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.