If your teenage grandchild spends time with you this summer, please consider exploring your Polish ancestry together. It could help you prepare for a Polish Heritage Society meeting some evening in October. The goal is to see if your ancestor fits in a family tree of many Polish American residents of Suffield that I have been cultivating for several years. The tree includes over 3,000 names that go back to Poland in the 1800s. Is your Dziadek or Babcia one of them?
At the very least, you can find a census record for your ancestor born in Poland, Austria, or Russia. (Remember, when our grandparents were born in the late 1800s and came across the Atlantic in the early 1900s, Poland did not exist as a country.) You may find your ancestor’s name on a passenger list if you are lucky. That could be a gold mine of information, including the town in which they were born and who they were coming to stay with in Suffield.
Who knows? Maybe your grandchild will become interested enough in the family history to become eligible for a college scholarship. Several organizations offer scholarships to students of Polish descent if they demonstrate their activity within a group, such as the Polish Heritage Society.
Remember that your Kent Memorial Library card enables free access to genealogy databases such as Ancestry.com, Fold3.com, and FamilySearch.com. If you have trouble getting started, I can give you a nudge. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me at email@example.com.