Poland/Finding Family in Poland
QUESTION: Hi Stephen....I sent you an email earlier this week and was hoping you could help steer me in the right direction. I am going to Poland on a vacation this upcoming June and was hoping to connect with relatives I have never met in Poland. These relatives are from my grandmothers side of the family (my grandmother passed in the 80's-her name was Stanislawa Siekierzynski-maiden name Kozak)and our last communication with family in Poland was in 1988. This is what I know:
The letter came from-Obroncok Pokojzi/Z1-010 Leczna/Lublin (I attached a pic of the address).
The family are:
Apolonia Tomasiak (my grandmothers younger sister-probably in her 60's in the 1980's)
Hendryk Tomasiak (Apolonia's husband)
Andrzej Tomasiak (a son of Apolonia and Hendryk)
Mirka Tomasiak (Andrzej's wife)
Rafal Tomasiak (Mirka & Andrzej's son-who was 4 in 1988, so he's approx. 31 now)
I have to apologize on some polish spellings...I'm reading them from their writing and it's not that easy! I have reached out to some Rafal Tomasiak's via Facebook, but have had no responses. I am so hoping that this is enough info to help get some info or at least a lead.
Thanks so much for your help!
ANSWER: Hi Amy
Thanks for the enquiry, first stab at finding some thing has not showed any obvious leads.
However the address from the letter shows the town
I did a search using the Polish spelling, so worst case you could go to the address and start there. Usually people do not move around much unless they emigrate so, nieghbours are a good source of info even if they have.
I found a Rafael Tomasiak in Kluczbork but it is a little way over in modern Poland and not that likely.
My Partner who is Polish usualy has a good instinct for these things but she is busy with Chritmas preparations at present. The address is a little unusual as it is a room so maybe it was some sort of institute and still in existence or would have good records.
So can you leave it with me for a couple of weeks whilst the festivities pass.
Will get back to you as soon as I can.
p.s. do you have a copy of the letter?
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Thank so much! And of course after the holidays will be great! I've also attached the letter (2 pages).
Could you also type out the address for me in the next response....just in case I write it wrong....that polish writing is tough to read!
I was forwarded this question of yours by Stephen, as I live in Lublin (which is only about 26 km / 17 miles away from Leczna) and I have answered more than 300 questions concerning Polish language, surnames, genealogy and related questions on All-Experts (see: http://en.allexperts.com/q/Polish-Language-3388/indexExp_54423.htm
The address written on the envelope is written in very clear handwriting (like the whole of the letter, in fact; the man has taken care to write very, very neatly):
ul. Obroncow Pokoju 14/20 [in Polish letters: Obrońców Pokoju]
21-010 Leczna [Łęczna]
woj. Lublin [= region (województwo) of Lublin - not necessary to write it].
If you are analysing a handwriting in a language unknown to you, you have to compare the letters you are not sure of to letters in other places (words) where you are more sure of them. This way you will see that what you have analysed as "k" (in: "Obroncok") bears no resemblance to the real "k" (in: "Pokoju"), or what you have analysed as "zi" (in: "Pokojzi") is but a clear "u" (of: "Lublin" or "ul."), etc.
Now returning to your family.
Concerning their names and surnames:
Stanislawa Siekierzynski - she was a woman, so her surname was Siekierzynska, not Siekierzynski (this is a masculine form only), [Polish spelling of the name: Stanisława Siekierzyńska]; read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_name
Apolonia Tomasiak - ok
Hendryk Tomasiak - correct spelling: Henryk, without "d" (pronouncing "d" between "n" and "r" is a local characteristic of the rural dialect)
Andrzej Tomasiak - ok
Mirka Tomasiak - "Mirka" is a diminutive, the full name is Miroslawa [Mirosława]
Rafal Tomasiak - ok [Polish spelling; Rafał]
Look at this map, http://www.moikrewni.pl/mapa/kompletny/tomasiak.html
you will see the 2001 cenzus distribution of the Tomasiak surname in Poland, divided by counties. When you move your mouse over a given county (in Polish: powiat) you will see its name. Now spot the cluster of three counties in red on the right side in the middle. The smallest of them is Lublin city (m. Lublin) and the big red one around it is the Lublin county. Leczna is the green county just to north-east of Lublin county, and to south-east of Lubartów county (also in read, straight north from Lublin).
You can see that in 2001 there were still about 20 people with that surname in Leczna. The surname Siekierzyńska http://www.moikrewni.pl/mapa/kompletny/siekierzy%25C5%2584ska.html
/ Siekierzyński http://www.moikrewni.pl/mapa/kompletny/siekierzy%25C5%2584ski.html
, although known elsewhere in Poland, has no bearers in Leczna nowadays.
This gives no warranty whatsoever that any of your relatives still live in Leczna. However Steve was right that people in Poland are not that mobile, so it might be possible if not to meet your relatives, at least to meet someone who has known them.
Be prepared that it might be hard to find someone speaking English there. It is a rural area, with a coal mine nearby. But Lublin is a big education center, with 5 public and 3 private universities it's a city where many foreigners come to study - first of all from Ukraine, but also from Taiwan or Norway or USA or Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. So if you need an interpreter, you may probably easily find one if not in Leczna - among Lublin students. You can find contacts to offices that provide interpreters at
https://www.google.pl/search?num=100&q=tłumaczenia łęczna and
There are only two hotels in Leczna http://meteor-turystyka.pl/noclegi,hotele,leczna,60.html
but there are several hotels and cottages nearby (like 10-15 km). North-east of Leczna there is a tourist area of Leczna-Wlodawa lakes (Pojezierze Leczynsko-Wlodawskie), And of course you have many hotels in Lublin.
Lublin is quite a big city (Polish scale considered) and has a fairly good communication with Warsaw (by road/bus or train), form which it is at 170 km's / 105 miles' distance. Lublin has a regional airport (in Swidnik, 8 km / 5 miles straight east of Lublin), but the most frequent flights to Lublin are only to/from England and Scotland (London Luton 5 times a week) and Germany (Franfurt) 3 times a week - apart from that once or twoice a week to/from England and Scotland (London Stansfield, Glasgow), Ireland (Dublin), Norway (Oslo), Sweden (Stockholm Skavsta) and Holland (Eindhoven). See: http://www.airport.lublin.pl/en/dla-podroznych/planowanie-podrozy/rozklad-lotow.
On the contrary Leczna is a very small town, so to go there you need to take a minibus or a taxi from Lublin. There are several minibus companies serving this route, there are minibuses practically every 15-20 min, see e.g. a schedule of one of them (2014) http://www.piatekbus.pl/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/rozk%C5%82ad-%C5%81%C4%99czna
All of them operate from the bus terminal at ul. Ruska [Ruska street] / Podzamcze (near the Lublin Royal Castle). And the buses from the Lublin Airport arrive to this terminal. The bus ticket is 5 zlotys (ca. $1.5). A taxi should not cost you more than ca. 100 zl (ca $28.5).
I am surprised to find that the name of the street "Obroncow Pokoju" [Peace Defenders'] is still in use in Leczna, elsewhere it was changed into something else because it has a Communist origin and connotation.
Look at this map:
and you will find the building No. 14 easily - alas, the appartment No. 20 cannot be seen on the map, ;) - contrary to what Steve suggested, it's not a room No., but an appartment (flat) number, in a typical multi-storey building (which in Leczna would most probably mean 4-storey building = without a lift, and No. 20 will most probably be on the top floor. Remember, that Polish "fourth floor" is what is called in USA "fifth floor" as our ground flooh has No. 0, not 1.
In the letter attached, Andrzej is writing that they (he with his wife Mirka and 3-year's old son Rafał) live in the flat No. 3, so I do not understand why on the envelope he has given the flat No. 20. Of course now all of that is probably past perfect.
I wish you good luck in finding your relatives.