Gdansk

Trip2Gdansk

 (+48) 734 46 04 44     06 Dec 2018
Genealogy is becoming an increasingly popular industry in Poland as more people visit and the Polish and German Diaspora start to look into where it came from. With public records both harder to access without the necessary language skills plus the more complicated nature of finding records in a country which has moved borders and been subjected to years of war, you are well advised to find somebody to help you in your search. Małgorzata Andrzejewska comes recommended to us and along with a local priest (in many cases the only records available are church records) she is able to offer as successful a search as we have so far found.

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15.05.2013
Thomas Pedtke

I was researching my surname but was at a dead end reconstructing the family history in Europe. Family lore suggested they were Germans from the Danzig area of West Prussia (now Gdansk, Poland). After a cruise on the Baltic we decided while we were nearby to spend the better part of a week in Gdansk sightseeing and trying to uncover leads for our genealogy. As an aside, Gdansk is an incredible city and I would highly recommend a visit. The Teutonic Knights in the Middle Ages, the Hanseatic League, the start of World War II at Westerplatte, the Solidarity movement and the fall of the Former Soviet Union and eastern European client states are all centered in Gdansk. It is a unique town of historical significance. Its Old Town captures a lot of life as it was in the 16th and 17th centuries.We found a local person, Malgorzata Andrzejewska-Bancewicz, who specializes in tours of Gdansk and related genealogy trips. We hired her as our personal tour guide. “Margaret” agreed to research our family history prior to our visit. She worked closely with Father Maciej Kwiecien, director of the Archives at the Archdiocese of Gdansk. The results were incredible. Records for parishes in the Gdansk Archdiocese are maintained in the archive. These records were researched leading to references for my great, great grandfather’s family in Rahmel, West Prussia (now Rumia, Poland). The findings clarified the number, names and birth dates of all their children, death date for my great, great grandfather in Rumia and immigration timeframe for the family to the United States. At our meeting with Father Kwiecien we were provide certified copies for the records of 42 individuals providing further insights into in-laws, cousins and their families. Since then we have continued to enlist their research support. They have now provided scores of additional records for the extended family. Some of that research literally takes us back from about 1880 to persons living around 1700. While my family lore has been rather accurate, an enigma always existed. My great grandfather insisted he was German and he spoke German when he arrived in the United States but the family was Catholic and they joined Saint Stanislaus Kostka Church in Chicago which was the largest Polish parish in the country. Most Germans from the greater Danzig area of West Prussia were Lutherans.The entire family initially settled in Chicago after immigrating to the United States; two brothers, at least three sisters and their mother. The oldest brother later moved to southern Illinois near St. Louis. Their descendants think they are Polish and they live in a heavily populated Polish area.Father Kwiecien solved the mystery. The family was indeed Prussian in 1860-1880 (this was the time Kaiser Wilhelm’s German Empire) and they spoke German but they were Kashubians! Kashubians are a Slavic people intimately related to the Polish. Basically they are a language dialect population that is not recognized as a separate country within Poland. The Kashubians, like the Polish, are Catholics. This explains why they were Catholics but also Prussians who spoke German. If you are trying to unravel your family history and suspect they are Kashubians, Polish or Germans from the great Gdansk area, I strongly recommend you start by enlisting the support of Father Kwiecien and the Gdansk Archdiocese Archives. “Doctor-Father” Kwiecien is a brilliant person and one of nicest human beings God has put on this earth.
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