Pursuing the expatriate life in Italy–Poland Trzynaście

I really have to make a concerted effort to get to sleep earlier. Every night I’m falling asleep around 2-3 a.m. Did the same thing last night and paid the price today.

I found one of the archives that my host, Aleksander, pointed out online. After visiting this particular office, I found out that it does not have information I need. The ladies in the office also indicated (as did Aleksander) that I would need to visit Warsaw or the archive in a small Polish town near the Ukrainian border. They then gave me directions to another archive from the Catholic archdiocese here in Krakow. Well, I went there and found out that it had closed at 2:00 p.m. Since I had slept in until about 11:30, I had screwed up my timing. I could have checked it out had I gone to sleep sooner. A day lost, needlessly.

So, I will make certain I get to sleep at a normal hour tonight. I will not obsess as I usually do if I find some more info. I will discipline myself. And I will find out if this particular archive has any information. Naturally, I’m hoping that it will so I won’t have to travel up to Warsaw–a 3-4 hour train trip, possibly requiring a hotel stay. And I am especially hoping that I don’t have to travel to the little Polish burg near the Ukrainian border because I am certain few if any people there would speak English, which would thwart any progress.

Even just a few baby steps lifts my spirits. After several days of wondering whether or not this pursuit is a wild goose chase, I’m allowing myself to believe that it might come to fruition. Of course the next roadblock will have me running for the scotch!

Not really. I’ll run for the pastries.

In chatting with Aleksander last night he also pointed out that the chances of my family being Jewish are probably slight. I suppose there could be Jewish blood somewhere in our line. I don’t think my family would have been practicing Jews, though. After immigrating to Canada, my entire family, save for one aunt, embraced Christianity, specifically the faith of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. All five of my grandparents’ children born in Calagary, Alberta, Canada followed the denomination. That includes my birth mother, Gwen. It’s understandable how they might not continue with the religion of their parents. But my grandparents fully embraced Jehovah’s Witnesses, also. No, I’m thinking that the family was probably affiliated with one of the Catholic archdiocese.

It’s a little disappointing. My brother and I were both a little excited about having some Jewish ancestry in our background. Think of it, being a part of a people with such a rich and tremendous history. Yes, there is much heartache and devastation in Jewish history. But, somehow being a part of it was something that we both found enticing. Probably all for naught.

I have also looked through JewishGen, a website for finding Polish relatives who were Jewish and I found no names similar to my family’s. Aleksander was able to find out how many people were of two particular Catholic faiths as well as of the Jewish faith in these hometowns. Catholicism was the primary religion, with a substantial Jewish population even though these towns were tiny. How he found this, I don’t know. But it’s more information and more reasons to be jazzed.

Again, I have no proof (yet) that these two towns, Olecko and Rozwaz, are the hometowns I seek. If they are, I’m dying to get there to see them for myself. I’m already part of the way there with information about them. Of course, something might come up that would send me in another direction. I’ll go wherever the information leads me and right now that information seems to be leading me to these two villages in Ukraine. Just having something tangible excites me. Even the slightest bit fills me with anticipation and a feeling that I can reach out and touch my ancestors.

If I am able to discern conclusively that Olecko and Rozwaz are two of the the locations I seek, I might very well pop down there to look while I’m here in Krakow. It would make sense. If there is nothing else here, why sit around? I could sightsee, but I have a goal to accomplish. If I know these towns are only five hours away, I’ll lose my mind in anticipation. Plus, I’m an impatient cuss. I’m gonna want to know any information as soon as possible. The closer I get, the more excited I become.

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