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Shellie
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Joined: 18 Feb 2009
Replies: 967
Location: Atlanta, GA

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Post Posted: Sun May 13, 2012 11:00 pm      Post subject: Take these with you to Poland!
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Recently, my cousin Bonnie and I gave some travel tips to someone who was planning a trip to their ancestral village. We thought we'd start this thread to share our suggestions and hear from others about what items they would take.

Here are some of our suggestions (in no particular order):

1. Sketch out your family tree before you go to Poland. This will be a really big help for you when you try to explain your family to people in the villages.

2. Make copies old letters and and take them with you. Bonnie took an old letter from 1980 and when she showed it to someone in the village, they recognized who wrote it and were much nicer and more helpful to her.

3. Make copies of old photos too. I showed old photos from Poland and the USA to my cousins and they recognized people in the photos. I gave my copies to new-found cousins and they were thrilled.

4. Bonnie suggests that you use ivona and hear how your family names are said in polish. Here is the link: http://www.ivona.com/en/

5. Write down as many questions as you can think of in a list and try to use google translator to create a translation that you can paste right under each question. When you are in a village and can’t find anyone who speaks English, you can point to the question on paper.

6. If you don’t know anyone who speaks English when you visit the village – try visiting the school. The children often learn English in their curriculum and you will be sure to find someone who can communicate with you.

7. Bonnie also said that if she could go back to Poland she would stand outside the church after mass with a sign saying "CZEPIEL ZMUDA I am from Chicago and want to meet my family".

8. Take a digital voice recorder – digital records don’t need cassette tapes and can record hundreds of hours. I took one and kept it running almost the whole time I was in the village. It was so much easier than writing notes and you can enjoy the tape later when you get home (you forget so many little things by the time you get home!).

9. Take your digital camera when you visit the church in case the priest allows you to photograph your family records. If the priest allows you to take a photo, try to take the photo of the entire page, not just the entry of your ancestor. Many times you get back and examine in the image and find that there is another relative on the same page.

10. if you have video, use this and walk through the village and the cemetery, instead of using your camera to take individual photos of headstones. You can cover much more territory that way and later if you learn about more family relations, the odds will be higher that you caught their headstone on video. Plus, it may be a great help to someone else down the road who has ancestors from your village.


These are just a few that we thought of. We'd like to hear from others......what else do you recommend for a trip to an ancestral village?


Last edited by Shellie on Fri Aug 24, 2012 7:54 am; edited 1 time in total
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Henryk
PO Top Contributor


Joined: 05 Dec 2008
Replies: 264
Location: London ON, Canada

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Post Posted: Mon May 14, 2012 3:24 pm      Post subject: Re: Take these with you to Poland!
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Shellie wrote:
1. Sketch out your family tree before you go to Poland. This will be a really big help for you when you try to explain your family to people in the villages.

Very good suggestions! On #1:
Make copies of the tree to leave with relatives. Encourage relatives to correct and add to the tree. Be prepared to show the exact relationship of yourself with the relatives looking at the tree. Children take a particular interest.
Another. Make copies of the topographical maps of places to visit. Annotate it with where relatives live.
Another. Record relatives' phone numbers, home addresses and email addresses. Provide your own.
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