Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Greatest Genealogical Find Ever, Hmmm

I've been struggling for the past couple of days to respond to Craig's question, "What's your version of the Greatest Genealogical Find Ever?" I just don't know how to answer that.

For each of my four grandparents I had a "breakthrough" find, that one clue that gave me the name of the ancestral village in Poland where they came from. But I'm not sure one was any greater than the others. Each one was an exciting find. I suppose one could make an argument for the first of the four because, well, it was my first taste of success in my genealogy research. But then one could also argue that the last of the four was the greatest find because it had been eluding me the longest. But I don't think I was any less excited with the second or third finds than I was with the first or last. They all presented their own challenges and rewards along the way. They were all great and exciting.

I've thought about the photography "finds" I've had, family albums and photos that others have shared with me. But how can I say the photograph of one grandparent is greater than the photo of another? Three of my four grandparents died before I was born so having photos of them is the closest I'll ever come to a personal relationship with them. My fourth grandparent, my maternal grandmother, was blind and didn't speak English (and I don't speak Polish). I remember being in her presence (she died when I was 13) but I never had a direct conversation with her. I treasure her photos too.

I can't really think of any document or photo that solved a mystery for me or stands out as being more valued or appreciated than the rest. However, I do have a few family members who I could say stand out as my Greatest Genealogical Finds Ever (even here I can't limit it to one person). I'll be writing about them for the next COG (oops! Did I just drop a hint??? ;-)


  1. I know that feeling, Jasia, of discovering the ancestral village and I have had such successes with my German and Pomeranian lines as well as one of my Polish lines. But I am still searching for that one elusive remaining Polish village-thought I had it nailed and in 1993 I visited the area with my brother and family and I could write a blog post about our drives through the tiniest of villages in Poland searching for that village but none could be found (there is a great idea for another post!). So my search continues. You are fortunate to have found all 4 of your Polish villages - they are not the easiest to discover. Cheryl

  2. I am indeed fortunate Cheryl. Not only did I find each of my family's ancestral villages but I was lucky in that the LDS had photographed/microfilmed vital records from those villages too. I wasn't able to get all of my ancestor's records that way but it did help a lot!

  3. I'm still working on the Cs so I haven't made it to Geneablogie yet. I'll have to be giving this question some thought between now and then...

  4. Thanks for all your great comments Lee. I've been sitting here reading them as they came in.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you too!

  5. I've also found all four of my ancestral Polish villages. Unfortunately, the FHL has only microfilmed the records of one of them. I hired a researcher in Poland to find the records for the second and was successful at that. Records for the third are in the Lithuanian State Historical Archives and I haven't yet found a researcher who will find the records for me. Records for the fourth village are firmly in the hands of the Przemysl diocesan archives who won't let anyone see them. Oh well!

  6. Hey Steve, I thought all vital records over 100 years old in Poland were kept at the Central Archives. Is Przemysl exempt for some reason?