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Research in SE Poland

6 Dec 2006 /  #1

I would like to know a bit more about my father's family from SE Poland. My great-grandfather Basil Kocielko was born in Lubno village, Dynow commune, Rzeszow county, Subcarpathian voivodeship, Poland. His real name was either Wasyl or Bazyli - I've seen both listed on different records. Different birth dates were listed. His parents were listed as Matt Kocielko and Eva Bucek on his death certificate. Basil immigrated to the U.S. as Basil Kociolko in 1905. It became Kocielko at one point. I was always told he was a Ukrainian. It seems his family was Lemko, as his surname is listed on a list of Lemko surnames in Lubno. This list was made in 1787. Basil had a large, extended family in Joliet, IL. His cousin Bazil owned a tavern in town, and his son Eddy took it over. Another relative named Theodore lived down the street. He was married to a Martha. My great-grandpa had a sister on Rice St., near Bellmont Ave., in Chicago. She was married to a blind man and had a son named Nester. Nester was married to an Italian woman and had two children: a boy and a girl named Nadine. This is from my father's and uncle's memories, so more children may have existed. My great-grandpa Basil was married to Helen B. Pilip, daughter of Wojciecha and Katarzyny Urbaniak Pilip. Helen was born in Lubno on February 12, 1888. She had three siblings Marianna "Mary," Frank and another brother, who was killed by the Germans in WWII. The brother who died had a daughter named Leona Stoklosa. She lived in Poland. I'm new to Polish research and would appreciate any help. Dziekuje.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,386  
8 Dec 2006 /  #2

You seem to have everything there. Do you want tips on how to take the family tree back further ?
OP Koach  
8 Dec 2006 /  #3

Yes, that's what I would like. I thought of writing to the parish in Lubno, but I read about people who receive no responses from the parishes. I'm hoping a Polish/Ukrainian relative sees this message.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,386  
8 Dec 2006 /  #4

Do you speak Polish ? If so, then write a letter.

If not, someone here will translate for you.

Don't rely on other people's experiences. I doubt that they contacted the same people that you hope to speak to.

You could also find a local web-site, which may be in English and might also provide more in depth information regarding Genealogy. Also, any local [town] website will have a message board.

Does this help ?
OP Koach  
8 Dec 2006 /  #5
Yes, it does. I know some Polish phrases, but not enough to compose a letter. How do I found out if Lubno has a website? I believe it is spelled with the slashed l. I believe it would be pronounced woob-noh. Also, is there a way to find out the meaning of the Kocielko/Kociolko name? Does it sound more Polish or Ukrainian? If it contains dyacritical marks that I don't know about in Poland, will it be harder to locate records? Thanks.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,386  
8 Dec 2006 /  #6

Problem number one. I'm English not Polish. You'll have to wait for someone with better knowledge than me.

Just Google the place names and see what comes up. You will find some info at Wikipedia.
I've already checked.
8 Dec 2006 /  #7
Hi Koach,
I'm afraid I'm not an expert but from what I know both names Basil (Bazyli) and Wasyl are definetely Ukrainian. I have found in the internet that £ubno (yes, it should be pronounced "woob-noh") in Subcarpathian voivodship used to be populated by Lemko so it is highly probable that your ancestors belonged to Lemko community.

As for "Kociolko" surname, I presume it should also be written with slashed "L" ("Kociołko) and it stems from "kocioł" which means "kettle" or "pot". Actually, it sounds more Ukrainian/Lemko than Polish.
OP Koach  
15 Dec 2006 /  #8
I recently got a hold of my grandfather's cousin. She told me Nestor's mother was named Tekla, the sister of Wasyl. I tried locating her family on the 1930 and 1920 census records, but I had no luck. An uncle thought their last name was Piaschyk... or something like it.

My oldest uncle enlightened me more on Tekla's family on Rice St. in Chicago. She and her husband owned apartment buildings there. Are old directories of Chicago available online? They also belonged to the Russian Orthodox Church there. All the Kocielkos, as far as I know, belonged to the Russian-Orthodox religion. My great-grandmother's family of Pilip were Roman Catholics. She raised her children as Catholics, while her husband stayed Orthodox. I couldn't find a listing of it. Perhaps I'm looking in the wrong place. The church may have listings of its former members. My father said Nestor's Italian wife would have my father, grandfather, and uncles over for spaghetti dinners in the 50's. Thanks to anyone who can help.
OP Koach  
2 Jan 2007 /  #9
I took a look at the 1930 census and think I found out more about Tekla's family: a Steve and Tillie Olepni, with son Nester Halucko, were listed. Tillie seems to be a nickname for Tekla from what I've noticed. Also, taking a look at the actual census image, the name looks more like Olepnik than Olepni. Olepnik and Pychek sound similar in their own way, so it could be them. A shocking thing here is that Nester has a different surname. The marital ages of Steve and Tillie appear to have occured when Nester was a young child. I don't know what happened to his real father. Tillie's age (abt. mid-1890's) matches up with the Tekla Kociolko I found on Ellis Island. Tillie's and Steve's ethnicities were listed as Ukrainian, which seems correct. I couldn't find anything else out, so I'm at a stand still here. My father remembers being told by my grandmother that Nester died in the late 1980's or early 1990's.
Patrycja19 63 | 2,699  
6 Jan 2007 /  #10

Yes, that's what I would like. I thought of writing to the parish in Lubno, but I read about people who receive no responses from the parishes. I'm hoping a Polish/Ukrainian relative sees this message.

dont believe that no response thing, it might take them longer to find it, what you
need as far as a strait line , but you will get it. just make sure you send enough
to cover expense, I can tell you privately if you email me, what is good amount.

remember, it costs more at their banks just to cash money orders. and the
American dollar is worth less compared to Zloty. Patty


You seem to have everything there. Do you want tips on how to take the family tree back further ?

Wroclaw, your very helpful as well, I like your style. very imformative.
I know I have a time my self searching. but what I do know, I do share.

one of my friends husbands family was piece of cake to find records all the way
back to 1600's. most of the documents were here. so she had luck with his
but not hers. which is a big problem with Polish roots as many dont know
which direction to go once they get back to the immigration part.
OP Koach  
11 Jan 2007 /  #11
I wrote to the parish about a month ago. I offered to give a donation, and I asked them for their preferrable amount. Do you think they will respond, even with just a notice of what they would like?
Patrycja19 63 | 2,699  
11 Jan 2007 /  #12
Koach, no they dont do it that way. it would be like a offering to the church. so
you would pick what you thought. "agreeable" amount but, did you let them know
what you wanted in terms of records?

sorry it took me so long to get back today, I was at work. :)

Koach, become a member, so you can email me. or me you.
Koach 16 | 128  
12 Jan 2007 /  #13

I'm registered now. Yes, I did ask for particular records.
13 Jan 2007 /  #14
I have some experience in asking for help in my search in parishes. I live in Poland and my relatives come from here so I mail or phone to different places. I do not know if you know but in Poland we have two kinds of records: church records and state records called USC. Everything that is not older than 100 years is kept in both parishes and USC. Then from USC they are sent to state archives and from parishes - it depends. Sometimes these records are kept in parishes sometimes they are sent to archives. There are often microfilmes. Frequently it happens these records do not exist (there were so many wars, uprisings etc.) or if they do, they were written in German (gothic!), Russian, Latin and later Polish and it's very complicated to read them out.

When a parish has its own website I try to send an e-mail (in Polish!) asking for help. I never offer any money. I try to be very precise and ask for 1 or 2 things not too much. Priests have a lot of duties in their parishes so we have to understand that they do not always have time. If records are in Russian or German it may be too problematic for them to find what we want.

When there is no website I just phone and ask when I could phone them back as nobody will check such information on spot. I never ask for a copy. The best way to get a copy is to write to state archives. You will get it (if they have) but first you will have to pay quite much. All state archives have their websites.

Coming back to parishes. I have phoned and mailed many times there and I have never heard "no" or got no reply. But of course there may be exceptions

I NEVER send letters by post. You may be certain you will get no answer as it's too complicated and time consuming.
Good luck,

Koach 16 | 128  
13 Jan 2007 /  #15
Thanks for the information. I guess I might have to make a trip to Poland one day and get the records at the parish. Do they allow people to do that?

I'm sorry, but I thought of this after my original post. Has anyone dealt with the parish in Lubno before? How was your experience with it? Also, how 'technologically advanced' is the Dynow area in general? Is it more old country, or do they have computers and the like? Thanks to anyone who can be of assistance.
14 Jan 2007 /  #16
Of course people are allowed to visit parishes but each parish has its own office and it is open at different hours. That's why it would be wise to phone first and ask if we can pay a visit on this day at this hour. If we arrive unexpectedly it may turn out that a priest has a funeral now for example or other duties. Priests have no obligation to help us search in their documents so they can also say "no" if they have for example a bad day. We must be persuasive and polite. After such a visit it would be polite to leave some money for such a service.

Koach, I don't understand your question about computers in Dynow area, if it's 'technologically advanced'? What do you mean exactely?


I've found this page about parishes in Przemysl area. There is also £ubno near Dynów. They have their phone but not e-mail.

And here in this data base you can find where records are kept

Koach 16 | 128  
14 Jan 2007 /  #17
I wasn't sure if the Dynow area had phones or computers yet for contact, but it seems they do. That's why I asked. The archives site seems to have records for Lubno, so I'll look into it further.
alexandra - | 26  
14 Jan 2007 /  #18
All Polish parishes have phones!!! However, not all of them have computers especially these small ones. Poland is more technologically advanced than you can imagine. Where are you from?
Koach 16 | 128  
14 Jan 2007 /  #19
I'm from the U.S. I know that Poland is a lot different than it used to be. I wasn't sure if all parts have upgraded, though.
alexandra - | 26  
14 Jan 2007 /  #20
It has never been so bad but it's true it has changed for better recently. Have you ever been to Poland? Any relatives?
Koach 16 | 128  
14 Jan 2007 /  #21
I have never been to Poland, but I would go some day. The last I heard, my grandfather had a living cousin in Poland. I never met or spoke to her before, though. My ancestors were Lemkos, and the Lemkos were forced out of SE Poland in Operation Wisla during the 1940's. Some came back in the 50's, but the others spread out. I don't know where to find a directory for Lubno, but there's a chance none of the relatives live there now.
alexandra - | 26  
14 Jan 2007 /  #22
In the 90-ties there were only 24 people bearing name Kociełko in Poland and 5 of them lived in Przemyśl region. May be your family.

I'm afraid you won't find a directory on the net as in Poland we have something like "protection of people's data" and access to this data is limited. There was a directory but it disappeared from the net :-(
jcsm 3 | 88  
14 Jan 2007 /  #23
Everything that is not older than 100 years is kept in both parishes and USC.

Are the USC records located in the towns?
alexandra - | 26  
15 Jan 2007 /  #24
There are hundreds of USC in Poland as this is also a place where you can get married or get for example a death cerificate and other documents but first you have to prove that you are a very close relative of a person whose documents you want for example son, daughter, husband, grandson etc. not a cousin!
jcsm 3 | 88  
15 Jan 2007 /  #25
Having trouble figuring out the site......These are governor's offices? Embassies? County offices?
What would be the address for the correct USC (Stands for?) for>

Mucharz, Poland

How far back do the records go?
Patrycja19 63 | 2,699  
15 Jan 2007 /  #26
just start the contact at top of page , write a letter with the name, place, dates
they will direct you to the right one.

ask also the cost.

I am stuck on earlier records before 1792. not in SE Poland, anyway, good luck.
alexandra - | 26  
15 Jan 2007 /  #27
USC stands for Urząd Stanu Cywilnego and it means (according to dictionary) Public Registrar's Office
There is USC in Mucharz so I copied this information for you and later you've got a link to this page

USC: Mucharz (1218052)
Ulica: 226
Miasto: 34-106 Mucharz
Tel: +48 33 876-14-68
Fax: +48 33 876-14-83

If you want to make a contact with them, you have to write an official letter (in Polish I'm afraid) and write briefly what you want. I'm afraid they won't answer your e-mail especially if you're asking about someone's data. All data they have is AFTER 1906.
jcsm 3 | 88  
15 Jan 2007 /  #28
Got it. Thanks so much for the information, Alexandra & Patrycja.

One more question.

The Catholic priest of Mucharz was kind enough to send me extracts of records for my family, bring me back two more generations. Although, I requested death information on my great, grandparents (their birth records were provided), this information was not included. I know that they both died in Mucharcz in their 80's & since they were born in the 1860's that would put their deaths in 1940's or early 1950's. So ......Can the USC office help or would it be better to contact the priest again?
Patrycja19 63 | 2,699  
15 Jan 2007 /  #29
If you want to make a contact with them, you have to write an official letter (in Polish I'm afraid) and write briefly what you want. I'm afraid they won't answer your e-mail especially if you're asking about someone's data. All data they have is AFTER 1906.

my bad, good to know that, I did get a response, but from the archives. polish and

anyway. this good to know.

koach, I found your original posts, I will look again. sorry about the repeating
myself. :) Patty
alexandra - | 26  
16 Jan 2007 /  #30
jcsm, if you have birth records of your great grandparents why do you want also their death extracts? You will find very similar data like in their birth records. The priest was very kind to send you their birth extracts and I think he dropped their death ones because information included in these documents repeated. I wouldn't ask about it again. I ask about someone's death extract only when I have no idea WHEN and WHERE someone could have been born. However the most interesting documents are marriage contracts as they include the most useful information and from both sides. For the same reason I would't also write to USC as it's the waste of time and money.

I will tell you how I do. I arrange a meeting with a priest in an office and try to make photos of all interesting me records with my digital camera. Then I can show them to my family. I don't have to explain what emotion it is to find for example birth records of our ancestors in these old documents. That's why I very rarely ask about exctracts. It's not the same as they are new without a spirit of the past! I know that you live far away and it's easy to say but think about holidays. May be one day you will come for a couple of days and will photograph all these documents yourself. May be you will find home where your great grandparents where born etc.

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