Friday, April 8, 2016


 No, I can't pronounce it either.

I have been pursuing Matuszek  genealogy at a sort of background level  for years.  Since we knew we were going to Poland, I poked a bit more.  We know Dave's grandfather emigrated from "around   Krakow", and we know his birth date and father's name, more or less.  (Ancestry research is mostly more or less; what's a letter, or a month, here and there?). And my most recent poke at turned up some descendants of what is apparently Dave's great-uncle, which in turn led to some 25-year old information about the family.  If it's the family. 

So yesterday was the day to find out what we could.  The town mentioned is Niebieszczany, a village near Sanoc in far southeastern Poland.  It's not really near Krakow, but it's nearer than any other city anybody in the US  is likely to have heard of.  Plan  A: go there and see whether we can find a church, or town hall, or something with records.

Plan A failed immediately, when we realized that there is no easy way to get there except drive.  We could get to Sanoc by bus, a six hour ride, and then maybe rent a car.  Not happening.

So, Plan B:. Get help.  Andrew Durnan,, provides driver services, and also has some experience I helping people find ancestors. He also speaks English and can serve as a translator. Since neither of us speaks Polish, this seemed good.

So yesterday Andrew made an appointment with the village priest, and drove us to Niebieszczany.  We pored over old church records and found the right birth and baptismal record, which included names and an address.  We also found records for multiple siblings, all with the same address.  Step one complete, we've got the right Matuszek.  And we know where they lived 150 years ago.  The priest tells us that there are still Matuszeks in the parish.

Step 2:. It's lunch time, so we stopped  at a small snack/beer/vodka shop, where the proprietress sells us a loaf of bread and a stick of butter and some ham and cheese, and makes them into sandwiches for us. We take them to the room next to the store, which has  two tables, many pin up girl calendars and three guys drinking beer or vodka, two young and one ancient.  Much Polish ensued, of which I caught "Matuszek" and "America" and " touristen".    The net result was that after our sandwiches the ancient gentleman piled into the car with us, and directed us to a narrow dirt road leading down to some farms and a creek.

(To be continued)

Shrine which stands where original wooden church did at Niebieszczany.  The new church is brick and across the road.

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