Curious about your Polish roots but don’t know where to begin?
Then, register for a free Legacy Family Tree webinar on Beginning Polish Genealogy presented by Prof. Jonathan Shea on Wednesday, 28 September 2016 at 2:00 PM Eastern Time (US). I will also be participating as a co-presenter for this webinar.
In this webinar, we will explore document sources in the US to help find your ancestral birthplace then we will take you across the ocean to search in the archives of Poland, and much more.
Click here to register.
For more help with Polish Genealogy research, pick up a copy of Prof. Shea’s Polish Genealogy Legacy QuickGuide available in the Legacy Family Tree store.
[Disclosure: I am a member of the Legacy Family Tree Affiliate Program. What does this mean? If you click on the link and make a purchase I receive a small sales commission].
Other Upcoming Polish Seminars – Professor Jonathan Shea
In addition, Prof. Shea will be giving the following presentations at upcoming conferences. These are some excellent opportunities you won’t want to miss!
- October 14-15 President Jonathan Shea and Board Member Dorena Wasik were chosen as speakers for the annual conference of the Genealogical Society of Poland which will take place in Brzeg. The presentations, which deal with American archival sources, will be conducted in Polish. For further information http://www.genealodzy.opole.pl.
- October 22 DNA lecture – Polish Genealogical Society of Connecticut and the Northeast. http://www.pgsctne.org.
- November 4-5 Jonathan Shea will be speaking at the Ukrainian Cultural Center 135 Davidson Ave. Somerset NJ. A hands-on workshop on the Cyrillic alphabet will be held on Friday. On Saturday he will present a lecture on foreign languages and their impact on genealogical research and on using Polish language websites for family history research. PGSCTNE member and our NERGC delegate Julie Roberts Szczepankiewicz will also be speaking at the event. For further information http://www.ukrhec.org.
- November 19 Jonathan Shea will present a workshop entitled” Finding the Missing Pieces of Your Polish American Family History” for the Indian River Genealogical Society at the Indian River County Main Library in Vero Beach FL at 1.pm. For further details see http://www.irgs.com.
Copyright 2016, Lisa A. Alzo
All Rights Reserved
When my Slovak grandparents arrived in America, they settled in Duquesne, Pennsylvania, a “cluster community,” where they were surrounded by relatives, friends, and neighbors–all the people who formed the extension of their villages in the New World. They could count on these people for friendship, support and help with life’s ups and downs.
|Group gathering, Osturňa, Slovakia; photo courtesy of Lisa A. Alzo
Many decades later, I found myself channeling this sense of community while working on The Family Tree Polish, Czech, and Slovak GenealogyGuide. I have been been a freelance writer for FamilyTree Magazine since 2005, and since that time I have written a number of articles on various Eastern European Genealogy topics, so it seemed a natural fit to expand that work for the Ethnic Research Guides series.
This guide will walk you step-by-step through the exciting–and challenging–journey of finding your Polish, Czech, or Slovak roots. You’ll learn how to identify immigrant ancestors, find your family’s town of origin, locate key genealogical resources, decipher foreign-language records, and untangle the region’s complicated history. The guide also includes timelines, sample records, resource lists, and sample record request letters to aid your research.
In particular, those just beginning the research process will find this guide to be useful starting point for how to discover their Eastern European ancestors and trace their stories from American shores back to the old country. An extensive Appendix lists other books and resources to follow up with for advanced research in each group (including one of my personal favorites, Going Home: A Guide to Polish-American Research by Jonathan Shea).
In the past twenty-five years, I have had the good fortune of working with many skilled research colleagues who were instrumental in helping me navigate the complexities of Eastern European genealogy. My journey back to find my ancestors would not have been possible without the guidance of many others. One of the biggest lessons I learned early on as a genealogist is the importance of collaboration and networking with those researching similar surnames or geographical areas. While researching our individual families, we might have a tendency to hold on tightly to knowledge gleaned from our efforts, but there is a lot to be said for sharing what we learn. Thanks to collaborative efforts with other East European genealogists, I have been able to break down many of my own research brick walls.
In the same collaborative spirit, this guide is designed to teach and inspire others who have an interest in exploring their Polish, Czech, or Slovak heritage.
Writing is often viewed as a solo endeavor, but the truth is it really takes a village to produce a guide of this scope, and I am particularly grateful to my research colleagues (especially Professor Jonathan Shea, Michal Razus, and Jan Ebert), as well as others who contributed photographs or other stories or anecdotes, and of course, the editors and copy editors at Family Tree Magazine.
The book is currently available for pre-order at ShopFamilyTree and Amazon.
[Disclosure: Articles on this website may use affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Policy in the About section for more information]