Touring Poland by Hired Car, finding Relatives

My wife and I just got back from a trip to Vienna, Prague and Krakow. What a FANTASTIC TRIP! One of the highlights was a day trip from Krakow to Wadowice, the hometown of Pope John Paul II and of my maternal grandfather. We hired Andrew Durman for the day and it turned into one of our most outstanding experiences in years of international travel. Andrew is far more than a Krakow-based driver who speaks English (he lived in the US for 5 years), which is what I sought. He is truly a genealogical detective! And he covers a broad territory, not just the Krakow area!

Armed with the few facts that I could provide him with a few weeks before my arrival, Andrew called around and found several likely relatives, perhaps distant, of my grandfather. He picked us up at the train station early in the morning last Monday, drove us to Wadowice. As we drove, he gave us a fascinating briefing on Krakow and southern Poland, including the beautiful countryside that we drove through. He took us to meet each of the possible relatives, interpreting at each stop. The people seemed likely to be related, but had never met my grandfather, even though he and my grandmother had traveled back to Wadowice numerous times back in the 60s. It seemed we were running into dead-ends. Andrew persisted, politely. We were referred to another possible relative, a cousin of those he had originally found. She purportedly had met relatives from the US and had pictures of them. After an awesome lunch of local dishes at a restaurant (Bar Pod Kluczem) owned by one of my possible distant cousins, we went to meet the last possible link. She was a gracious woman who welcomed us into her home. Lo and behold, she walks in from another room with a scrapbook and a stack of loose photos. On the very top are two portraits..... my grandfather and my grandmother!!!

We had a wonderful visit, with Anna telling us the story of how, when she was 22, she traveled to the US and toured the southwestern US with my grandmother, within a year before she passed away. She had dozens of photos from that trip in her scrapbook. We now can team up to document our common family heritage!

Thank you Andrew Durman for your incredible service!!!

Bob from Texas

His contact info:

cell 48 602 243 306

Posted by Kathy
St. Louis, MO, USA
44 posts

Congratulations, Bob! Your story brought tears to my eyes. My paternal grandfather and his brothers were born in Poland, and I am planning a trip to visit his birthplace. The town is much farther north, between Poznan & Gdansk, but I think I'll contact Andrew.
If he can't help me with that area, maybe he can suggest someone else. Your story gives me hope that I might be able to also find some relatives, or at least have a good visit to the place where my grandfather was born.

Posted by Donna
42 posts

We also hired Andrew who provided an amazing day for us. While we were never able to be 100% sure anyone we met were in fact directly related, Andrew tried his utmost for us and worked on it before we came.

What we did learn is that the Polish people are kind, helpful and generous. We were welcomed into their homes for food and the villages made a big effort to try to help us find those ancestors!

I have never read any reviews about Andrew Durman that were not amazing and grateful. He is truly a gentleman and very reliable and a great emailer!