I have tried for many years to learn more about my Polish ancestors. I have scoured the Internet; googled everything I could think of; pored through the Ellis Island website, etc. I have found lots of public records for both maternal and paternal sides of the family. In those respects I have considered myself lucky.
Back in 2001, when my dad passed away, I came into possession of many old photos taken from the early 1900s. I held each of them reverently because I was afraid they would crack or somehow get ruined. Among the photos was one taken of my great-grandfather (my paternal grandmother’s father) when he visited the U.S. All I knew about him was his surname. Because of distance between me and my dad’s remaining siblings (not physical distance), I felt I had reached a dead end.
I turned to an on-line website called ancestry.com and posted a call looking for information regarding my grandmother. For years there was nothing forthcoming. Until this past weekend.
Almost ten years to the day of my initializing my search, I received an email from a woman in Poland whose father-in-law is my grandmother’s nephew. We exchanged information and I sent a copy of my great-granddad’s photo. He was recognized immediately! I now have a name to go with the photo, and lots more information on that side of the family.
Further exploration via the Internet has shown me the towns where my new relatives reside, where my grandmother grew up, and where my own dad spent some time as a young child (grandmom took him to visit Poland when he was 2).
I can’t explain the feeling of belonging I have. With both my parents now in heaven and no siblings of my own, this connection to people who share knowledge of my family gives me a connection I didn’t know was missing. I count myself as blessed. Looking forward to learning more as time goes on.