At the Polish American Club of Sacramento, Inc. we are proud to have a very active genealogy group that explores topics surrounding genealogy and offers assistance to help with your family research. We have people in our group who are beginners in family research to those with over 30 years of experience.
With the advance in on-line resources and the popularity of DNA testing, it is now much easier to learn about our ancestors lives and explore our roots. There are literally millions of records that can be accessed through your home computer and the internet. At our meetings we discuss how to best use these resources.
The Genealogy Group holds meetings on the 4th Thursday of each month from 2 - 4 pm at the Polish American Community Hall. At our meeting we exchange ideas, family histories, and research techniques. We learn about our families and our heritage! We assist each other with ideas on how to overcome roadblocks to our genealogy research.
If you have ever had questions like these:
We can help you find the answers. We invite you to join our group and get involved! Check the calendar on the home page for dates as well as our Facebook page event calendar.
Genealogy research led Phyllis Miller to travel the countryside of Poland in search of long-lost relatives and information regarding her family. Phyllis and her daughter, Alysse, spent two weeks exploring the southeastern portion of the country. The duo didn’t know what to expect, but the search led to serendipitous moments and immediate connections with new family.
Certainly, there were some instances where records were destroyed, but it is important to realize that Parish Priests were required to create three copies of Birth, Marriage and Death Records for every year they recorded their records. Generally, one set of records stayed with the Parish, one set of records were sent to the Archbishop’s files and yet another were set to the Civil Records office. Generally, it is possible to find records for each and all three sources!
Historians and Genealogists agree that although it is possible that this may have happened, it is unlikely that it happened to a great extent. It is much more likely that there were spelling errors from the ship manifests that were copied into the records with spelling inconsistencies. In my own case, Romanowski was listed as Romanowsky and Konaszczuk was listed in many records as Kunaszczuk. Early US Records (Such as 1910 Census Records) were notorious for having name misspellings. Sometimes proud Polish names such as Mikolai became “Michael” or Stanislawa became “Sally.” Often many names were changed later by our ancestors to better fit into the Anglicized American Culture.
There are many roads that can be taken in exploring your family history. Fortunately, many, many online sources are free! There are certainly great tools that will speed your discovery that have costs. I have learned that many professional genealogists are happy to help give you suggestions on where to look to get you over initial road blocks. Most are happy to “teach you how to fish” rather than “fish for you.” Of course, many will perform “full service” which can be pricy, however you are likely to make progress very quickly as they have special training and understanding of the records that may take you years to figure out!
Although this can be a barrier, fortunately there are many on-line resources to help with this potential obstacle. One great on-line translator is Google Translate. I found that knowing what my ancestor’s names look like in 19th Century Cyrillic Russian (Hopefully the Priest had good penmanship!) was a great help! I was able to find hundreds of records with the right name and then I asked for some help with translating the rest!
This is where history and genealogy connect. It is important to remember that Poland was partitioned into three separate pieces from 1795 until 1918. As a country, Poland did not exist politically. These are within the times where we all are interested in conducting research. Although your ancestors were culturally Polish, their country of origin is most often listed as something other than Poland. It is also important to remember that continually during history the borders of Poland Changed. After 1945 for instance, many traditional Polish cities and Villages in the East (Lwów in Polish, Lemberg in German and L’viv in Ukrainian are now part of the Ukraine. In Western Poland, Cities such as Wroclaw (Breslau in German) were part of Prussia and later Germany. Once we are able to sort this out, it is obviously very helpful for our journey! Lithuania, Belarus and the Ukraine also did not exist during those times as well.