So here goes, lots of photos of family. I’ll try to make sense of it all here–if I can. With my notes, some help from my cousin Alicja, and a lot of luck, I can identify the people in these photos and explain their relationship to me. It’ll be up to you to figure out how they are related to you–if they are.
I’ve added captions to the Family Photos in this album, and so will try to describe who everyone is, referring to the picture by its caption. I’ll also try to explain the relationship to me.
All of the family pictured on these photos are the descendents of Antoni (except, of course, for me). Antoni was murdered because he was Polish the late stages of World War II when Ukranian Nationalists (the UPA) were going around doing some ethnic cleansing. But that is a story for another day.
Antoni’s Daugther, Anna, was married to a Ukrainian. He also had a son, Michał, who was married to a Ukrainian. His children Pawel, Jan, and Józef married Polish woman. After World War II when the Soviet Union resettled people, all those not married to Ukrainians had to leave. The 100% Polish branch of the family was resettled to the Gdańsk area–that’s how Alicja and the rest in that area came to be there. Those married to Ukrainians stayed in Ukraine. That’s just how it was.
So, here are the pictures: http://poland.leonkonieczny.com/Poland%202011/Family%20Photos/index.html. Each photo has a caption. They correspond to the descriptions below
At Wojtek and Alicja’s
As the name implies these are two photos I took my first day there out on the porch/deck behind Wojtek and Alicja’s house. In the first you see Wojtek and Alicja Bartek, their oldest son. In the second, Bartek took a picture with me in it. Alicja is my third cousin, our great-grandfathers, Antoni and Alex, were brothers. They lived in Faschivka, Ukraine.
Cymski Family, Grabiny-Zameczek
So how did Cymbał, the family name originally, become Cymski. When the 100% Polish descendants of Antoni were relocated to Poland, they changed their surname from Cymbal to Cymski. The word Cymbał in Polish has the connotation of being simple-minded, and is related to the instrument called the Cymbały, which I blogged about previously. And so they used this opportunity to change their last name. Thus they became Cymski.
One of the sons of Antoni who was relocated to the Gdańsk area was Józef Cymski. He had two children, Maria and Jan. The people in this picture are the descendents of Jan Cymski. Jan’s children would be my third cousins. The people here are, left to right in numerical order:
- Halina Cymska. She is the wife of Gienek (#5), Gienek is my third cousin.
- Danuta Cymsak. Danuta it the wife of Władek (#8). Władek (short for Władysław) is my third cousin.
- Veronica is the granddaughter of Władek. She would be the fifth cousin of Emmitt and Mac and Brooklynn Konieczny.
- Luke (Łukasz) Cymnski, the son of Gienek (#5).
- Gienek Cymski. Gienek is my 3rd cousin and the brother of Władek.
- Hania Cymska. She is Władek’s sister and thus also my third cousin.
- Klara Cymska. She is the mother of Władek. Her husband, Jan Cymski, is my mother’s 2nd cousin.
- Władek Cymski, my 3rd cousin
- This is the sister of Klara Cymska (#7) and no direct relation to me.
Our family in Faschivka, Ukraine
The pictures in this series have a number, here’s who is in them:
- Left to Right, Alicja, Michał Griciw (second cousin to Alicja and third cousin to me), Ciocia (Aunt) Hania, mother of Michał , and Wojtek (Filip with his back to the camera). This photos is outside of Michał ‘s home in Faschivka, in the back yard.
- Alicja and Ciocia Hania. We are outside near the church in Faschivka, on our way to the cemetery, hence the fresh flowers in Aunt Hania’s hand.
- Ciocia Hania, Filip, and Alicja, placing flowers at one of the family graves.
- Halina, Wojtek and Aunt Hania. Halina is the daughter of Michał. Alongside Michał ‘s home.
- Halina and Luba. Luba is the wife of Michał and a very good cook. She (along with their two daughters) fed us well when we visited. Notice the satellite dish attached to the garage in the background!
- Taken in the front yard the day morning we were leaving, here are, left to right, Wojtek, Alicja, Filip, Luba, Halina, Michał, Ciocia Hania, and her husband, Jan Griciw.
- The same as the previous photo, just another nice photo from Faschivka.
- Almost the same, but I have traded places with Wojtek who insisted he take the picture of me with my family from Ukraine. What a great memory.
- Luba, Halina, Alicja, and Filip, in the front yard.
- Final farewells. Michał led us with his vehicle so we could find our way out. We are in some hills above Faschivka. It was hard to say goodbye to these wonderful people, my family from Ukraine.
Lesia in Podwołczyska, Ukraine
Lesia is the cousin of Michał and lives in Podwołczyska, a city not too far from Faschivka. She is also my third cousin.
- This picture is taken in Lesia’s home. It is Michał and Luba sitting at the dinner table.
- This is Lesia (short for Aleksandra) and her husband, Bohdan Wołowski, at the dinner table.
- Taken by Wojtek, its (L to R) Alicja, Michał, Luba, me, Lesia, and Bohdan. Notice the feast we have in front of us. The food Lesia prepared was excellent, and the vodka Bohdan “forced” us to drink went down very easily, each time!
- Taken outside their home just before we left, here is Alicja, Wojtek, Michał , Irenka (daughter of Robert and Lesia and hence a 4th cousin to my nieces and nephews), Luba, Filip, Bohdan, and Lesia.
- This time Alicja is taking the photo, with me in it. Of my family in Podwołczyska, Ukraine.
- I could not resist, Irenka with Alicja.
Henio in Wołoczyska, Ukraine
It was late and we’d eaten a second dinner, and had another round of vodka, so I only took one picture here at the home of Michał’s brother in Wołoczyska, Ukraine, Henio Griciw. Pictured here are Michał, Henio, Oksana (wife of Henio) and Alicja.
Henio and Oksana have three children, Jarek , Julanka, Irenka. We met Jarek when we were there.
Irena in Tczew, Poland
Irena Wisniewski is my third cousin, she and her husband, Gerard, Barbara is Irena’s daughter. These are some pictures from the day I spent with them in Tczew. These pictures have the captions Irena 1, Irena 2, etc.
- Teresa (Irena’s sister-in-law), me, Barbara, Irena’s daughter, and Irena. Irena and I are third cousins. We are sitting at the table in the restaurant that Barbara owns and runs.
- Me and Irena at the Tczew Cultural museum.
- Teresa and Barbara. You can see the famous Tczew bridge in the background.
- Teresa and Irena. As you can see, we ate very well.
- Barbara, Teresa, and Irena at the table in the restaurant.
Irena’s Old Family Photos
Irena and I spent some time in her home looking at old family photos. I took pictures of some of these. I wish I’d taken some good notes, but here they are. They have the captions Irena Pictures 1, Irena Pictures 2, etc.
- This is an old picture of Irena’s. I believe it may be her family, Irena to the left, then here parents, her mother Maria (daughter of Józef Cymski) and her father Stanisław Wilk, and then Irena’s brother, Henryk. Henryk was the husband of Teresa in picture #1 above. He passed away about a year ago.
- A picture from some years ago, with Irena and her husband (Gerard) and her brother Henryk.
- I am not sure who is pictured here. If you know, let me know. Probably Irena or her parents or her brother.
- Irena had a picture of my great-grandparents, Katherine and Alex Symbal. Alex is the brother of Irena’s great-grandfather, Antoni.
- I think this may be a photo with the wife of Antoni in the center of it. But I am not 100% sure of who all is in here. If you know, please let me know.
- Again, some old family photos of Irena’s. I should have taken some notes!
- Again, I am not sure.
Grabarek Family in Pruszcz-Gdanski
These are all photos I took on my last evening in Poland, at the home of Alicja’s brother, Marek, and her mother, Ludwika Grabarek. Ludwika is a second cousin to my mother and her cousins Sonja and Pat (who went with me to Poland in 2010).
- This is Ludwika Grabarek, Alicja’s mother. She bears a very strong resemblance to my great-grandfather, Alex Symbal. Her grandfather, Antoni, was a brother to Alex Symbal.
- Here we have, from left to right, Bartek, Paulina (daughter of Marek and cousin to Bartek), Marek (brother of Alicja and also my third cousin), Łukasz (son of Marek and brother to Paulina), next is Adrian, the son of Riszard and Iwona (this would be a nephew to Alicja), and finally Iwona the wife of Riszard (Riszard is the brother of Alicja).
- Here we have Łukasz, Iwona’s son, Iwona, and Kasia, the wife of Marek (Marek is Alicja’s brother and my third cousin). We are in Marek and Kasia’s home.
- A family picture, left to right: Łukasz, Me, Iwona, Paulina, Marek, Kasia, Adrian, and Ludwika.
Final Pictures from the Airport — My Family in Poland
These last two photos were taken at the airport on the day I left. Having spent a wonderful three weeks with Alicja and Wojtek (and Bartek and Filip), in their home and traveling, I felt like one of the family. I am truly blessed to have such wonderful people, such wonderful family as a part of my life. I am already longing to go back for a visit, to see them again. And I hope at some point in the future some or all of them may visit us here in the USA.
By now you know all the people in the photo. This is my family, the Grabowski’s, from Pruszcz-Gdanski, Poland.