Travel from Skulsk to Olesnica, Swietokrzyskie Voivodeship

follow along with a map of our trip

On the morning of August 26, we ate breakfast and packed up and started our long journey to the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship. For the most part, this was going to be mostly a travel day to get from point A to point B. Regardless, we got to see a lot of the Polish countryside, which is beautiful in itself.

While we were traveling, I had my phone set up so I could tag the towns and villages that we were going through as we drove through them. Unfortunately, in a few instances, I’d no more than tag the location and 10 seconds later we would drive past the sign showing that we were leaving the area.

The one city that seem to go on forever and ever was Lodz. I remember Zbignew warning us in advance that it was a rather large city. Unfortunately, we hit it at a time during rush hour traffic.

About halfway through our journey we stopped for lunch at PAUSA Bar Restaurant Café. I had my first taste of pork in Poland and it was absolutely amazing.

As we started heading towards our destination, Zbigniew made a side trip to a castle and museum. We took a long hike up and had the opportunity to see Chęciny Castle. (photos)
some may say that I’m obsessed with the medieval time., There’s nothing more beautiful than see some of these old castles and churches that have lasted centuries.

After fueling up and restocking our water supplies, we headed towards our hotel, Cztery Wiatry Spa & Sport Resort which was still another few hours away. This particular hotel was in a very remote location. I don’t think I would’ve found it without Zbigniew. It was deep in the middle of nowhere in the woods.

When we finally arrived at our hote,l we got some last-minute food and drink and headed up to our rooms to prepare for the next day. We were scheduled to head to Olesnica to see if I could finally find my maternal grandfather’s family. As we briefly talked in a room, we said good night and I started to unpack.

It couldn’t have been more than five minutes and I heard a knock at our door. It was our guide Zbigniew. Zbigniew had a smile on his face and said, ”oh by the way, tomorrow we will be visiting your family in Olesnica.” I’m pretty sure the look on my face was priceless. In that little bit of time that he had left, he did a quick search of the phone book and called the first few Glowniaks in the book. On the second try he reached Kazmierz Glowniak, who was the son of my grandfather’s brother! He spoke with Kazmierz and his wife briefly, and asked him if he knew of Stanislaw Glowniak, who went to America. Kazmierz immediately replied, “yes that was my uncle!” He invited us to come see him the following day! Despite being absolutely exhausted from the day I had difficulty sleeping that night due to sheer excitement.

2015 Poland Trip – Part 1

Krakow, Poland

Krakow, Poland

In August 2015, my wife Denise and I took a trip to Poland. I had been to Poland in 2013, met some family members, and saw some of Poland. The trip had a profound impact on me and I really wanted to go back. We had originally planned to go in 2014, but were unable to do so. When the opportunity presented itself to go in 2015, we jumped at it.

I would love to start telling you the story of our trip, but I think it would be best to inform you of the issues we had prior to going there.

We made the purchase of our airline tickets on We both sat down together and worked out what we thought would be the best times for both departure and return flights. We both looked at the information on the screen repeatedly and even asked each other numerous times, are you sure, are you sure, before we clicked purchase. We ordered our tickets, looked at the information on the screen and on the paperwork but somehow missed the obvious. (wait for it)

Meantime, prior to our trip, I had contacted, run by Zenon Znamirowski and company. I had done some business with them in the past, mostly genealogy work, and knew that they offered tours of Poland. When I contacted them, I inquired about a genealogy based tour. I’ve been keeping notes on my family since I was a child, and have in my possession many photographs from the early 1900’s of my family. For some reason, I knew these would come in handy someday, so I never got rid of them. For the last 10 years I’ve really focused a lot of time and resources on trying to find as much information as possible on my ancestral lines.

I decided to pick because I felt they could not only help me with my research, and see the ancestral grounds of my ancestors, but most importantly, they could help me find family. That was key for me! They had pages and pages of good reviews, not only for the company but for their guides. I spent a lot of time reading the reviews on the PolishOrigins website, and what I read reinforced my decision.

So I created a two-week itinerary and sent it to They altered and focused it based on availability of their guides and what would be the best route for travel overall.  They handled everything from the hiring guides for major cities, to booking and finding our hotels. I can tell you from my experiences in 2013 that finding hotels in Poland can be difficult at best. It’s not like in America where you can just drive off the highway and expect to find a hotel within a few miles. You could drive for hours sometimes and not see a hotel in the Polish countryside. Many of them are on off road locations and finding them would be difficult, even for the most experienced traveler. It’s easy to locate a hotel in a larger city, but even there sometimes it can be difficult during peak travel months.

Polish Countryside.

Polish Countryside.

After a month of working with PolishOrigins we finally finalized the trip itinerary. Two weeks before we were supposed to leave my wife Denise comes downstairs and says is this a typo? She is holding a copy of our flight manifest. We were supposed to return from our trip on September 6, however, somehow the return date was listed as to September 13. and the insurance we had obtained with our tickets were absolutely no help in resolving our issue. They wanted an astronomical $900-$1500 per seat to change the date back. For that price, we realized we could stay in Poland for an additional week and spend less money.

So, now in panic mode, we had to work out details in a very short time. Luckily my wife was able to get the additional time off from work, and both my family in Poland and PolishOrigins jumped to our rescue in regards to our additional time and itinerary changes. I can tell you that PolishOrigins went out of their way to help us, rearranging hotels and guides and calmed a panic situation.

When you’re dealing with a genealogy based tour, always prepare for changes in your itinerary. After the return flight issue was resolved, I foolishly believed we were all set and everything would be fine. That was not the case.

The very reason why I was going to Poland to begin with was to see where my grandparents had come from and to meet family. My maternal grandmother was the one who really got me into genealogy, and when I was there in 2013, I was unable to find anything on her family. Her family hailed from a little village called Skulsk.  She had spoken about her family so frequently and told me so much information on Poland that I fell in love with it from childhood.

Village of Skulsk, Poland

Village of Skulsk, Poland

While I am a professional genealogist, and I’m very knowledgeable on Polish records available online, more recent records are held at the civil record offices in the towns and villages, or within the archives.  Contacting the archives can sometimes take months to get records back.  So PolishOrigins helped get me in contact with a genealogist prior to my trip, Katarzyna Grycza.  Katarzyna traveled to my grandmother’s village and was able to locate some more recent records on my grandmother’s family. I was so excited when I received an email from her, telling me she had located the married names of my grandmother’s two sisters, something I’d previously not known. She was also able to locate some children’s names of one of the sisters, and the death date of one of those children. That death date would become instrumental in making contact with the family.

Information Katarzyna located was then handed off to our genealogy guide who would be spending the first 10 days with us, Zbigniew Stettner of Before I tell you what happened to throw the itinerary into a tizzy again let me explain to you why we were working with another company,

I think it’s important for people to know how works in relation to helping you with your trip, such as a genealogy based tour. PolishOrigins hires out to reputable subcontractors. These subcontractors, such as Zbigniew at, are the best in the business. If you’re visiting a city, they will hire you a guide who will show you things in that city you’ve never seen or heard about before. They also help you locate hotels, get tickets, and try to help you plan your entire tour so that you get the most out of it possible.

So back to the itinerary change.

Zbigniew Stettner, I can’t say enough good things about him. Nine days before we were supposed to go on our trip to Poland, Zbigniew contacted me and told me he had found some descendants of my grandmother’s family. Remember the death date that had been located earlier? Zbigniew made contact with the civil record offices of the town mentioned in the death listing and found that the descendants of my grandmother’s family still resided there. He spoke with them at length on the phone and they were very interested in meeting me. He was able to gather a lot of information on the family, that matched a lot of my notes. I was so excited and amazed.  I had finally found my grandmother’s family and was going to be able to meet them, I couldn’t believe this was finally happening. I’d made a promise to my grandmother when I was a child that someday I would go to Poland, see where she came from, and find out what had happened to her family. The last part of the promise was about to be fulfilled. This family lived minutes from the German border, five hours away from Torun, where we would be spending our first few days. I couldn’t pass up this opportunity!  So again, PolishOrigins to the rescue as we had to alter our itinerary for the first three days, and add and cancel hotels that had already been booked.

Another itinerary change…

It’s unfortunate that it happened, but a week later, the daughter of the family he had located had contacted Zbigniew and told him they did not know anything about their family prior to their grandmother, who was my grandmother’s sister. They did not want to be bothered, which was a first for any of the guides and for PolishOrigins.  I felt terrible and was very upset, but based on what I was told, it made sense. The information that had been given to Zbigniew was that the family was taken to Germany during World War II and knew nothing about their ancestral past. The daughter did not know what we wanted and they were very leery of strangers. The reality of it was that I was just trying to keep a promise, and to possibly answer some questions in regards to my grandmother’s family that have plagued us to this day. This did put somewhat of a damper initially on my trip, but PolishOrigins came to the rescue again, canceling and booking hotel rooms and altering our already over altered itinerary just three days before we were supposed to arrive.

After the final round of itinerary changes our trip was set. No, really, it was!

Part two coming soon!

2015 Poland Trip

In August 2015, my wife Denise and I took a trip to Poland. Read about our custom guided genealogy tour with

Welcome PolishOrigins Newsletter Viewers!
Thank you for your interest in my trip. If you need genealogy assistance in the United States or are considering a trip to Poland and need some advice, please contact me. I would be happy to assist you!
For first time travelers, view my page titled “Traveling to Poland”. This was created based on my own travel experiences. It gives you an idea of what to expect and bring for a better overall experience.


The streets of Tarnow, Poland.

The streets of Tarnow, Poland.

Skulsk, Poland, Hasinski & Chabecki Surname


Skulsk, Poland – Sept 2013

Skusk, Poland holds a special place in my heart. The person who was the reason I got into genealogy, my maternal grandmother was born in Skulsk. She lived with my mom & dad till her passing in 1985. I spent countless hours listening to her tell me stories about her family, her village and her travels from Poland to America. It had a profound impact on me.

As a child I made a promise to her that someday I would go back to Poland and visit the areas she came from and find her family. In 2013 I took the voyage back and when I stood upon the grounds of Skulsk and Warzymowo, it was a very emotional experience.

Unfortunately I was unable to spend much time in Skulsk and her family surnames (Hasinski, Chabecki & Witowska) weren’t recognized by anyone we spoke with. I can only assume that somewhere within one of the local villages there is someone elderly who is a descendants of one of her two sisters that stayed behind.

Gathering genealogical records from this particular area has been difficult to say the least. Many records were lost and those that survived have gaps in them. My grandmothers birth date has always been a topic of controversy as she told most of the family she came over to America much younger than she actually was and lied about her age to get in.

One sister I know for sure that stayed behind was a Bronislawa (Barbara) Hasinska, who was born in Warzymowo on 17 May 1886. I know for sure she survived both WWI & WWII because my mom and her sister recall my grandmother sending packages to her sister when they were kids, and that was “after they had to hide if planes went overhead”. (they were told to hide when planes went overheard during WWII)

According to the story, my grandmother sent a wedding dress to her sister, for her either her niece or nieces daughters wedding.

I would presume with the time period being early to late 1940s, it would be her nieces daughter. Even being 1940, that’s only 74 years and chances are someone still survives.

to be continued…
Entering Skulsk, Poland