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Trip to Poland - the land of my ancestors

singingfalls 3 | 50
1 Apr 2017 #1
According to my DNA test databases and according to my genealogical records my family from hundreds of years comes from Southern Poland. My paternal grandmother came from Adamówka, Przeworsk, Podkarpackie, Poland. Both of my maternal grandparents came from Luchów Gorny, Bilgoraj, Lublin, Poland. The records go back hundreds of years. Through a second cousin who contacted me I know the exact place my paternal grandmother was born. This is all very special to me. My paternal grandfather, though he claimed to be Polish of Russian nationality was born in the village of Khrabuzna, Khmel'nyts'ka oblast, Ukraine.

I plan to come to Poland with my wife May 29th and will leave June 14th. Is it going to be difficult for me to get to Khrabuzna from Poland? Are there suggestions for us on this journey? Here are some of our wishes:

Although we are not Jewish my wife has studied what the Nazi regime has done to Poland for almost 40 years. She wants to see things related to that history.

When I was a boy ( a long time ago) I would visit my grandparents often. Babush made most of their food homemade. Kilbasa, pierogi, kasha, kisha, beet borscht, creamed mushroom soup (best on planet earth), duck blood soup (that was hard for me to take) and many other items. She even grew medicinal herbs in her small Philadelphia back yard garden. When I would go to her kitchen Dzjadek would be sitting at the table with a bottle of vodka and a huge picture of Our Lady of Częstochowa over his head on the wall. He was a very hard worker and provided for the family well. I am not Catholic but I would very much like to see this image. The salt mine.

I have found second and third cousins. They are in Podkarpackie/Lublin area. One family lives in the Krakow area and several live not far from Zamosc. They and their families are important to me. They range in age from teenagers to mid 50's. What do you suppose I could bring from the USA to them as token gifts? When I was young in the 1950's my grandmother took trips back to Poland with my aunt many times. They took with them to Poland boxes and boxes of things for the family that stayed behind after she immigrated. I will be limited regarding what I can carry on my luggage but I want something meaningful to bring them. Not candy etc. Cloths are OK. What else.

I am a crusty old Vietnam war veteran and usually do not get emotionally moved by much. It is very rare that I do. This trip on the other hand has me stirred deep in my heart. It is difficult for me to explain. In my youth as a young man traveled all over the world as a soldier and after that as a wanderer for several years. Never has my heart been touched like this. Maybe because I am old is the reason.

Any advice is appreciated.
gregy741 5 | 1,696
1 Apr 2017 #2
i know that area very well..was born there..south east Poland best..Roztocze,Solina .ect.
as for traveling to Khmielnitzky from Poland..czech flights trains or minibuses from przeworsk,rzeszow,
i think there are trains from rzeszow towards Lviv and deeper into Ukraine.

this one better..some mii bus to khmelnitskyi :
delphiandomine 88 | 18,454
1 Apr 2017 #3
Is it going to be difficult for me to get to Khrabuzna from Poland? Are there suggestions for us on this journey? Here are some of our wishes:

I'll try and find time tonight, but if not, I'll reply to you tomorrow with more detailed information and a sample guide on how to get there and other places. Can you tell me which airport you will arrive into / depart from? I'd love to help you make the most of the trip.

It won't be easy to get to Khrabuzna, but I can probably plan it for you so that it's relatively painless (but do be warned that it will involve quite a bit of travel - it might be better to get a private driver from Lviv rather than trying to deal with Ukrainian trains/buses). But I'll give you several options so you can decide what will be best for yourself - one advantage of a private driver is that he can talk to people in the village and try and trace more of the story for you.
1 Apr 2017 #4
Is it going to be difficult for me to get to Khrabuzna from Poland?

I've had a quick look and it doesn't appear to be so much difficult as very time consuming. Not sure which airport you are flying into, but the easiest departure route would be from Rzeszów to Khmelnytskyi. From there you could get a taxi/bus to Khrabuzna.

It's possible to get a bus there, but it's a long trip, anything between 10 1/2 and 13 hours depending on which one you get. For example:-

I don't think you and your wife would be that comfortable on a bus trip that long.

Unfortunately the train isn't a much better option either. I checked on which gives the most reliable and up to date information, and there is a sleeper train from Rzeszów ( I've put a random date in during your trip ), but that takes 14 hours, with a prolonged stop in Lviv ( almost 3 hours )

Even by car it is about a 6 hour trip as it is roughly 420 km away from Rzeszów.
A private driver would be the best solution if money isn't an issue, but I have no idea how you would go about getting one. Maybe others here can advise.

Never has my heart been touched like this. Maybe because I am old is the reason.

Different things become more important as we get older, and let's face it, you're going to visit the countries of your ancestors! Very exciting and emotional for you :-) Wishing you a fantastic holiday, and hoping you get to achieve everything on your list.

Just checked the link and for some reason it hasn't put the destinations in. You will have to enter them, but Khmelnytskyi is spelled as Chmelnizkij on this site.
1 Apr 2017 #5
Forgot to add, depending on where in Poland you are flying into, it might be easier and a lot quicker to get a flight to Lviv, and travel onward from there.
gregy741 5 | 1,696
1 Apr 2017 #6
well,in south east area there is alot of them minibuses going around..its very popular transport.and with this mass Ukrainians immigration,am syre there are alot of them in Przeworsk,przemysl tomaszow lubelski or Rzeszow.

I was in Bilgoraj couple of years ago,and even there were quite few minibuses going to Ukraine.thing is ,its kinda hard to find any reliable departure times online.they are very fast and cheap..tho i dont like em cus drivers are mad fast. i dont feel to safe in them

Lviv would be easy to get to by bus or train .but Khmielnitsky area i dont know
OP singingfalls 3 | 50
2 Apr 2017 #7
Thank you all for your kind attention. I have a second cousin who lives and works in Adamówka. Perhaps he would be able to arrange something for me. I do not want to trouble him since he is a young man and probably very busy. June 1st is my birthday. So one way or the other I would like that to be spent where most of my grandparents came from. It amazes me that they lived only 3 miles apart as the crow flies and did not know each other. One was in Galicia and two where in the Russian partition.

Thank you gregy741. It wouldn't be bad to see the countryside from a train. That is a strong possibility.
Thank you delphiandomine. Khrabuzna (Chmelnizkij) is a very small village according to googleearth. Nevertheless I have been searching and someone said that there is still a surname Petraszczuk in the village. He changed his name to Petrowski and that is now my surname. My great uncle from the same village took the name Pietrowski when he immigrated. (1907). I will carefully review your studied suggestions.

My gratitude to you Chemikiem. I fairly often drive 250 miles at a time where I live here in Oregon, USA on my restoration ecology work. I have a flight from Warsaw to Krakow the first day in country. I was hoping to rent a car and drive to Podkarpackie. Settle in somewhere in that part of the country closest to my ancestral lands and explore out from there.

gregy741, this is a reasonable strategy. Perhaps my second cousin could help with this. He works in Adamówka. I will consult with him. Perhaps he could help me arrange something but your advice is more than welcome.

Thank you once again for these great ideas. Even though I have not traveled long distances very much for a long time ( I married 41 years ago and she took the wind out of my sail :) ) I am excited to now take her on an adventure like the ones I did in my youth. She has not been very far although I took her all over the USA when we first married. Now she is coming and I am anxious to see what a wonderful land Eastern Europe is. She is 95% Eastern European ethnicity according to DNA but she doesn't know the origins of her ancestors. They were forced to Armenia by the Tzar hundreds of years ago.

All I have read of this time is from books titled, "God's Playground: A History of Poland" volumes I and II by Norm Davies. It seemed extensive and well documented. So Poland was vast and great but humbled like all nations in the end. Suffice it to say this is a lifetime experience for her and I. She for her reasons and me for mine.
gregy741 5 | 1,696
2 Apr 2017 #8
Settle in somewhere in that part of the country closest to my ancestral lands and explore out from there.

Ustrzyki man..settle will have close to Solina.abit far south from your grandparents place
if too far then go for bilgoraj . quiet and clean place.they got nice pubs and restaurants. and only 10 miles from Roztocze. very rich town due to concentration of many big factories and notch restaurants and pubs
OP singingfalls 3 | 50
2 Apr 2017 #9
Here's what my AncestryDNA "community group" profile looks like.

gregy741 5 | 1,696
2 Apr 2017 #10
looks more like Kielce ,sandomierz to me. are those DNA legit?i heard they are not very reliable
OP singingfalls 3 | 50
2 Apr 2017 #11
I tested with two companies just to make sure. That is pretty much my gene pool (contemporary). I know for certain that I have a great uncle who was a university professor at Poznań. Apart from that the records I have are centered in Adamówka and Luchów Górny.
2 Apr 2017 #12
I was hoping to rent a car and drive to Podkarpackie

Well if you don't mind the distances it will certainly be easier for you to get around, but please check if the hire company you use will allow you to cross into Ukraine with their vehicle. From what I have read many hire companies won't allow you to do this. If you do find one, you will probably have to pay a higher premium.

Although things have apparently improved, depending on the crossing and time of day you may be in for a lengthy wait at the border crossing.

Your cousin in Adamówka will probably be able to give you advice on this.
OP singingfalls 3 | 50
2 Apr 2017 #13
Chemikiem, I have received similar warnings from others. We'll see what unfolds as the days for the trip. If you are interested in my tests that I've done they can be found here Please pardon the poor translation. I did it with google_translate.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,454
2 Apr 2017 #14
Settle in somewhere in that part of the country closest to my ancestral lands and explore out from there.

OK, in this case, the best thing is to take the time on Google Maps and add roughly 50% to it. Driving is quite slow in that part of the world once you come off the main A4 highway, and it's wise to take it slowly in that part of the world.

You won't be able to take a rental car to Ukraine, and I highly discourage you from driving there, but I would suggest the following:

Drive to Przemyśl and park the hire car in one of the many guarded parking stations near the train station.
Take the Przemyśl-L'viv train (it's about 5 dollars, I think)
Stay in L'viv overnight - it's a beautiful city, and I would also highly recommend securing tickets to the Opera there -

Find a private driver with a car to take you to the village. It should be possible to find one for between 100-200USD/day - for instance. It's not cheap (there are much cheaper ways to do this if you would like adventure) - but it can help you, particularly if you want to talk to people in the village about the history of the place and so on. A good guide will no doubt be able to find some elderly villagers who will have memories to share with you.

You can get reservations for the L'viv-Przemyśl train in advance through PolRail - - they have excellent customer service.

You could also spend a night in Przemyśl - it's a beautiful town and has a very unusual sloping market square.
OP singingfalls 3 | 50
2 Apr 2017 #15
Awesome delphiandomine! I am indebted to you. This sounds like a workable strategy. I copy/paste your suggestion, do google translate and send to my cousin. He may be able to arrange all this for me before I arrive which would be helpful. THNX U!
delphiandomine 88 | 18,454
2 Apr 2017 #16
My pleasure, I really hope you have a great trip! If I was doing it, I would suggest the following:

Day 1 - Drive to Przemyśl and spend a night there. Try and arrive by midday, and visit the town properly - it has an interesting castle, fascinating churches and some very interesting fortifications. It's a great place to spend a day/night.

Day 2 - take the train to Lviv, it departs about 14:30 and arrives at around 17:00. In the morning, you could also visit the Arboretum Bolestraszyce which isn't far from Przemyśl. Go to the hotel (Lviv is full of great offers - use booking), and go to the opera that evening after spending some time in the beautiful Market Square (Ploshcha Rynok). It's summer, so the city will be alive, and the park near the Opera is a wonderful place to walk.

Day 3 - get a guide and driver to take you to the village. It's a long journey, so be prepared.

Day 4 - return to Poland, the train departs from Lviv at around 12:15. You'll arrive back in Poland at around 13:30, at which point, you can carry on with the rest of the trip in Poland.

If you want, you can always go to Przemyśl in the morning of Day 2 and spend the morning/early afternoon there - the border controls are carried out on the train, so you can arrive 5 minutes before departure if you want.

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