I can’t believe it – between yesterday and today, Marek and I each stood for over 11 hours making copies of documents in archives and parish repositories. My aching feet. Oh, yeah – my back is beyond aching. At the 1 hour point, it was aching, 5 hours later, I could barely move.
Researching in archives (I know I’m repeating myself) is very much like untangling a ball of wool after the cat’s been playing with it all day. If Marek and I hadn’t gone to the Mielec Office of Civil Records, we wouldn’t have found out about the museum. If we hadn’t gone to the museum, we wouldn’t have found out that the Rzeszow archives (where we were going anyway) held ID applications. These ID card applications include birth records, marriage records and information about travel, family history and more. Some of them had over 20 documents attached! And most precious of all – there are photos of the applicants, sometimes multiple photos from different years. To find the records you want, you need t loo in two places – in printed indexes, and in indexes only available on servers at the archives. Of course there are duplications, but there are plenty of records in one place and not the other.
Records generally have to be requested the day before you want to look at them, so it’s a two day process.
The best things we looked at over the last two days were a book of church records from the 1780s and a wooden church built in the late 15h century.
The church was in Łęki Górne (pronounced Wenki Gorna) which in itself was a sort of strange town. It was very long, and on either side of the main road were country roads that led off to field or sometimes houses. The lanes had signs that looked like street signs. Really, there were no street signs – these signs had the town name and the house numbers that were on the streets.
Back to the US tomorrow for a couple of weeks. BTW – if you’r in Krakow, I thoroughly recommend Papa Gelato – after tasting ice cream and gelato all over this area of Poland for two weeks (after all, a day without ice cream is a day really missing something) Papa Gelato was my absolute favorite.
Just FYI – getting information is sometimes really difficult – you don’t know the questions to ask that will point you in the right direction. As we were leaving the Rzeszow archives, Marek was having a discussion with the director of the reading room who told him that all the metrical records for Kolbuszowa were in the library there! The big question is what are they doing there? Unfortunately, those will have to wait for another trip. Marek is off to Ukraine to do research for a few days before meeting me in Warsaw on June 15. I’ll spend a few days in Warsaw and then head off for Lithuania for two weeks.