My Father’s Genealogy

The history and genealogy of my family on my father’s side is

difficult to write. Not because it is complicated or shrouded in mystery

or intrigue, but because there is no written history of it; no documents,

no diaries, no letters. What little exists has been passed down verbally

from my Dad’s grandparents, to his parents, to him and now to me. There

are neither records nor communication before my great-grandparent’s birth

in the very first decade of the 20th century. I asked my Dad how that

could be so? He answered somewhat apologetically and almost with

“I think it was really three things. They lived through some very

trying and tragic times; WWI, WWII, the Holocaust, and after the

Second World War, the annexation and occupation by the communist

U.S.S.R. Secondly, what little documentation existed was destroyed

or lost during or after the trauma of the wars. But most of all, I

think that my parents and grandparents just wanted to forget the

horrors of their young lives and didn’t want to preserve anything to

remember their horrible past.”

But what little my Dad knew, he told me. Our family’s immigration was the

same as so many other Poles during the 1950’s and 1960’s; to escape the war-

torn-instable nation of Poland for the “City on a hill:” Chicago

My Dad was born in Poland in 1960 as was my uncle one year prior in

1959. They grew up in a sleepy farming community in a town called Debrzno,

home to 1000 people and “1000 pigs, sheep, and cows” (Marcinkowski). His

real name is Wieslaw Grezgorz Marcinkowski; he goes by Greg since as he

says, “it’s just all so unpronounceable.” His mother and father’s names

are Krystyna and Mieczyslaw or Kristina and Matthew. The whole family grew

up quite poor, supporting themselves on a few acres of meager farmland.

None of my grandparents or great-grandparents ever received more than a 6th…

Rita P. Callahan

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