Tuesday, October 02, 2007

I See Their Faces and Wonder

Do you ever look at faces in a crowd and wonder if you're related to any of them? I do that sometimes. Not so much when I'm looking at faces here in the U.S., but always when I'm looking at faces in Poland. (All of my ancestors were from Poland.)

At 38,518,241, the estimated population of Poland is just slightly larger than the population of California. And all those people live in an area just slightly smaller than the state of New Mexico. When I see their faces in a crowd... in a photo, on a web site, in a book or a movie, I can't help but stare at them and wonder if I am related to these people. They could be my distant cousins, or live next door to one of my family members, or work in the same factory with them.

On the Polish American Forum someone shared a link to a page that has photos from the recently released movie KATYN, which was filmed in Poland with actors and actresses from Poland. As I looked through these photos I stared at the faces and wondered if we share ancestors. I looked for a familiar nose, a similar jaw line, or to see my own eyes looking back at me. Most of the time I don't catch a resemblance. But every once in awhile I see someone that I swear must be a relative of mine. Has that ever happened to you?

Source for the estimated population of Poland is the CIA World Factbook.
Source for the estimated population of California is Wikipedia.


  1. Is this the site where the Carnival of Genealogy will be posted?

    My grandmother came to America from Krakow. I don't know if it's possible to connect with anyone through your blog, but I felt I had to try.

    Will look forward to hear back from you.

    The Lives and Times...

  2. Jasia, Looking at faces is perhaps the most basic biological means of family recognition. I think it instinctive that we scan faces in the crowd trying to recognize or to categorize others as friend or foe --- there seems to be survival benefits to quickly judge facial characteristics. I think we all do this looking --- and I think that most of us on occasion "see" someone we "know" is kin! [With my Hollingsworth chin and my Thornton ears, I'm a standout! And others of my kind are too! LOL!]

    Thanks for such a interesting post --- and one that I'm sure touched the emotions of those who are from scrambled pasts involving adoption, separation, scattering because of war or prejudice, etc.

    Terry Thornton
    Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi

  3. Good to know, Terry. Sometimes I think I try too hard to find connections where none exist.