Ancestry.com Blog » Contest http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry The official blog of Ancestry.com Wed, 23 Apr 2014 18:56:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.2 Enter For a Chance To Win Professional Family History Research Assistance!http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/04/01/enter-for-a-chance-to-win-professional-family-history-research-assistance/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=enter-for-a-chance-to-win-professional-family-history-research-assistance http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/04/01/enter-for-a-chance-to-win-professional-family-history-research-assistance/#comments Tue, 01 Apr 2014 17:01:07 +0000 Kristie Wells http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=15869 Read more ]]> ACOM_BranchOut250x250_badgeEven though it is April 1st, this post is no joke.

Today we are kicking off Cycle 4 of the Branch Out contest - a chance at winning a prize pack that includes professional research assistance, a one-year subscription to Ancestry.com, an AncestryDNA test, and a photo book from MyCanvas.  

Heidi Hall was our big winner in October, Stacy Woodley won in December, Cindy Hillman won in February and we are looking for our next lucky recipient. Could it be you? The next drawing will be held on May 5th so submit your entry now!

HOW TO ENTER:
Enter online by providing your name, complete mailing address, email address, phone number, and a brief story (not to exceed 500 words in length) of your family history (the “Theme”). Please note if you entered the contest in one of the previous Cycles you will need to submit a new entry to be eligible for the Cycle 4 contest.

This contest is open to legal residents of the 50 United States (or the District of Columbia) and you can read all the Official Rules here.

 

Make sure to enter now! Good luck!

 

*Ancestry.com, at its own discretion, may select additional winners during the Promotional Periods.

]]>
http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/04/01/enter-for-a-chance-to-win-professional-family-history-research-assistance/feed/ 1
Branching Out to Find Three Soldiers, Three Wars, All Familyhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/03/21/branching-out-to-find-three-soldiers-three-wars-all-family/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=branching-out-to-find-three-soldiers-three-wars-all-family http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/03/21/branching-out-to-find-three-soldiers-three-wars-all-family/#comments Fri, 21 Mar 2014 22:41:51 +0000 Paul Schmidt http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=15673 Read more ]]> When Heidi Hall won our first-ever Branch Out Contest, she had already been working on a broad and well-sourced family tree. She had many lines and mysteries to choose from to have our team at ProGenealogists add to her research.

Ultimately, Heidi asked us to center our research on the ancestry of her great grandmother, Martha Huff Summers.

Although Heidi had traced the Huff family for several generations beyond Martha, she wasn’t sure that she had made the correct connections. Martha Huff presumably was the daughter of George Huff, granddaughter of Nicholas Huff, and great-granddaughter of Richard Huff. Heidi thought that Richard fought in the Revolutionary War, so her second goal was to learn about Richard’s participation.

Huff

 

Goal #1: Proving the Huff lineage

We began our research by making sure that what Heidi had discovered was proven. She had done a great job gathering census records for the Summers and Huff families, as well as death records for George Huff and his wife, Eliza. The census records Heidi found proved to be for her family and solidified the relationship between Martha and her parents, as did the copy of Martha’s death record we obtained online.

George Huff’s death record showed that he was born in New York State in 1831, the son of Nicholas Huff and “Sally Guiles.” We found George living with his parents, “Nickalus” and Margaret Huff, in the 1850 U.S. census in Chili, Monroe County, New York. We knew we had the correct family from the information we later found in George’s pension file.

pension

1850 U.S. Census for Nickalus Huff household in Chili, New York

The relationship between Nicholas Huff and his presumed father, Richard, is not as solid as we would like, as we were not able to find a definitive document proving that relation during the time we had to research this family. Nicholas Huff’s proximity to Richard Huff in the 1810 census indicated a likely relationship, and Richard had a twin brother, Nicholas, for whom his son was no doubt named. Once again, Nicholas’s pension file proved helpful in creating this circumstantial relationship. Nicholas married in Ovid, Seneca County, New York, in 1808, and that was how we knew that he was the man living near Richard Huff in the 1810 census.

 

Goal #2: Did Nicholas Participate in the Revolutionary War?

As we proved out and added to the research for Heidi’s Huff lines, we discovered not just one, but three American soldiers along the way.

George Huff was born about 1830, and was therefore of a good age to possibly have fought in the Civil War. A search of an index to pension files on Ancestry.com showed that a man named George G. Huff served with a Michigan Cavalry unit. Several census record had recorded that George’s middle initial was “G” and we were able to find him and his family in Michigan in the 1860 and 1870 censuses, proving that he was in that state.

Huff2

When George’s pension file arrived from the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C., we found a vast amount of interesting and sad data about his travails as a soldier and his life immediately after the war. He had been taken prisoner and was incarcerated for a time in the infamous Andersonville Prison in Georgia, where more than one in three prisoners died, mostly from disease. When George Huff was released, he was so ill (weighing only 70 pounds) that he was unable to make the trip back to Michigan, staying with his family in New York State until he was strong enough to travel.

Heidi also had identified an index entry for Nicholas Huff, George’s father, showing that he had served during the War of 1812, so we verified the entry and then ordered his pension file. In the file we learned that Nicholas served for only 17 days with a New York militia. He was present when the British troops burned Buffalo, New York, on 30 December 1813, however, and had to flee for his life.

Finally, we identified and ordered the pension file for Richard Huff, who served for about three years during the Revolutionary War. We learned in the pension file that he was born in Hillsborough, Somerset County, New Jersey in 1754, according to a family bible kept by Richard’s father. Richard served during the Battle of Monmouth, New Jersey, made famous by the legend of Molly Pitcher, who took her husband’s place in battle after he fell. Richard served under numerous commanders and one affidavit in his pension file listed 24 separate places he had served during the war. Luckily, he appears to have come out of this conflict unscathed.

 

Next Steps

Heidi still has plenty of family history puzzles to solve.  After our team proved Heidi’s work was sound, and found three American soldiers in her tree, Juliana Smith made several suggestions for next steps that Heidi might take to firm up the relationship between Nicholas and Richard Huff. In the meantime, Heidi has three incredible pension files that tell her more about the stories of the soldiers in her family tree.

 

 

]]>
http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/03/21/branching-out-to-find-three-soldiers-three-wars-all-family/feed/ 2
Enter To Win The Branch Out Contest: Prize Package Valued Over $3,000http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/02/01/enter-to-win-the-branch-out-contest-prize-package-valued-over-3000/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=enter-to-win-the-branch-out-contest-prize-package-valued-over-3000 http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/02/01/enter-to-win-the-branch-out-contest-prize-package-valued-over-3000/#comments Sat, 01 Feb 2014 17:11:21 +0000 Kristie Wells http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=14661 Read more ]]> ACOM_BranchOut250x250_badgeIt’s February 1st and that means time to kick off Cycle 3 of the Branch Out contest where you have a chance to win one on one time with a professional genealogist, an AncestryDNA test, a one-year subscription to Ancestry.com, and a photo book from MyCanvas.  

We are giving away six (6) of these great prize packages. Heidi Hall was our big winner in October, Stacy Woodley won in December, and we are looking for our next lucky recipient. Could it be you? The next drawing will be held on March 3rd, 2014 so submit your entry now!

Simply provide your name, complete mailing address, email address, phone number, and a brief story (not to exceed 500 words in length) of your family history (the “Theme”). Please note the submitted stories will not be judged or graded, but it a mandatory step in entering the Sweepstakes. If you entered the contest in Cycle 1 or Cycle 2, please note you will need to submit a new entry to be eligible for the Cycle 3 contest.

This contest is open to legal residents of the 50 United States (or the District of Columbia) and you can read all the Official Rules here.

HERE IS A LIST OF THE GOODIES IN THE PRIZE PACK

The Grand Prize winner, upon confirmation of eligibility, will receive the following prize package:

(a)   Twenty (20) hours of ProGenealogists research

(b)   One (1) year Ancestry.com World Explorer Plus Membership

(c)   One (1) Ancestry.com DNA kit

(d)   One (1) 8×8 Premium Leather Photo Book from MyCanvas.com

The Grand Prize package has an Approximate Retail Value of $3,346.

 

Make sure to enter now! Good luck!

SWEEPSTAKES OFFICIAL RULES: Click here.  

 

*Ancestry.com, at its own discretion, may select additional winners during the Promotional Periods.

]]>
http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/02/01/enter-to-win-the-branch-out-contest-prize-package-valued-over-3000/feed/ 17
And The Winner of the December Branch Out Contest is…http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/01/09/and-the-winner-of-the-december-branch-out-contest-is/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=and-the-winner-of-the-december-branch-out-contest-is http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/01/09/and-the-winner-of-the-december-branch-out-contest-is/#comments Thu, 09 Jan 2014 23:16:28 +0000 Pam Velazquez http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=14220 Read more ]]> ACOM_BranchOut250x250_badge

 

If you entered the December round of our Branch Out contest, we’d like to thank you for participating! We received more than 14,000 responses and so many great stories from our community – thank you!

We have compiled all of the entries and randomly selected our second winner. And that lucky person is…

Stacy Woodley from Pennsylvania!!

 

Stacy will begin working with our ProGenealogists to try and solve the mystery around the identity of her third great grandfather who may have fought in the Civil War. We’ll keep you updated on Stacy’s story as we dig into her family tree.

 

There will be more chances to win when we launch the third Branch Out contest, starting on February 1st – so stay tuned for that announcement and in the mean time, help us congratulate Stacy as well as our October winner, Heidi Hall of Michigan!

 

 

]]>
http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/01/09/and-the-winner-of-the-december-branch-out-contest-is/feed/ 6
Enter To Win The Branch Out Family History Packagehttp://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2013/12/02/enter-to-win-the-branch-out-family-history-package/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=enter-to-win-the-branch-out-family-history-package http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2013/12/02/enter-to-win-the-branch-out-family-history-package/#comments Mon, 02 Dec 2013 23:28:53 +0000 Kristie Wells http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=13587 Read more ]]> ACOM_BranchOut250x250_badge

Want a professional genealogist to work on your family tree?

Would you like to try the AncestryDNA test?

Think a photo album highlighting your research would make a good anniversary gift?

Then enter the Branch Out contest for your chance to win a Family History Package valued over $3,000 USD!

We are giving away six (6) of these great prize packages. Heidi Hall was our big winner in October, and we are looking for our next lucky recipient. Could it be you? The next drawing will be on January 5th 2014 so submit your entry now!

 

Simply provide your name, complete mailing address, email address, phone number, and a brief story (not to exceed 500 words in length) of your family history (the “Theme”). Please note the submitted stories will not be judged or graded, but it a mandatory step in entering the Sweepstakes. Also, this is a new promotional period, so those of you who entered the contest before will need to submit a new entry to be eligible for this contest. 

This contest is open to legal residents of the 50 United States (or the District of Columbia) and you can read all the Official Rules here.

HERE IS A LIST OF THE GOODIES IN THE PRIZE PACK

The Grand Prize winner, upon confirmation of eligibility, will receive the following prize package:

(a)   Twenty (20) hours of ProGenealogists research, which can be used in one of the following areas:

  • Starting Your Tree: Researchers will start your family tree online at Ancestry.com
  • Using Ancestry.com Demo: Researchers will start or review your tree, show you how to use features of the site, add an ancestor to your tree, and teach you how to connect to other users
  • Family Finds: Researchers search for records on a few 19th and 20th century ancestors and find 2-3 records in the tree with an analysis of what the records show
  • Find the Star in Your Tree: Researchers will comb through your tree to find a story focused on a single ancestor or single family
  • Branching Out: Researchers will search multiple generations in the tree for a story that we can tell with an assortment of records, stories and locations
  • Research Plan: Researchers will dive into your family history brick wall and create a research plan for the member to use to try and make a breakthrough
  • Brick Wall Research: Researchers will pool their expertise to try to break through a brick wall in a member’s family tree. The request must be specific and focused and made for research in a country we have expertise in and there are available records to search

(b)   One (1) year Ancestry.com World Explorer Plus Membership

(c)   One (1) Ancestry.com DNA kit

(d)   One (1) 8×8 Premium Leather Photo Book from MyCanvas.com

The Grand Prize package has an Approximate Retail Value (“ARV”) of $3,346.

 

Make sure to enter now! Good luck!

SWEEPSTAKES OFFICIAL RULES: Click here.  

 

*Ancestry.com, at its own discretion, may select additional winners during the Promotional Periods.

 

]]>
http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2013/12/02/enter-to-win-the-branch-out-family-history-package/feed/ 14
The Winner of the October Branch Out Contest is…http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2013/11/12/the-winner-of-the-october-branch-out-contest-is/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-winner-of-the-october-branch-out-contest-is http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2013/11/12/the-winner-of-the-october-branch-out-contest-is/#comments Tue, 12 Nov 2013 08:59:11 +0000 Kristie Wells http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=13569 Read more ]]> ACOM_BranchOut250x250_badge

 

We would like to thank everyone for entering for the Branch Out contest last month! There were 1000s of entries submitted and some incredible stories shared. Thank you!

Alliance Sweepstakes has randomly selected a name out of all the qualified entries, and the winner of the Family History prize package valued over $3,000 USD is…

Heidi Hall of Michigan!! 

 

Heidi has already started working with the ProGenealogists team who will be helping her trace the paternal side of her family and securing documentation on a couple elusive Revolutionary War soldiers. We hope to share more of her story once the project is completed.

In the mean time, please join us in sending congrats to Heidi and if you want a chance to win your own Family History package, get your submission together, the next round starts on December 1st!

 

 

]]>
http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2013/11/12/the-winner-of-the-october-branch-out-contest-is/feed/ 5
Today’s Death Record Challenge: Who cracked Gracsok’s skull?http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2013/10/30/todays-death-record-challenge-who-cracked-gracsoks-skull-2/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=todays-death-record-challenge-who-cracked-gracsoks-skull-2 http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2013/10/30/todays-death-record-challenge-who-cracked-gracsoks-skull-2/#comments Wed, 30 Oct 2013 19:59:47 +0000 Pam Velazquez http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=12775 Read more ]]> Who was John Gracsok, and how did he end up dead from a blow to the head? Was it as revenge? A family feud? Was he just clumsy?

Skull

Death records can hold the answers to lots of your family history questions. So after you’ve solved the Gracsok mystery, make sure to come back to the death records page to see what other grave secrets you can unearth.

You’ll find 25 suggestions on places to look for death information other than death certificates (“Guide to Searching for Death Records”). We’ll also tell you how to tap into the unique record your deceased ancestors left behind in your DNA (“AncestryDNA: Find Your Link to the Past”).

Start searching for the answer at ancestry.com/death

 

]]>
http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2013/10/30/todays-death-record-challenge-who-cracked-gracsoks-skull-2/feed/ 8
Today’s Death Record Challenge: A train crash couldn’t kill him. What could?http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2013/10/28/todays-death-record-challenge-a-train-crash-couldnt-kill-him-what-could/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=todays-death-record-challenge-a-train-crash-couldnt-kill-him-what-could http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2013/10/28/todays-death-record-challenge-a-train-crash-couldnt-kill-him-what-could/#comments Mon, 28 Oct 2013 20:36:49 +0000 Pam Velazquez http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=12773 Read more ]]>  

B&W Train

When legendary railroad engineer John Luther “Casey” Jones selflessly stayed at the helm of his doomed train in 1900, he saved countless lives.

But this mystery is only about one of them — the fireman Casey told to jump as the train careened out of control, surely sparing him from a grisly death.

Today’s challenge:

So how did the mystery fireman meet his end?

 

Start searching for the answer (and then answer the challenge) at ancestry.com/death

 

 

]]>
http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2013/10/28/todays-death-record-challenge-a-train-crash-couldnt-kill-him-what-could/feed/ 9
Just in time for Halloween, the Death Record Challenge is back!http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2013/10/26/just-in-time-for-halloween-the-death-record-challenge-is-back/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=just-in-time-for-halloween-the-death-record-challenge-is-back http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2013/10/26/just-in-time-for-halloween-the-death-record-challenge-is-back/#comments Sat, 26 Oct 2013 15:59:24 +0000 Pam Velazquez http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=12771 Read more ]]> Death 2_FB News Post 300x400_1 montage

 

Test your sleuthing skills and win prizes by solving mysteries and legends using the power of Ancestry.com, the world’s largest online family history resource.

From October 26 until Halloween at midnight you’ll get three chances to play detective and dive into Ancestry.com Death Record collections. Each challenge takes you to a new time and place in search of the truth. There’s deception. Intrigue. And of course, death.

Crack the case and you could win an AncestryDNA Test, World Explorer subscription or FamilyTree Maker software. Simply submitting an answer enters you to win a brand new iPad.

 

Today’s challenge:

Where does Thomas Hardy RIP?

 

Start searching and answer the challenge question at ancestry.com/death

 

 

]]>
http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2013/10/26/just-in-time-for-halloween-the-death-record-challenge-is-back/feed/ 7
Meet Ed Kolenda – Winner of the Star Of Your Family Contest!http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2013/10/08/meet-ed-kolenda-winner-of-the-star-of-your-family-contest/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=meet-ed-kolenda-winner-of-the-star-of-your-family-contest http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2013/10/08/meet-ed-kolenda-winner-of-the-star-of-your-family-contest/#comments Wed, 09 Oct 2013 00:32:39 +0000 Kristie Wells http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/?p=12109 Read more ]]>  

The old saying goes, you can’t win if you don’t enter – and Ed Kolenda can surely attest to that! Ed submitted a compelling video entry for our “Star Of Your Family contest” and subsequently, won!

Kolenda_Children

Ed was born 28 June 1936 in Poland, the son of Piotr “Peter” Doszyń and Joanna Jara. According to family information, both Peter Doszyń and his wife died when they were living in Steinau, Germany. Upon the death of their parents, the three Doszyń children were sent to a German orphanage supervised by the American Army. In 1946, at the end of WWII, they were sent to America and adopted by the Kolenda family. Note: Ed is the middle child in the photo here. 

Our ProGenealogists team began with various documents provided by  the Kolendas, these included:

  • Peter Doszyń’s work papers, which stated that he was born 9 July 1908 in Ruscheltschytschi, Ukraine and resided in Steinau, Odenwald, Germany. (He came to Germany in May 1940).
  • The christening record for Ed’s mother, Johanna Jara, showing a birth date of 6 November 1910 in Huta Drohobycka, the daughter of Joseph Jara (son of Andre Jara and Agnetta Matniej) and Rosalie Spindor (daughter of Jacob Spindor and Catharina Mocker). This record also included a note regarding her later marriage to Peter Doszyń, which took place on 29 September 1935 in Przemyśl, Poland.

To see these actual documents, please visit the Kolenda page on Ancestry.com.

The ProGenealogists identified the passenger list for Tadeusz Edek [Edward] Doszyń and his two siblings [Jean and Hank], who arrived on the Marine Flasher in New York on 6 June 1946, and also found:

  • The christening of Piotr [Peter] Doszyń, who was born 9 June 1908 in House #31, the son of Jan Doszyń (son of Andrzej Doszyń and Katarzyna Solarczyk) and Józefa Fedusiew (daughter of Paweł Fedusiew and Katarzyna Wajda).  Neither his parents’ nor grandparents’ names were previously known.
  • In addition to Piotr, Jan Doszyń and Józefa Fedusiew were the parents of at least the following children: Mikołaj Fedoszyn (born 21 December 1894) and Teodor Doszyń (born 28 May 1905).  Jan Doszyń married secondly 21 May 1912 to Eudokia Polnyk and they were the parents of Józef Doszyń (born 30 September 1913) and Paulina Doszyń (born 19 August 1916). None of this information was previously known.
  • Research in the Roman Catholic parish of Drohobyczka, Poland uncovered the christenings of two of Johanna Jara’s siblings: Paweł (born 29 June 1895) and Katarzyna (born 11 November 1898). These siblings appear in the letters provided by the family, but nothing else was known about them.
  • Johanna Jara’s father had a previous family by another wife, and we also identified information on some of Johanna’s half siblings.

A Polish ProGenealogists researcher made a trip to Ruszelczyce, and was able to find out that a Theodor Doszyń had lived in nearby Przemyśl with his two sons, one a lawyer [Henryk] and the other a doctor [Kazimierz]. Theodor Doszyń was Peter’s brother, born in 1905, so the sons mentioned would be Ed’s first cousins. The researcher made contact with Theodor Doszyń’s sons, Kasimierz and Henryk, who remembered that one of their uncles was a forced laborer in Germany during World War II, and this was Peter, Edward’s father. They searched their family documents and found the following papers:

  • Piotr Doszyń died in 1942. They had a death certificate issued for him on 11 June 1949 from the archives in Bad Arolsen.
  • A document issued by the Red Cross on 25 January 1962 showed that Anna Doszyń (born 10 March 1910) may have died 29 July 1945 in Steinau, Dieburg, Germany.
  • A photograph with a note, “brother Piotr, killed in Germany in 1942.” They remember their father saying that he had died in an accident—they were digging and suddenly there was a landslide and he was buried underground.

The Kolenda family was in possession of several letters written in Polish, pertaining to the Jara family [their mother's side]. These were translated and provided additional insight into their daily lives during this period of time.

Locating these two new connections on the Doszyń side was a great find for Ed, and we made the decision to take him to Poland to meet them. But first, we had to meet Ed in his native habitat (Michigan) to get a better sense of the man formerly known as Tadeusz Edek Doszyń. Oh, and learn about a record we found that caught all of us off guard.

THE TRIP

The Ancestry.com team started in Michigan, at the house of Ed and his wife Kit, where we learned more about his childhood, met his kids, dog and got up close and personal with his beloved birds.
IMG_2702

Then Ed, Kit and his sister Jean took us to a local Polish deli where we enjoyed plates full of Kielbasa, Golabki and sauerkraut.
Enjoying a Polish Combination Plate to get the team ready for our trip to Przemysl.

After filling our bellies with fantastic Polish dishes, we headed to the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park and watched Ed horse around for a little bit. While there was nothing historically tied to his story here, the Meijer gardens are a wonderful spot to take in an afternoon of art and culture. This specific sculpture, entitled “Leonardo’s Horse”, is one of two full-size casts that were made of Akamu’s 24-foot (7.3 m) design. It is quite spectacular to stand next to it, and a wonderful treat to be able to see it in person. 

IMG_2766

After a nice dinner and good night of sleep – we were Poland bound! (LtoR: Ed’s wife Kit, me, Ed, and his sister Jean)

We are Poland bound! #EdandKit #ancestry #RoadTrip /cc @ancestry

After almost 23 hours of flying (including layovers), we arrived in Kraków and then drove 3.5 hours East to Przemyśl (near the Ukraine border). We ate, we showered, we slept a little bit – and then we headed to cousin Henryk’s house where we met him, his wife Renatte and their other cousin, Kasimierz. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house after that door opened.

Poland: July 2013

LtoR: Henryk’s wife Renatte, Zbigniew our amazing Polish ProGenealogists, cousins Henryk and Kasimierz.

Poland and Amsterdam: July 2013

After hours of eating, sharing stories and photos we said our goodbyes and made plans with Henryk to join us for a trip the next day where we were visiting the Rural Architecture Museum of Sanok, which is  one of the biggest open air museums in Poland. It contains 200 buildings which have been relocated from different areas of Sanok Land and gives you a sense of 19th and early 20th century life in this area of Poland (what Ed and Jean’s parents would have experienced growing up). 

Poland: July 2013

Poland: 2014

We left Sanok and headed to Ruszelczyce, the town Ed and Jean’s father grew up in. We walked to the plot of land where their house once was and met several neighbors who were kind enough to give additional information on the family and the surrounding area. We also visited the local cemetery where odds are good other Doszyń members were buried, but we were not able to find any tombstones to verify.

Poland and Amsterdam: July 2013

We then drove to Drohobyczka, the town their mother grew up in, and visited the local Roman Catholic Church. Interesting to note, the original church had since been torn down and rebuilt, but they kept the original altar and baptism bowl that their mother would have been christened in, which was a wonderful treat for Ed and Jean.

We returned to Przemyśl and paid a visit to the local Archives, wanting to secure a copy of Ed’s original birth certificate. We were able to do so, but it came with a surprise piece of information …

Ed was not born on 28 June 1936 as he previously believed, Ed was actually born on 11 October 1937. This 77 year old man is actually 76! This was incredible news to everyone in the room. After discussing it with Ed, we realized he had guessed on his birthdate when filling out the paperwork needed to come into the United States and no one was around to tell him differently. But talk about a pleasant surprise!

Finding this birth certificate was a wonderful way to end our trip in Poland, and it was finally time to say our goodbyes to cousin Henryk. 24 hours later, we were saying our goodbyes to Ed, Kit and Jean. It is safe to say we all had an incredible time on this trip and it was lovely having the chance to spend so much time with Ed, Kit and Jean. We hope this gift of family history will last them a lifetime, but as we all know, this now provides more stories for them to research on their own (right Kit?).

To see more documents from this trip, please visit the Kolenda page on Ancestry.com.

Below LtoR: Zbigniew (Polish ProGenealogists), Henryk (Ed’s cousin), Jean (Ed’s sister), Ed, and Kit (Ed’s wife) standing atop a hill overlooking Przemyśl.
Poland and Amsterdam: July 2013

 

 

ACOM_BranchOut250x250_badge

 

Want a chance to work with ProGenealogists? Enter Ancestry.com’s latest contest, “Branch Out“. The Grand Prize winner will receive 20 hours of research from one of our expert genealogists, one (1) year Ancestry.com World Explorer Plus Membership, an Ancestry.com DNA kit and an 8×8 Premium Leather Photo Book from MyCanvas.com!

Complete the registration form before 11:59:59 p.m. PT on October 31, 2013. The first Grand-Prize winner will be announced on November 5, 2013 so don’t wait!  We will have follow up drawings in January, March, May, July and September too!

 

 

]]>
http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2013/10/08/meet-ed-kolenda-winner-of-the-star-of-your-family-contest/feed/ 4