Like many of us, John Krasinski had always dreamed of taking his father back to see the family’s ancestral homeland. For John and his dad, that meant Poland. The chance came last year, in 2012, and with a little help from Ancestry, their trip morphed from a sightseeing tour into one of the greatest adventures of their lives.
Their journey started in the village of Bytoń, west of Warsaw. At the church of St. Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr, they met Father Henryk Palucki.
“Father Palucki was not only the resident priest at the church and the warmest of greeters … he also turned out to be our amazing guide,” John said. “He not only agreed to show us around, he became one of our lead investigators. He went into the archives of the church and found the ACTUAL birth announcement of my great-grandfather, from 1876, one of only a handful of document books of its kind, in the area, to survive through WWII!”
That find was the one that helped Ancestry researchers crack the code to two centuries of John’s Polish ancestry. After showing them the birth announcement, Father Palucki led John and his father on a tour of their own past through a series of small Polish towns where three generations of their ancestors were born, married, and started the next generation of Krasinkis. They finally wound up in Stefanowo, the birthplace of John’s great-grandfather, the man who would one day decide to move to America.
“To be standing there with my father, the generation before me, looking out at the history of the generations before him was one of the most emotional experiences of my life,” John said. “To say it was special couldn’t come close to doing it an ounce of justice … I will never forget a moment of it!”