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Esther's Trip to Poland to Seek Her Roots

June 17, 2003, we (my brother, WALTER BUGAJSKI and his wife, CONNIE {KENDALL} BUGAJSKI, a second cousin, ROBERT GORALCZYK & I, ESTHER {BUGAJSKI} LONG) left Chicago and landed in Warsaw, Poland on the 18th.  The 19th was spent southeast of Warsaw to the village of L~oje (paternal grandfather BUGAJ) and spent a good 2 1/2 hours trying to decipher the parish books which were written in Russian.  The priest wasn't there but left my genealogy information and address for him.

These are pictures from the Village of L~oje. The Catholic Church above and below left and its sanctuary, above right.Below right is the mayor's house.

We then headed further south and just east of Kielce to a little village of Ruda (my maternal grandmother MASTERNAK).  I had a hand drawn map from my grand-uncle and had no problem finding house #15.  Masternak's lived in both house #14 and house #15.  Of the four sets of grandparents, I figure these were the poorest.  The women were dressed and wearing their babushka's just like you see in pictures.  We visited the cemetary and took pictures of every MASTERNAK grave.  My aunt had given me an address (two weeks before we left The States)  to the family of JERY and BOZENA (WIECZOREK) RUSIECKO in Sandomierz who are related to the MASTERNAK'S.   Had I known I could've had a stop scheduled in our itinerary.

These pictures are of the Masternaks their houses and meeting them at the far right.

On the 20th, we went west of Warsaw (passed many large fields of crops which once were the Communistic farms) to my maternal grandfather's (KOWALSKI) town of Bro'chow.  We found 2 homes of Kowalski's in the village.  We did not get to see the priest there because he was busy with Corpus Christi.  We managed to take pictures of the 300 year old church.  AND managed to see every village's Corpus Christi procession that day on the way to Bro'chow.



The next day we arrived in Kracow by train. We did some sightseeing the first two days there.  The third day we were on the way to find the house of my paternal grandmother (CHODUR).  I had a postal stamp on her birth certificate and went to that town hall to find out which house in the village of Bl~azko'wa was my roots.  We were sent to Brzyska town hall and were told that information was secret in Poland.  He (the equivalent of our Justice of Peace) left the room and phoned the CHODUR home to see if they would like a visit from us.  What villager wouldn't want an American visiting them?  They were out in yard waiting for our arrival!  I don't know who was the most excited to see new family members!  We spent 2 hours there and through help of interpreter added another generation or two to that side of the family. I exchanged address and phone number there.  This will be quite a challenge for she neither speaks nor writes in English and I have VERY little Polish speaking or writing skills.  I am in the process of sending photos to two Polish families and hope this is a good start to finding out more about my family roots.