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Thursday, July 11, 2019

Not-So-Ancient Migrations

Uncle Henry and his father sitting on the hay in Poland.
When Ancestry had a special price offer for a DNA test, Daughter #2 and I decided to give it a try. My uncle had taken the test several years ago. His results were just about what everyone expected—except for a touch of Viking--though even that should have been expected. After all, my uncle is half Irish and the Vikings undoubtedly visited Ireland on a regular basis.

When Daughter #2 and I received our results, it was also much as we expected—except I didn't have even a tinge of Viking, which was disappointing. However, there was a long smear reaching out into Asia. Interesting! I always wondered if there was a bit of Genghis Klan in our family line or maybe a little Attila the Hun. My mother’s family had some mighty high cheekbones--and hubby's father had those same high cheekbones as well.

Daughter #2 became engrossed with ancient migrations. I had books to write, edit, and reissue.

Meanwhile, hubby continued to go through his family’s photo albums with his mother and when it comes to not-so-ancient migrations, the Polish side of the family has done quite a bit of traveling around. 

On the farm in Poland
Hubby's Polish paternal grandparents lived in Detroit where their sons were born. When the Polish Republic was established after World War I, they decided to return to Poland. When World War II became imminent the two oldest sons, hubby's father and his uncle returned to the United States. 

Their younger brother, who stayed in Poland, joined the Polish resistance and was shot by the Germans in front of his parents. However, the parents remained in Poland. 

Making butter the old-fashioned way in Poland.
Hubby never visited his grandparents, but in the 1960s, his parents and his uncle went to Poland to visit with hubby's grandparents, now elderly but still working on the farm. The photos on this page are from that time. When I first saw them, I thought they looked like they were from the late 1800s. 

Daughter #2 and I still know very little about the Polish line of the family. The country was overrun by other countries on a regular basis and during World War II it is estimated that six million Polish citizens perished--three million ethnic Poles and three million Jews.

Yet hubby's grandparents made it through the war and were able to see their older sons before they died. Those people were amazingly resilient. 


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