With only about four weeks before my departure for Poland, I’m trying to find some type of media person to chat with regarding my search. I’ve previously discussed that I would like to find a reporter who might take an interest in my story and write a short article about my search. Perhaps someone would recognize my family name and contact me. It would go a long way in helping me get information. I’ve contacted one reporter so far. No response yet.
I have to admit, though, that I am excited at the prospect of checking church records, government archives and cemeteries to find information on my ancestors. I’m quite fortunate in that I have information on the birth of my grandmother in Rosvausch, Poland. I have her maiden name and the names of my great-grandparents. For this I’m feeling very fortunate and blessed. To have information going this far back, especially when my grandmother was an immigrant, is fantastic.
And, when one considers the date of my grandmother’s birth (1889) well, that takes me way back in just two generations, before I even hit my great-grandparents. If I can get more of my great-grandparents information, we’re probably looking at the early 1800’s. What was the area like back then? We’re not talking about America in the early 1800’s. Many of us have at least fleeting information about that era of our nation. But early 1800’s in Poland? Wow.
Let’s look at the facts–this area was Austria-Hungary when my grandmother was born. In the early 1800’s, the Russian Federation, Austria and the Habsburgs partitioned Poland and terminated Poland’s independence. Was my family involved in the Polish Resistance? The mid boggles.
How many siblings did my grandmother have? What were their occupations? What was my great-grandfather’s occupation? Did they actually live in Poland or did they immigrate from Russia? Ukraine? Latvia? Is there Jewish blood in my family?
Anyway, I’m finding quite a few options in media. As it turns out, there’s quite a few media outlets that are English language. I’m going to contact all of them. It will be a first-come, first-serve basis. I know I have a cousin somewhere in Poland, however I couldn’t tell you where. My cousin, “Gretchen” in B.C., is vaguely familiar with him but she has chosen to distance herself from me. I feel quite confident that she will not help me in my search.
I have to admit that I am a bit self-conscious about contacting the media. Although I’ve done eleven radio interviews and have been written up in two newspapers regarding my first book, I just still feel odd when it comes to promoting myself. What would I say? How would I present myself? I wouldn’t want to inadvertently say anything that would offend Polish (or Ukrainian) sensibilities. Would I be seen as some pathetic American on some goofy spiritual expedition, seeking validation? Is that what I am? Is that what I’m doing?