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Trying to locate information on my Polish heritage

Most of my family lived in Rszezow, Poland with the last names Ziomek and Nieroda. Other family members with the last name Dlugosz. I’ve visited Poland 2x in 2yrs visiting cites, government buildings and leaving notes on gravesites at cemeteries. If anyone can give me more direction I certainly welcome and appreciate it.

Posted by
128 posts

Hi. Have you tried Ancestry www.ancestry.com ? It isn't free but it would probably be helpful and I do think they have a free two week trial period which should be long enough for you to see if the site is useful. I tried two of your family names and got literally over a thousand records. I didn't peruse any of them since I had no idea even what time period your family lived in Poland or what the names of other cities/towns/villages in the area might be. I do think it might be a good direction for you to explore.

Posted by
128 posts

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Posted by
3362 posts

Google-up PolishRoots.org and Polish Genealogy Society and you'll find websites for your research. There are probably others. There is also the Polish Museum in America, in Chicago that might be of interest.

Posted by
4745 posts

I think it's going to be rough since the records are likely not digitized and who knows how many were lost in WWII when Poland was invaded, or how well they were "kept up" during Communist times. Do you have any living Polish family member (or distant family member) who can be your lead in this endeavor? It may take hard on-the-ground work like parsing through city records which are likely very old and in paper format.

Posted by
3362 posts

There are also people who specialize in doing this kind of research, on the ground there, but of course they get paid for this. There are likely links at the websites noted.

Posted by
128 posts

We traveled to Poland a couple years ago and visited the town where my grandfather was born. I suggest doing as much research as you can here at home before a trip. I found the Facebook page for “Polish Genealogy “ very helpful. I also hired someone in Poland to do research for me ahead of time. For the day of our visit, I hired a Polish driver who spoke very good English to take us to the town. He made arrangements for someone to show us around the church. He also took us to the cemetery and asked an elderly woman there if there were any graves from the 1800’s. There were not.

I subscribe to Ancestry but haven’t found it very helpful for Polish research.

Posted by
187 posts

I have ancestors with the Ziomek surname in Niwiska which is about an hour away from Rzeszow. You need to learn how to search and analyze your ancestors' records in the USA first. There is a helpful book:

"Travel Back to Your Polish Roots" That might get you started. I sent you a private message.

Posted by
812 posts

My fathers family was from the Rszezow Poland area. Been there two times but find it hard to track down just where they came from. I did find out that what we see today that is call Rszezow is the combination of villages left after WWII. The land was there not much else. It was not hard to track the name, plenty of them but to track down the relationship is difficult.. Remember people left to come to the USA to work and they never returned. Our family did send back clothes and dollar bills when it came time to meet up it was a no go. Many things affected this, War, Russians, Poverty, and then language. Being a second generation child the language was not taught. Even today Hispanic's don't teach the language. It is a oddity but a known fact. What a mistake! On the good side I have a 3rd cousin who was there in the late summer and did bring back some facts. Hope to see him for the Christmas Holidays.

Posted by
10180 posts

"Many reasons affected this, War...." Rszezow is in Galicia, suffered in both wars, right from the outset in 1914 when the Russians invaded the province with the strategic objective the city of Lemberg (ie, Lviv today) and Przemsyl, horrific battles costing the Austria-Hungary such losses in 1914 from which the Monarchy never recovered.

If you're interested in further reading, I suggest, "Collision of Empires: The War on the Eastern Front in 1914." by the British historian, Prit Buttar. It tells of the dramatic events in the East going on simultaneously, a topic "The Guns of August" completely omits.

If records did survive pertaining to your family, they would be in German as that was the administrative language.

Posted by
187 posts

Rzeszow is now a very modern city. Please go over to Facebook, find their Polish genealogy group and start learning how to do genealogy in Poland. The Mormons also keep many records on their website family search dot org.

I won't say it was easy, but I have had great success despite only knowing English. The records are in the columnar format and were in Latin and there are translation guides. I have my grandparents' families' records from their Polish parish and have traced ancestors back to 1720! Don't despair and let people tell you the records were all destroyed in the war. Some were, but many remained!

Case in point: my grandparents' village. In 1885, their little wooden church was burnt to the ground, yet the records survived! Then, the Nazis evacuated the church and the villages served by it to build Camp Heidelager. The records were saved even though the Germans stole everything else that was precious from the church!

Please private message me if you have any questions. I've become quite accomplished in genealogy and also know a great deal of Polish history. I have a free website with so many articles that would be of interest, but this website will not allow me to post it. Sigh.

Posted by
3362 posts

There is a book I found immensely helpful: Polish Parish Records of the Roman Catholic Church, by Gerald A. Ortell. Published by the Polish Genealogical Society of America. It not only describes how to read records and how to look for them, but also gives very helpful information on names and spelling variations and other clues. You can find it on Amazon for $50. Of course that assumes they were RC, not Ukrainian, Lemko or Jewish.

Posted by
1 posts

Hello everyone!
I am a local genealogist in Poland, I've been helping people from the US with their researches for years.
Feel free to ask me anything regarding the family search in Poland :)
A.A.