(follow along with a map of our trip: http://bit.ly/1U552Gcg)
On Thursday morning August 27th, we had breakfast and headed towards Olesnica, the hometown of my maternal grandfather. Prior to coming to Poland in 2013, I had done extensive genealogical research on my family from that area and found that my great grandfather Michal Glowniak was born in the town of Kotuszow, Poland. His father, Szymon Glownak was listed as the organist of the church of Kotuszow, where Michal and his siblings were born.
Zbignew suggested that we stop in Kotuszow prior to going to Olesnica. Kotuszow was only two miles south of our hotel, so it was a perfect location to explore the area. When we arrived in the middle of Kotuszow, we spotted the church and pulled off to see if we could look inside. As we were walking towards the front of the church there were two couples standing out front. Three of them had started to walk away, but one elderly gentleman stopped and spoke with Zbignew. After a brief conversation he literally almost ran across the street. I asked Zbignew where he was going and he commented that this gentleman was the caretaker of the church. When he learned my family had lived in the area he offered to show us inside.
It’s a surreal feeling being in a church that was built in 1661. As we walked inside, the caretaker pointed out certain areas of the church to us and gave us a full tour. You could tell he was proud of the church and of the area. Zbignew asked him about my family, and while he did not recognize the name from the area, he did know that there were some Glowniaks in Pacanow and Olesnica. We spent almost an hour getting a tour of the church and its surroundings. One thing he pointed out to us as we were standing outside, was a machine gun that had been attached to the church tower during World War II. It was left there as a reminder of what had happened. We thanked the caretaker and I was so touched that what he had done I asked if I could take a picture with him. He was shocked and graciously accepted. We thanked him again and headed out towards Olesnica.