Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Another Sunday day trip in the country
Well, Sunday arrived and as we groggily chomped down our breakfast buffet, the knock on the door signaled the arrival of Maria and our translator for the day, our cousin Dominic. We pulled ourselves together and headed downstairs to the awaiting red van, complete with driver.
Our mission this day was to find the home town of Antonia Januzik in Kosztowo, then on to towns nearby and Szubin where the Wilebskis may have been from, and a few towns at the end of the loop where the Soberiaski (Frank's ancestors)family was known to be from.
After about an hour, perhaps an hour and a half of twisting and winding roads in the country, we arrived at Kosztowo. We pulled right up to the church where it was time for 10am mass to begin. There were 2 gentlemen in the parking lot, probably in their 60's who were smoking their last cigarette. It reminded me of Kroze from my youth. Through the help of Dominic, we had a conversation with them. They pointed out the cemetary was a couple of meters down the road. We also learned that one of the men's wife's family was Januzik. So, we knew we were at the right place.
We decided to go to the cemetary first and then back to the church after the last mass that dismissed at noon. FYI, great grandma's hometown looks like it had a population of less than 500, maybe even less. It was surrounded by farmland and rolling hills with a little river flowing through it.
We hit the jackpot at the cemetary. There were 6 Januzik gravestones. The oldest one I have attached. And based on everything we know, this person could have been a sister or other close relative of great grandma. We also saw another Januzik relative name of Budnik, in addtion to Michalecs, Jaszczaks and Urbaniaks. Funny how these familys seemed to move together when they migrated.
We spent quite a bit of time here and as we approached the van again, Maria had packed yet another picnic lunch for us. She kept feeding us all the time, even though we didn't see her eat that much. I wonder if they have been reading about how overweight us Americans are and wanted to play into the reality? Who knows, we chomped down more goodies and unknown protein balls with bread. At this point, the passport pictures were starting to look good.
Since the ladies needed a rest stop and we still had almost an hour to kill before the church would be vacant, our driver headed toward a town with a "nice" bathroom with paper. We ended up at a BP station out in the country. It was kind of ironic, but as we drove to this rest stop, I saw a sign post that said Glesno. That triggered something and I mentioned to Frank that we should probably stop there on the way back since it was only 4 kilometers off the main road.
Upon arrival at Glesno, we stopped at the church. But, it too was closed up, so we proceeded to the cemetary nearby. Although we were looking for Januzik, we did stumble across another name from that side of the family, Budnik. So, it was worthwhile to make this short sidetrip. It is also here where I got a shot of Maria with her pink purse she picked up when she was in the U.S. several years ago. It is the "Mrs. Timberlake" item I mentioned in previous posts.
Since it was now noon plus, we headed back down the road a few miles back to see the Kosztowo church. It was abandoned by now, at least as far as people and priests were concerned, so we had our run of the place. I have included a couple of those pictures so you can see where great grandma and her family in all likelihood liveed and worshipped in the 1800's.
From Kosztowo, we headed toward Szubin. This is a relatively large city, so we were fortunate to find the community cemetary on the edge of town as we approached. It was huge and with 6 of us looking for ancestral names, we still came up with a blank. However, we did see headstones of Jaszczak, Masloski, and Gorski.
We now headed for a town that was the baptismal village/church of Frank's Sobieraski ancestor. Even though we had one of those LARGE maps of Poland, this village was not on the map. Our guide and Dominic however figured it out and before long we were at the church and its cemetary. Unfortunately, we came up empty in terms of that name. We went to the neighboring town, whose name I forget at this time and walked through another huge cemetary which was even larger than that of Szubin. Again, a blank. But, we did stop for a bottle of wine and some flowers for our next stop along the way.....Maria's daughter's place.
Based on how small Maria's place was in the city, we didn't know exactly what to expect out in the country. We were pleasantly surprised to pull up to a large 3 story house which was gated and had a huge yard. We were greeted by Maria's daughter's husband and ushered to the second level of this very large modern house. Apparently the husband's parents live on half of the lower level, while Christine (Maria's daughter) and her family live on the next 2 levels. It was quite nice to say the least and now I know why she kept insisting we go out here to see her daughter. I think it was more for us to see just how well she was doing. Whether they have money, the husband's parents are supporting them, or they are up to their eyeballs in debt we don't really know. But, they certainly have a decent place.
We again were served another 15 courses on different china, followed by a choice of 6 different deserts in the loft area. We swapped stories as best we could and found out their son whose name I fail to recall is in line to compete in the upcoming olympics in Vancouver. He has a bunch of huskies (?) outside in a pen which are part of the olympic sport of skiing and something else. So, we promised to watch him in Vancouver if that turns out to be the case. I will have to get the last name from Saint Joan the next time I see her so we can post this little tidbit of Wilebski family success stories. Well, we can hope can't we?
I'm posting a couple of pictures of the family so you can tell me if there is any resemblence to any of us.
Since we were heading back to Prague early in the morning, we bid goodbye to our relatives and headed back to Posnan. At the hotel, Maria followed us in and gave us more gifts and we gave them a couple of thank you notes. Well, it was the thought. I hope we hear from them again, since they were absolutely the most gracious people. Perhaps we can talk them into visiting us on this side of the pond in the not too distant future.