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JGwizdowski
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Joined: 26 Feb 2016
Replies: 124
Location: United States

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Post Posted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 2:14 pm      Post subject: Rebuilding a lost family history
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I have found reading the experiences of others in this post fascinating. All have a inexplicable draw to learn about their ancestors who came before and who brought us to where we are today. We feel they are with us today, and the tag line I place in my posts expresses a sentiment that I think many of us share.

My father, Joseph Gwizdowski died when I was just six years old. And it seemed that the extended family fractured and went their separate ways in the ensuing years. By the time I turned 18 my grandmother Dudczak, the only grandparent I had known, had died and took all the family history with her. She had spoken such broken English, and I had never learned Polish, that communicating with her was very difficult. My one meaningful conversation I still recall is when she told me how she had left Poland as a very young girl, travelling alone so that she could be with my grandfather. I remember when she told me that, she related it with a strong sense of pride.

It wasn't until 25 years ago that my father-in-law, who was researching his family genealogy, suggested that I might try to see if I could find any information on my Polish ancestors. He even looked up my Gwizdowski name on some U.S. Census indexes and I became hooked! This was well before any of this information was on the internet.

During the early years of my research I spent countless hours at the National Archives in D.C. I was working across the river in Arlington and would ride the train over in the evening, pouring over microfilm rolls. Eventually, I had filled in most of the blanks about my grandparents...discovering most everything about their lives from the time they stepped on to the ship in Hamburg to sail to America. But discovering my ancestors in Poland was elusive, and I was nearly resigned to never finding anything more.

It wasn't until I discovered the Polish Origins site and the invaluable assistance and encouragement from the extraordinary people here that the figurative floodgates opened. In a relatively short period of time I have extended my ancestral tree back, in some cases, to the late 1700's! I know their names and have gained a sense of what their lives were like. Why is this so important to me?

It gives my life a real sense of continuity, that we are all one long chain that I can now give to my children and my grandchildren. And I can't help but imagine that, in resurrecting the memory of those who have come before, they are awakened from their sleep to smile once more and stand among us.

Thank you, people of Polish Origins!

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adamsam



Joined: 31 Mar 2014
Replies: 43

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Post Posted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:01 pm      Post subject: Re: Rebuilding a lost family history
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JGwizdowski wrote:
I have found reading the experiences of others in this post fascinating. All have a inexplicable draw to learn about their ancestors who came before and who brought us to where we are today. We feel they are with us today, and the tag line I place in my posts expresses a sentiment that I think many of us share.

My father, Joseph Gwizdowski died when I was just six years old. And it seemed that the extended family fractured and went their separate ways in the ensuing years. By the time I turned 18 my grandmother Dudczak, the only grandparent I had known, had died and took all the family history with her. She had spoken such broken English, and I had never learned Polish, that communicating with her was very difficult. My one meaningful conversation I still recall is when she told me how she had left Poland as a very young girl, travelling alone so that she could be with my grandfather. I remember when she told me that, she related it with a strong sense of pride.

It wasn't until 25 years ago that my father-in-law, who was researching his family genealogy, suggested that I might try to see if I could find any information on my Polish ancestors. He even looked up my Gwizdowski name on some U.S. Census indexes and I became hooked! This was well before any of this information was on the internet.

During the early years of my research I spent countless hours at the National Archives in D.C. I was working across the river in Arlington and would ride the train over in the evening, pouring over microfilm rolls. Eventually, I had filled in most of the blanks about my grandparents...discovering most everything about their lives from the time they stepped on to the ship in Hamburg to sail to America. But discovering my ancestors in Poland was elusive, and I was nearly resigned to never finding anything more.

It wasn't until I discovered the Polish Origins site and the invaluable assistance and encouragement from the extraordinary people here that the figurative floodgates opened. In a relatively short period of time I have extended my ancestral tree back, in some cases, to the late 1700's! I know their names and have gained a sense of what their lives were like. Why is this so important to me?

It gives my life a real sense of continuity, that we are all one long chain that I can now give to my children and my grandchildren. And I can't help but imagine that, in resurrecting the memory of those who have come before, they are awakened from their sleep to smile once more and stand among us.

Thank you, people of Polish Origins!



I could not have said it better. You are right you just get "hooked" and the more you find, the more you want. I made a genealogy trip to Poland with Polish Origins in 2015 and discovered many living relatives, close relatives regarding the family tree. I have kept in contact with most and am returning with 11"American relatives to meet and greet our extended Polish family. I have created 2 books for our family, one is nothing but documents I have collected over the years, both here in the States and in Poland, births, deaths, marriages, all with translations, Ellis Island records, etc., the other is an extensive family tree containing names, dates, and the like going back to 1740 in Poland and continues to grow each day. Sorry for my soap box, but I am passionate about the family genealogy

Adam Samelko
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