as in Polish, and not Polish :)
Why am I talking about Poland, and the Polish? Well, unlike so many in this country (I have no tolerance for racist and prejudice people) I'm not talking about it/them in a derogatory way. I'm talking about them because my Great-Grandparents on my Maternal side, were Polish. I guess that makes me 1/16th? *those of you doing the maths now, screaming at me "No, you fool, you're 1/8th, think about it.. I may not be the best at Maths, but I have 2 parents, so therefore the amount would be divided again, because I'm not all my Mum*. Actually I could be 1/64th couldn't I, because would my Mum be 1/4 or 1/8? Now I'm confused.. hahaha. Whatever the total, the fact remains, my Great Grandparents were Polish.
We knew my Mum's, Dad was American (it's his parents who emigrated from Poland to the USA) but hadn't ever thought about where his family may have originated from to begin with, or how far back his ancestors went. Obviously every white person on US soil came from elsewhere in the world, but he could have been a 7th or 8th generation American; as it turned out, he was a 1st generation one.
My brother started researching our family history (on both sides of the family) over a decade ago now, and while he started with some really well, finding people easily, there were others that slowed him down a bit. His research on the Polish side has only been able to get back to our Great Great Grandparents so far, purely because Polish records are not as easy to access as British ones are (he's gone back to the 1600's on Mums maternal side).
What we didn't know, until yesterday, is that our Great great uncle has a square in Salem, MA (home of the famous Salem witch trials) named after him :) Konstanty Wesolowski is the older brother of one of my great grandparents. How exciting is that? I can hear a few of you right now saying "Not exciting at all" but for me, it really is. I come from blood lines that (on the whole) are quite boring. There is nothing 'out-of-the-ordinary' with any of our family members, so to find a relation (albeit not a direct descendant, he's a relation just-the-same) has an area named after him, is an exciting find. The Salem, MA connection was not such a surprise, as we found that's where my Grandfather was born when my brother first started to look into him, and his origins.
Saything there was "nothing-out-of-the-ordinary" is not totally true. My paternal Great Grandfather had shares in Aston Villa football club (they were from the Aston area of Birmingham) however, when he died, my Grandfather's older brother ended up taking all the shares (not in a legal way from what I've been told) and basically fleeced the rest of them out of their shares - that happens a lot in families when there is an older brother, so is to be expected, I guess.
Not only did we find that out yesterday, we also learned that the village where our Great Grandmother was born and raised (she left when she was 19) houses less than a dozen properties, some of which (as of today) are original buildings still standing, so there may one day be a family trip to Poland, to see if we can find out more from their local records. For all we know, the people living there could well be cousins or ours.
I understand now, why so many people enjoy genealogy. It's truly fascinating.
My brother and Mum have taken the Ancestry.co.uk DNA testing - turns out he's not adopted!!! :) I might do one, although my results won't throw up anything else we don't already know, but it would be interesting to find if I have more of my Mum, or Dad, in my genetic make-up. It would also be interesting to find out how "British" I am (although I am English - and no, Lawrence whats-your-face who designs hideous rooms - calling myself English does not make me a racist (you twat). I was born in England, therefore I am English; just as the Scots are Scottish, the Welsh, well, they're Welsh!! and the Irish are Irish - we just happen to share an island and are collectively known as British). Anyway, I was digressing; my brother is a very large portion British. I'd like to know if I am more here, or there. My brother also had a small amount of Scandinavian on his results - my Mum had a much bigger portion, so it would appear, somewhere along the maternal line, there were Vikings - off to claim my helmet with horns :)
One thing I do know about my brother, and I, is that our eye colour is normally only seen in people from the Eastern European countries and is quite rare on our own soil! I'd never thought about that before a friend said he'd never met anyone with the eye colour I have (they're not green, or hazel, but somewhere in between with flecks of gold - I can't say I ever thought them "odd" - myself, yes, I've been 'odd' my whole life :) )