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Joined: 27 May 2012
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Post Posted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 10:52 am      Post subject: Thanks to PO I have reconnected with family in Poland!
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Hello to everyone at Polish Origins,

I just now had the time to write and tell you all about a recent family reunion. My uncle Stanley Zolnierzak was a Roman Catholic priest. Our family remembers that he used to keep in contact with members of the Zolnierzak family living in Poland. For reasons unknown to me (I was a child at the time), other family members never took interest in our Polish relatives. When my uncle Stanley died, all the information about our Polish relatives died with him.

Then something really amazing happened. On December 29, 2015, I received an email through Polish Origins from a young man in Poland asking about an ancestor of mine, Aleksander Zolnierzak, who was my grandfather's brother. It turns out that this young man, Tomasz, found a birth record for Aleksander that I had submitted to one of the forums for translation. After a couple of emails back and forth sharing information, we confirmed that we are indeed cousins!

Furthermore, this is the same family that my uncle Stanley used to keep in contact with and visited on at least once occasion. What is even more fantastic, is that Tomasz's grandmother, the daughter of Aleksander Zolnierzak is still living!! So, I had the great honor and opportunity to introduce my 94 year old mother and my 99 year old aunt to their 89 year old first cousin in Poland and the rest of ourZolnierzak family!! (the introductions were done through pictures and written emails).

We are now getting to know each other through emails, sharing pictures, stories, and family trees. We are planning to use FaceTime or Skype to have face to face contact in the near future. Fortunately for me, Tomasz has very good skill in speaking and writing English.

THANK YOU POLISH ORIGINS! If it wasn't for Elzbieta, Ryszard, Gilberto, and this incredible community it would not have happened. Our families are so very happy to have found each other after all these years.

Warm regards to you all,
Cynthia McDonald Very Happy
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Cheri Vanden Berg
PO Top Contributor & Patron

Joined: 16 Oct 2011
Replies: 496

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Post Posted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 1:28 pm      Post subject:
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Thanks for sharing your story, I'm so happy for your family. I think that more people could connect with relatives, or even get help from other members, if they gave more information in a forum. Sometimes I check out new members, and they are asking for help in their profile. I just want them to know that they would get a bigger audience if they used the forums instead. Also, sometimes people who do use a forum will give the name of their ancestors, and maybe where they were from in Poland if they know it, but it would better for people who want to advise them to know where they've already looked.
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Elzbieta Porteneuve
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Joined: 09 Nov 2012
Replies: 3098
Location: Paris, France

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Post Posted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 2:36 pm      Post subject:
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Fantastic story, I love so much to imagine three old ladies and their memories.

Today Internet and technologies permit to keep visual and voice contact, skype, or facetime, or sharing pictures - you can see each other, and enjoy everyday life, the most important, and that changes your life.

Do you remember how difficult communications were fifty something years ago? How many obstacles? How costly was long distance telephone 40 years ago? The cold war, Yalta deal, Est and West, ordinary letters censored, and taking very long time to get through. Remember telegrams? Compare it with skype!

Thank you for sharing!
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PolishOrigins Team Leader

Joined: 28 Apr 2007
Replies: 1480
Location: Poland

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Post Posted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 2:37 am      Post subject:
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This is wonderful story Exclamation I love reading and experiencing such moments. During our family trips as well as in website registrations we observe growing interest in family history among younger Polish people. They very often speak at least some English and while searching through Internet they found profile pages like the one of Cynthia: http://polishorigins.com/mcdonald0517 and contact its author.

It is incredible to see how the world has changed in terms of communication and connections we can make during the last 10-20 years. As Elzbieta writes the iron curtain, costly phone conversations (in Poland very few people even had one), letters censored or even lost. And now we have internet not only at our home computers but almost everwhere we go on our smartphones and other devices Exclamation

Within the coming weeks we will introduce a new version of our website to catch up with all the technology advancements which has appeared since this website first created. But don't worry, the forum will remain basically the same from your point of view. We will do some modification in its structure and in graphic layout.

I agree with Cheri that forum has greater audience than the Surnames and Places databases and profiles: http://polishorigins.com/surnames/ , http://polishorigins.com/places/ . Maybe thanks to the change in organization of the new website it will get greater audience.

I hope in the future we will all read about and experience more and more such long lost family reunion stories Exclamation

I would love to hear continuation of the story after your skype reunion, if you only were willing to share Smile .
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