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Warsaw or Krakow

I found a great deal on a trip to Poland mid September. 4 nights in each city. I would fly into Warsaw and out of Krakow. What city would you recommend for adding more time in, possibly including a day trip.

Posted by
6174 posts

Without knowing any of your interests or priorities, I would say Warsaw because the attractions are more spread out and it's more centrally connected to other places in Poland on the rail network. Krakow is more charming, but also considerably more compact (you wouldn't need anything other than your feet to see it, whereas you'd likely be using the trams/metro in Warsaw). Or you could just play by ear. It's an easy quick train ride. Both places have potential day trips - it really depends what you want to see.

Some (hopefully) helpful links to aid in your planning:
http://warsawtour.pl/en (Warsaw city guide)
http://warsawtour.pl/en/brochures (downloadable Warsaw brochures in PDF format)
http://freewalkingtour.com/ (various city walking tours)
https://www.inyourpocket.com/gdansk (can be done as a day trip from Warsaw)
https://www.inyourpocket.com/krakow
https://www.inyourpocket.com/warsaw
http://rozklad-pkp.pl/en (train)
http://www.polrail.com/en (train)
http://www.polskibus.com/en/index.htm (bus)

Posted by
650 posts

Sorry I just saw Chani's post. I will delete this as hers has all the info I am looking for.

Posted by
6174 posts

Steve...feel free to delete away. I just copied and pasted the advice I gave Chani, so no loss to me.

Posted by
650 posts

It is just saving you from duplicating your time Agnes. I appreciate all the advice.

Posted by
650 posts

I know you are the expert on Poland. My great grandparents came from there to New York. I want to discover my Polish roots.

Posted by
5013 posts

Steve, do you know what city/town they came from?

Posted by
650 posts

No Stan. I have no way of finding the information. They changed their last names when they moved here. It is difficult to locate their history. Major disappointment for me.

Posted by
650 posts

Thanks for all the info Michael. Poland is a must visit for me. I just wish I knew where my great grandparents emigrated from. It is sad my family didn't preserve our history.

Posted by
12103 posts

'..great grand parents emigrated from." What year was that? Presumably prior to 1914?

Posted by
650 posts

Hi Fred...yes prior 1914 as my grandfather was born in America 1910. I tried Genealogy.com but it was not a productive search. The problem is my greats changed their last names and two branches of the family spell the name now with minor alterations...changing A to O or O to A. It feels like searching for the needle in a haystack.

Posted by
5013 posts

steve, PolishRoots .org may be a better resource for you. Note like many Slavic names, "a" or "ova" is a feminine ending, while "o" is masculine or plural. So a Maria Kowalska's husband would be Joseph Kowalski for example. That is confusing when looking for records.

Before 1914, Poland was divided between Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Russia, so the immigration records could refer to those countries as origins.

Posted by
6174 posts

In reference to Stan's comment...it's actually "owa" (feminine) and "ska" (feminine) and "ski" (masculine) when it comes to last name endings. There are of course others that don't end with either of those options (i.e not everyone is a "Kowalski" :-)

There is no "v" in the Polish language...only "w", which sounds like "v"

Sadly, you won't find good genealogical "nuggets" online because most Polish records are not digitized (the opposite of, say Utah, where their research systems are excellent). Also many documents of all kinds were destroyed in WWII.

Posted by
12103 posts

@ Steve...In one way I am not too surprised since the second wave of mass immigration took place in the years prior to 1914, ie 1910 was the peak year for the Slavic groups. Since you don't know what town/village the two sides of the "greats" came from or their original spellings, that's difficult. How about the closest city or river? What was the nearest river? The Vistula, the Bug, the Warta, how about the province name? Catholic or Jewish? Do you know their second language after the Polish spoken at home?

Posted by
650 posts

Thanks all!!! Unfortunately if we could find a copy of their birth, death certificate online....even an obituary online it would maybe be of help.

Posted by
242 posts

You might want to go on Facebook and look for their Polish genealogy groups. These folks are experts and very generous with their advice. Polish genealogy is a challenge, but I have found so much and many new connections. If they came through Ellis Island, you may be able to find their manifest and then their village, town or parish.

Your visit to Poland will be SO much better if you can find this info. I went to Poland my first time without doing the basics, but came home determined to find out info. I fell in love with Poland! As a result, I discovered several cousins who invited us to visit. We had the trip of a lifetime on our second trip and are returning next year.

Check out this group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/50089808265/ Julie has a post on how to get started with Polish genealogy. Some of these folks can help you with document translations.

Learn the basics of Polish genealogy on this site (they have the largest collection of genealogy records in the world and are extremely helpful. https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/Poland_Genealogy

Posted by
503 posts

Steve, this may be a long shot in trying to find the cities your "greats" came from, but I've used it a couple of times. If you know where your great grandparents were buried from you could contact the funeral home. They should have records such as death certificates that may have their birth city information. My late father lost a brother when they were both very young children and there was no one left in the family who knew when this child was born or when he died. I contacted the funeral home and they sent me a copy of his death certificate which had all kinds of information on it. Good luck

Posted by
242 posts

One more thing...Were your grandparent's naturalized? Their documents will have the name of the birth city/parish. Many libraries have ancestry.com for free on their computers at the site and FOLD3.com is a website that contains many naturalizations forms. I can access it online from home using my library card. I ordered my Swedish great grandfather's forms but found my Polish grandfather's online on ancestry and fold3.