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Felicia



Joined: 03 Jan 2011
Replies: 43
Location: Chicago, Illinois

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Post Posted: Sun May 06, 2012 3:26 pm      Post subject:
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Ute, I loved reading your story! Like many others, I too wish that I had been able to learn more about my grandparents' earlier lives, their parents, etc. When I was growing up the adults conversed in Polish which my siblings and I did not understand. They mainly spoke to each other, other than to tell us to do or not to do something or ask a question in English. Living here in the US, it can be difficult to get information from/about Poland, but this forum and the people who use it have been an immense help! Without it, I never would have gotten as far as I did with my geneological research.
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Ute
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Joined: 13 Dec 2009
Replies: 588
Location: Germany

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Post Posted: Mon May 07, 2012 12:44 am      Post subject:
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Felicia wrote:
Ute, I loved reading your story! Like many others, I too wish that I had been able to learn more about my grandparents' earlier lives, their parents, etc. When I was growing up the adults conversed in Polish which my siblings and I did not understand. They mainly spoke to each other, other than to tell us to do or not to do something or ask a question in English. Living here in the US, it can be difficult to get information from/about Poland, but this forum and the people who use it have been an immense help! Without it, I never would have gotten as far as I did with my geneological research.

Hi Felicia,
Thanks for your message. It feels good to know that people enjoy reading my story and to get such nice feedbacks. As I said in my story, I first couldn’t understand how it was possible for my father not to know anything about his father's heritage. He basically told me the same as you, that the adults spoke to each other about these things (I assume also in Polish), but not with the children, and from the responses I'm getting to my story I'm beginning to understand that this was the case in many families back then. However, if we could ask our ancestors today why they had never told us their stories, they would probably say: “No one ever asked”. We would probably find out that they thought their kids were not interested, and the sad thing is, for them and for us, they would be right. My German grandmother was willing to talk about her ancestors, but I was not willing to listen.

I wish you good luck in your further research, Felicia.
Ute


Last edited by Ute on Mon May 07, 2012 1:26 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Cheri Vanden Berg
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Joined: 16 Oct 2011
Replies: 494

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Post Posted: Mon May 07, 2012 10:37 am      Post subject: Finding Your Roots
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Interesting. The subject of parents/grandparents not talking about the past was on the Public Television program "Finding Your Roots" last night. It can be seen online: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/finding-your-roots/ Martha Stewart talks about her immigrant Polish grandparents, and Margaret Cho and Sanjay Gupta talk about their immigrant parents. It seems that painful subjects were not discussed. My sisters and I did ask my grandmother, Aniela Lenart Depa, many, many questions, and still all I had known was that she said she was from Nowy Targ (of course now we know her birthplace was Zaluczne). Now I would have more specific questions to ask, and she might have more answers for an adult rather than a child, but I wouldn't be surprised if there would be many subjects she would have rather left in the past. I've had people that have told me that they weren't allowed to ask their parents/grandparents anything about the past. I think that even for the immigrants that were generally happy with their decision to leave, it had to be painful. My grandmother left her parents and siblings in Poland, and only saw one sister again for a few years when that sister's family lived in Chicago.
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Ute
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Joined: 13 Dec 2009
Replies: 588
Location: Germany

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Post Posted: Mon May 07, 2012 12:05 pm      Post subject: Re: Finding Your Roots
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Cheri Vanden Berg wrote:
Interesting. The subject of parents/grandparents not talking about the past was on the Public Television program "Finding Your Roots" last night. It can be seen online: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/finding-your-roots/ Martha Stewart talks about her immigrant Polish grandparents, and Margaret Cho and Sanjay Gupta talk about their immigrant parents. It seems that painful subjects were not discussed. My sisters and I did ask my grandmother, Aniela Lenart Depa, many, many questions, and still all I had known was that she said she was from Nowy Targ (of course now we know her birthplace was Zaluczne). Now I would have more specific questions to ask, and she might have more answers for an adult rather than a child, but I wouldn't be surprised if there would be many subjects she would have rather left in the past. I've had people that have told me that they weren't allowed to ask their parents/grandparents anything about the past. I think that even for the immigrants that were generally happy with their decision to leave, it had to be painful. My grandmother left her parents and siblings in Poland, and only saw one sister again for a few years when that sister's family lived in Chicago.

Cheri,
I've been pondering about that subject for a long time. You may be right that for the immigrant generation it was just too painful to talk about the past, about their home country and family members being far away, that it was easier for them not to talk than to talk. We can research our ancestors for decades, but we’ll never know how they really felt inside.
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rjaremus



Joined: 12 Feb 2010
Replies: 29

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Post Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 9:15 pm      Post subject: Great story Ute
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Great story Ute. I think it's great how you describe how you slowly became interested in your ancestry realizing the relationship between who you are and how your ancestor's lived. And this has allowed you to better come to terms with your immediate family. Thanks so much for sharing.

As a person of Polish ancestry, living in the Chicago area (and currently working in a Polish neighborhood!), I realize that there several great waves of Polish migration to America. I think the main one was during the early years of the 1900's. Two of my grandparents came over from Galicia during this period. They came from rather large families and many of my grandparents siblings also migrated, although most to other cities and countries. One large group for example went to Winnipeg, Canada. I was wondering if anyone know if there is a book in English that describes this "Great Polish Migration"? If not, someone should write it!
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