"The Wall." This is how I think of the bookcases full of resources that line the south wall of PARI's home, the Panorama Room on the Orchard Lake campus.
I'm going to try to breakdown sections of the wall to show you what's there but I'm not going to be able to cover it all. There 's just too much of it. Here are some highlights for you...
These cases are full of genealogy journals and magazines from societies around the country and even beyond our borders. I'll just tease you with a few titles: Polish Genealogical Society of Michigan, Ohio Genealogical Society Quarterly, FEEFHS, NGS, Polish Genealogical Society of America, Ontario Genealogical Society, FGS, Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly, Oakland County Genealogical Society, Polish Genealogical Society of California, and more. Oodles of info!
The top row of binders are parish jubilee books, many from Detroit, but also from around the state and the country. If you've ever looked through a jubilee book you know what a wonderful resource they are for genealogists and family historians. They tend to focus on the people of the parish and what they've done for the parish. There are lists upon lists of names of parish members involved in parish activities. Poland is and has been largely a country of Catholics and the Catholic church was the unifying organization for Poles who immigrated to the U.S. These books will tell you who belonged to the choir, who taught at the school, and who donated to the parish along with what businesses were in the area that parishioners would have patronized. They are true gems!
These are memoirs and family histories from Polish Americans right here in southeast Michigan. They've been donated to PARI and are available to researchers. You may find a family history that contains members of your family. How cool would that be? You may want to consider donating a copy of your own family history for other researchers to benefit from. PARI is accepting donations!
Chicago is an even bigger enclave of Polish Americans than the Detroit area is. Given that, it's valuable to have resources for the Chicago area when you're researching your Polish and Polish American ancestors. Here we have the complete collection of indexes to obituaries and death notices that appeared in the Dziennik Chicagoski... Chicago's Polish language newspaper. Why drive all the way to Chicago when you can save gas money and do your researching here? Check it out!
Polish Americans from Detroit's west side were commonly buried at Holy Cross Cemetery. It's the Catholic cemetery where a good many parishioners from St. Hedwig, St. Francis D'Assisi, Assumption BVM, Holy Redeemer, St. John Cantius, and St. Casimir (among other west side parishes) were buried. The indexes for this cemetery are not online and there are very few locations where you can access them. Fortunately for us, PARI is one of them!
Books and more books! There are a number of good reference books available at PARI. This section of books is chock full of reference and how-to books. Whether you're just starting your genealogy research or you're facing a brick wall with one of your ancestors, you're likely to find help in this section. Pull up a chair and get reading!
Here's Ceil, PARI's Director, with a collection of Madej family photographs donated to PARI. Members of the Madej family were traveling in Poland when WWII broke out and they have precious photographs from that time period. It's an amazing collection!
And last but not least, they have probably the best resources of all at PARI...
Marcin Chumiecki and Ceil Wendt Jensen. Marcin is the director of the Polish Mission, the parent organization of PARI. He's dedicated to the mission of bringing new Polish and PolAm culture to Orchard Lake and maintaining the vast collections of history and culture that already exist there. He's a man on a mission and he's full of drive and energy. Ceil is the Director of PARI and a certified genealogist. She's also a noted speaker at various national and international genealogy conferences and travels to Poland regularly. If you need help with your Polish genealogy research or have questions about the Polish culture, you won't find two better resources anywhere!!!
OK, so 'nuf said about "The Wall". If I haven't sold you yet on researching at PARI I'll take one more stab at it with my concluding article in this series tomorrow. If you're already sold on making the trip to Orchard Lake check out my initial article for times, dates, and location details.
The Complete PARI Series:
PARI, Part 1, Who, What, When, Where, and Why
PARI, Part 2, The Computers and Databases
PARI, Part 3, Special Collections
PARI, Part 4, The Art
PARI, Part 5, The Wall
PARI, Part 6, The Panorama Room