Wednesday, August 6, 2014

GRIP 2014: Day 2

I Got a GRIP! Notepad
GRIP intro post and day 1 post. GRIP 2012 posts.

Day 2 of GRIP began with Dr. Hal Learman, PARI co-director, discussing "Geography, Gazetteers, and Maps."  I love maps, which comes in handy when researching a country such as Poland, whose borders have changed continuously throughout its history.  Some of the best maps to use for Polish research include the Geographical Dictionary of the Kingdom of Polish and Kartenmeister.  He also recommends Google searches and the FamilySearch catalog.  There are numerous books of Polish maps available as well.

Our second lecture of the day was "Using's Catalog, Indexes, and Digital Images."  This was a case study on finding foundation documents to push your family back to their ancestral village.  Ceil said to remember to always bring a pedigree chart to archives and libraries and to start with that, as it is impossible for the person there helping you to keep all of your information sorted in their head.  Check death certificates, passenger records, naturalization records, census records, and WWI and WWII draft cards for the name of the town your ancestor was born in.  Once you have found the American records, you can check FamilySearch for Polish records as well.

Wawel Folk Ensemble

After lunch, we had lecture three of the day on the Polish Genealogical Society, makers of the must-use Polish genealogy site Geneteka.  Volunteers have transcribed over 1 million names in civil records from throughout Poland.  Many of the transcribed names also have scanned images available.  I really cannot exaggerate how useful this site is.  For a a marriage record, the transcriber also gives the parents names and birth year and location of the bride and groom, which can easily lead to more records for your family.  While the site is not complete, they are continuously expanding it.

Our last lecture was "Poznan Project: Civil and Parish Marriage Index."  The Poznan Project is a website dedicated to transcribing the records of Poznan, which is commonly a problem area for genealogists.  If you have ancestors from this area, make sure to check out this site.

Our evening lecture was actually a performance by the Wawel Folk Ensemble.  Wawel had 10 people, 5 male, 5 female, and each "couple" dressed in an outfit from a different region. According to their blog, the regions were Kaszëbë, Podlasie, Biłgoraj, Rzeszów, and Sieradz. They would describe the outfit and region and then do a few dances.  It was fascinating to see the different outfits and dances they performed.  I'm also pretty sure life would be much better if we still had neighborhood get-togethers full of dancing and music.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

GRIP 2014: Day 1

You can also read my introduction post on GRIP 2014 and my posts on GRIP 2012.

Polish Panorama
The official start to GRIP was Monday and the first lecture in the Polish genealogy course was on the Polish Panorama at PARI given by PARI director Ceil Wendt Jensen.  The Panorama has 106 figures representing Poles from peasants to Pope John Paul.  Each figure is 30 inches high, moves along the stage on an automated track (bottom middle and right) and was designed by Zbigniew Baran.  My favorites were the peasant woman with her baby (top left), the winged hussar (middle right) and the partitioned Poland in mourning (top right).   There is also a mural designed by Marek Żółtak showing important churches of Poland (bottom left).

We then had two lectures on the Polish language for genealogists.  It began by looking at some of the records available for genealogists, including some that you cannot easily find online, such as a "list of souls", estate and manor records and travel documents.  We then got to practice Polish pronunciation with Eugenia Gorecki, who is the in-house translator at the Polish Mission.  I'm not sure Genia was too impressed by any of us...

The last lecture of the day was on the identification and history of ancestral villages.  This was of particular interest to me, as I have not found the exact villages my Polish ancestors emigrated from.  It is important to look at as many items as possible to try to find the name of the village.  They recommend WWI draft cards, naturalization papers and ship manifests.  There are a lot of online gazetteers that can assist in finding out where that village was at the time your ancestor lived there.  Considering all of the border changes in Poland, using maps from the correct time period is of utmost importance.

In addition to the course lectures, GRIP offers evening lectures, which are also free to the public, on different topics.  The first evening session was given by Polish Mission director Marcin Chumiecki on some of the projects they are currently doing.  The one that most amazed me is "Forbidden Art," an exhibit on the art prisoners produced in Auschwitz and Birkenau.  Currently on exhibit at the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Kansas, this looks both fascinating and heartbreaking.  There is a short online tour which I highly recommend (see YouTube video above) and I hope to make a trip to see this in the near future.

Monday, August 4, 2014

GRIP 2014: Polish Genealogy

I arrived yesterday for the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh's On the Road week in Orchard Lakes, Michigan for the "Advancing Your Polish Genealogy: 300 Years of Records" course.  I attended the inaugural GRIP in 2012, missed 2013 due to having a newborn, and when I saw the Polish offering at the Polonica Americana Research Institute (PARI), I knew exactly which course to sign up for this year.

Detroit Train Station
Getting to Orchard Park was quite the trip: we left Syracuse at 4 pm, met my mom and gramma for dinner in Waterloo, then Julian and I headed to Buffalo while my husband headed back home.  We arrived around 8 and I took a nap.  The train was supposed to leave the Buffalo-Depew station at 11:59 pm (she's leaving {leaving} on a midnight train to Detroit...), but due to delays and the water issue in Toledo, didn't leave until around 2 am.  We arrived in Toledo around 7:30 am, then took a bus to Detroit where I had quite the layover, which just got longer when my train to Pontiac, MI was over an hour late.  I finally arrived in Pontiac about 24 hours after I first left home where the wonderful director of PARI (and also one of my instructors this week), Ceil, picked me up from the train station and we made it to campus a little before 5.

Polish Panorama
I registered, met my lovely room mate Linda, got settled in the dorm, and headed to the opening night dinner.  After dinner, we got an overview of the Polish Panorama from Ceil, which I will discuss in detail on my post tomorrow.  All followed by an early bedtime.

I'll be posting about my experience at GRIP daily this week; let me know if you have any questions!

Back to Basic: July

July went quick! GRIP  went virtual! I attended (most) of the sessions in Documentation and then continued my citation work with my ProGen a...