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Memories of Dziadka
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Rural life in the Kingdom of Poland 1880-1912
and Immigration to America

by Stephen Szabados

From the author: This book is about the life of a Polish immigrant from the Russian partition of Poland. It first describes the area where he was born. The next chapter lists many facts and activities of his early life in rural Polish Russia. The third chapter describes the customs and traditions that his family celebrated as he grew to manhood. Chapter Four discusses the possible reasons for his decision to leave his family and the land of his birth. Chapter Five describes his trek across Poland and Germany to the port of Bremerhaven, his experience in the port and his voyage across the North Atlantic Ocean. The next chapter discusses his arrival in America and the process for admittance to the United States after leaving the ship. This chapter also describes his train trip from Philadelphia to Bloomington, Illinois. Chapter Seven details his life in America.

I wanted to put some of the interesting stories that I had of Polish immigrants together in one place to make it easy for other people to read and understand their hardships. My hope in writing this book is to share the information about the daily lives of the Polish people living in the rural areas of Poland.

I used my grandfather as the central figure in this book but this is not his biography. I used details of my grandfather’s life but added accounts of other people to tell a complete life story. My grandfather was not a person whose accomplishments would be in history books. However, his life is an example of a typical Polish immigrant in the early 1900s. I chose to tie all of the stories and information to one person to make this a more interesting story. I felt this method would be easier to show the impact of various events have on someone’s life.

When writing your family history, remember to “put some meat on the bones of your ancestors.” They were more than the names and dates on the documents. Use the pictures in the family albums. Save and label these precious photos. Find stories that tell how they interacted with their neighbors, friends and family. Include information about social history and the events that may have impacted their lives. Ask yourself what their lives were like and find accounts that will explain their actions.

pb. 134 pp.
6 x 9 inches



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