– restaurants, family dinner party, with priests, etc. So much that would not have happened if it weren’t for him! Loved how he didn’t hesitate to knock on someone’s door to try to locate some family links! And contacting the parish priests so that we could go in to visit family churches. We would have never been invited by Father Adam to the Mass/Corpus Christi procession (I am sure a hightlight for Mom!) if it weren’t for him. Lucjan was the best!”

“Both Lucjan and Kuba were AMAZING. It was nice, and also funny, that after I had accidentally left my medicine behind at one of our stops, Lucjan then checked with me about my medicine every time I got on the bus again!”

“I really loved this trip and getting to take my young daughter on it! The most amazing parts (like being honored to be on the alter during mass in a church so important to my grandma and her ancestors!) could not have happened without Lucjan.”

“The PolishOrigins tour was excellent. Our guide Lucjan Cichocki did a great job. He knew his job and his field. He kept us together and on time. He jumped in to address and solve problems. He established a good rapport with our family and was more a friend then a guide.”

“The tour was amazing and Polish Origins and our guides did a fantastic job.”

“Lucjan was beyond amazing in his attentiveness to managing not only our very packed tour schedule, but his attentiveness to each of us on a very personal level. As two examples, he often shared the “hotspot” on his personal cellphone so we could access the internet on the bus, and he always checked whether my mother wanted her walker or her cane at any given location. He even helped us with our luggage. Lucjan and our driver Kuba became honorary members of our family because they really just fit in with us.”

 

“The sights we saw were the perfect mix of Polish and personal history. The familial locations they discovered were a treasure trove; I can finally start to picture what their life was like and imagine how we got from there to here. “

“We had already done extensive prior genealogical work before the trip, including in a scouting trip with PolishOrigins two years earlier. So we already knew a lot in advance. Yet, to our amazement, with the help of PolishOrigins, so MANY more living relatives were found that we were able to have a remarkable and truly memorable family reunion in one town with 42 relatives, most whom we never had known from earlier research! Our only disappointment was that we could not find any living relatives on my mother’s side (would have been nice because she was with us, but this also was difficult because emigration of her grandparents to America happened too far back in time) – and yet, she still had extremely meaningful and memorable experiences visiting the towns and churches of her ancestors.”

“We had a very detailed schedule by the time we left for Poland. Magdalena knows that as the family lead for our group, I was very detailed focused, perhaps annoyingly so! I am appreciative that she put up with my steady stream of questions.”

“IT WAS A GREAT TRIP!! I WOULD DEFINITELY RECOMMEND POLISH ORIGINS TO OTHERS, AND WOULD USE THEM AGAIN SHOULD I GET THE OPPORTUNITY TO TRAVEL TO POLAND AGAIN 🙂 “

“I really loved this trip and getting to take my young daughter on it! The most amazing parts (like being honored to be on the alter during mass in a church so important to my grandma and her ancestors!) could not have happened without Lucjan. It was amazing to see both our personal history and the history of the country as a whole. I knew very little about Polish history before this trip. I still have a lot to learn, but I got a great jump start. The guides they chose for our walking tour of places like Warsaw and Gdansk were so knowledgeable and personable. Everything was amazing! Thanks so much for putting this together and putting up with me and my 9 year old. 🙂 ”

“This big, 12-person family trip, which I had been planning with PolishOrigins for several years (due to delays from Covid), could not have come off any better. It far exceeded my hopes in being fun and memorable for every member of our group, from 9 year old children to my 93 year old mother. Each restaurant was special and every city tour guide was knowledgeable and personable – clearly the restaurants and guides had been carefully vetted in advance. The driver and main guide selected for our tour could not have been better matched in personality to that of our family, and ensured the success of the trip. We consider them both honorary members of our family!

There were a number of “special touches” that PolishOrigins pulled off. It was fun to eat lunches inside Malbork Castle and inside the Wieliczka Salt Mine. Sanok Ethnographic Park was a real treat, and timed well in our trip — the morning of the day we were going to see the same kind of country/peasant cottage where my grandfather was born and lived. Another nice touch was our lunch in Sopot, where we had gotten a special outside table looking out over the boardwalk and environs. Our tour organizers also made sure we had entry into several family churches at times they would normally be closed, and got us entry into the Zabinski vlla in the Warsaw Zoo. And the piece de resistance was helping to arrange an unexpectedly huge (50 person!) family reunion in one town, which occurred right after a mass in the intention of our ancestors and living family members, a large number who were in attendance at the mass.

We also appreciated the flexibility given to us so that some of our group (e.g., the children) could split off a few times to do something more interesting for them.

I knew going into the trip that we had a very heavy schedule packed with many things we wanted to do, and I was sure we would need to sacrifice some of them because I anticipated problems keeping to the tight program; to my amazement, we did everything on our schedule! [We did not get to see Bałucianka, but we were only blocked from doing that when a few miles away because of a technical issue with the size of our bus and the passability of the road.] And while at first it was thought that we might have some additional inconveniences given that our trip overlapped with the many day Corpus Christi celebrations, in the end this became one of the highlights of our trip, and we greatly enjoyed participating in Corpus Christi events throughout our trip. One of the most touching moments was my mother getting to participate in the Corpus Christi procession and to see the little girls throwing the flowers in the procession, because it brought back her own memories of doing that when she was a little girl.

My 93 year old mother said: “I was moved to tears so many times. I cannot imagine how the trip could have been any better or more special”. For the rest of us on the trip, that is the most significant sign of your success!”


Steve (1st tour) (Genealogy Tour)

July 2022

Lucjan was amazing! Patient and deeply knowledgeable, he was able to guide us through the family searches in both the civil and church archives, in checking cemeteries, and in talking to parish priests in many towns. With his vast experience, he was often able to “predict” when a record should exist (e.g., the birth of a previously unknown child) before we found it (or after I had accidentally missed it while looking through the books). Lucjan was also fearless in pursuing any and all leads, including knocking on strangers’ doors to ask questions and in search of living relatives. His kind and friendly nature I’m sure opened many doors, to the point where we were even welcomed into strangers homes for fun and useful discussions. By his leadership, we were able to track my family tree of my ancestors from former Galicia (3/4 of my family tree) all of the way back to the 1700s in most cases, to find and meet two living second cousins (and other, more distant living relatives), and to not only locate the homesites of several of my ancestors, but the still-standing peasant house where my grandfather was born and grew up before emigrating to America in 1913! I can’t wait to work with PolishOrigins on the last 1/4 of my family tree in Wielkopolska!

I never would have believed it would be possible to trace my lineage so far back and so completely in so short a time (literally five days). Nor was I prepared for how interesting, satisfying, exhilarating, and deeply moving it was to go through the actual church archives page by page looking for records of my family, but, in so doing, gaining deep insights into the lives of these little villages — what families were there and intermarrying, when there were good years and bad years (e.g., due to disease or famine), what families were close with one another (e.g., serving as godparents), and how very limited were the distance my ancestors moved around for centuries. Going through the archives, visiting cemeteries to get confirming evidence and dates, looking at the homesites of my ancestors identified through our research in near real time, “cold-calling” at people’s doors to ask questions in search of living relatives and homesites, and then finding and meeting several actual living relatives?! Wow!! PolishOrigins gave me truly the most memorable and meaningful travel experience I’ve ever had and I cannot recommend them highly enough. Sure, you could do some of this ancestral investigating using on-line records, or pay someone to do all of this work for you remotely, but it was so much more fun to do this genealogical research in person and get to see the villages and locations within a day of finding them in records. I am so excited that PolishOrigins is now planning a new trip for 14 members of my family (my siblings, their children, grandchildren, and my 91 year old mother and 84 year old uncle), where we will visit these villages and other significant places in Poland. We all can’t wait!!

All of the hotels were very nice and even quite memorable (e.g., Polanka Palace, Hotel Sarmata). Planned meals were also great!

Aga Pawlus did a wonderful job working with us and preparing the tour. Everything was carefully planned, despite a very tight, one-week schedule. It was so nice to be able to meet her at the end of the tour.

My second cousin Waclaw and I standing in front of the house that we found where my grandfather was born and lived.

 


Terry (Genealogy Tour)

July 2022

Thanks for going the extra mile. He (the guide) did much more than we expected. We were really thankful for his help visiting a Koberstien family in Posnan which I am sure went beyond the tour schedule. The drone video will be a treasure for us and our family. His great help in talking to locals in Lidsbard/Brynsk helped us realise our family is still present in the area. Each area we visited was awesome with archive visits, library visits etc.

We got more than we ever expected. So many goals were realized. Genealogy is never really done, but we are so much closer.

The hotels were awesome, thanks for providing a wonderful place to restore after each active day.

The transportation was great, with lots of local knowledge of how to get around.

We were very well informed and I have to thank you for keeping my hoped for tour in mind even after it got postphoned due to the CoVid 19 pandemic. It was worth the wait.

Keep up the great work.

William (Genealogy Services)

July 2022

Everything from start to finish was great and honestly wish I would have found PolishOrigins sooner in my search. I spent money and wasted time with other people/organizations before finding Aleksander at PolishOrigins and couldn’t have been happier. Communication was great, he laid everything that he was thinking out and went over strategies before getting the Okay from me. He went above and beyond and found more information than I ever expected and also pieced it together to help me understand it. He also told me when we were going too far and that it might be not worth it. I respect that because he could have just taken my money but he didn’t, he did the right thing and I respect him for that. I plan on using PolishOrigins again to take a deeper look at a couple items in the near future.


Michael (Genealogy Tour)

June 2022

All the guides were wonderful, especially Zbigniew who was my genealogy guide.  He is extremely knowledgeable and did an outstanding job.

(Organization) All my questions were answered very quickly and there weren’t any surprises.

Wonderful experience.  Keep up the good work.

See also Michael’s comment on the blog: https://polishorigins.com/blog/first-genealogy-tours-in-2022/#comment-962 


Nancy (Genealogy Tour)

June 2022

Zbigniew is very focused on helping the client access records and the villages of interest. His willingness to talk with anyone to further the cause for more information is impressive. He quickly realized I was not interested in markets or possible shopping, this trip was all about learning about the region, both the past and the present. The days were long, but I would not have it any other way. I feel like I got good value for my money on this excursion.

I appreciated very much the organization and communication associated with my trip. I am certainly not a world traveler, so having the details so clearly described made me feel very comfortable making this trip on my own.


Matthew (Genealogy Tour)

May 2022

Kinga was our guide for our Polish tour and did an amazing job. She was persistent in trying to contact the priests to access the records and didn’t give up. She even reached out to locals with my ancestors’ names to try and find connections, putting us in touch with distant relatives that we will keep in touch with going forward. She helped us to understand some Polish history and customs, and answered all of our questions. We will be keeping in touch with her, and may even reconnect if we are able to visit Poland again soon! She was truly a delight!

Daniel was very helpful and knowledgeable about the history and culture of the areas we were going. We could tell he is very passionate about his work. He was very persistent in trying to find my ancestral connections to the area and in the end, it proved very successful. We had a great time with him and would not hesitate to use him again in the future.

For me, I feel my goals have been achieved. I was able to see my ancestral homelands in Lithuania, and even have a record of my great-great grandfather’s birth in Miroslavas parish. Visiting the church, and also the tiny village of Zizenai helped me to be able to feel how life would have been like for them. Meeting distant relatives was the icing on the cake, and a great experience!

I feel we were very well-informed. We had a set schedule and itinerary and Daniel helped explain what the best course of action would be for having success in finding records.


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