How do I find my Polish grandfather
November 10, 2008 2:34 AM   Subscribe

My father and his mother were separated from his father by events in WWII in Poland. I'd like to find him. I've tried a few things but would much appreciate more help. Are there any Polish Mefites out there or anyone who has searched for people who are probably dead.

My grandfather was a Psychiatrist in Poland who was in the Polish Army who managed to survive the war. He sought a divorce from my grandmother after the war but was at least alive in 1950. I have his birth date and know what he was in life and have one web page that refers to him. But beyond this I don't have anything.

I've called the Polish consulate in my city but they were pretty unhelpful. I've looked online for services that have records but they all look dodgy. Some may not be, but all of them look poor. Are there any reliable services that find people like this? Are there any in Poland?

I don't speak Polish so web searching is heavily curtailed.

Any help would be appreciated.
posted by sien to Human Relations (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
My second name is pretty rare, as in there are only two or three dozen or so in the Warsaw phonebook. I won't put my name up here as I'm reticent to connect my identity here with a real name and thus onto google and whatnot, but I'll mail it to people.
posted by sien at 2:41 AM on November 10, 2008


From reading literature about WWII and thereafter, I believe that the Red Cross deals with people separated by war. It might be an idea to simply contact them and ask if they can help.
posted by dhoe at 3:09 AM on November 10, 2008


Here's a link: Red Cross International Family Tracing Services.
posted by dhoe at 3:12 AM on November 10, 2008


I don't think the Red Cross is the right place to go (although, it doesn't hurt your search to try). Your grandfather was not lost during the War; he filed for divorce after the war, and has not had contact with his ex-wife and child since the divorce, right? That may explain why people are not able to help -- he's not lost; he doesn't want to be found.

Does your father and grandmother know you are searching for him? They may be your best bet for information (but may also not want to help).
posted by Houstonian at 3:54 AM on November 10, 2008


Do you know what city he was born in? Where he and your grandmother were married? Where he filed for divorce? Those would be good places to begin. My sense of Poles in general is they don't move around as much as Americans do--so, wherever he was in 1950, it's a fair bet he's still there. Parish records can be useful as well.

I don't really have any experience with geneological researcha, but I can nose around if you like.
posted by orrnyereg at 5:02 AM on November 10, 2008


My mum has done quite a lot of geneaological research; I believe ancestry.com is one of the most powerful tools to use. It's not free but has a free trial.
posted by katrielalex at 7:30 AM on November 10, 2008


Do you know where he went to university? Some universities have pretty extensive alumni registries.
posted by whoaali at 8:42 AM on November 10, 2008


Do you know what city he was born in? Where he and your grandmother were married? Where he filed for divorce? Those would be good places to begin. My sense of Poles in general is they don't move around as much as Americans do--so, wherever he was in 1950, it's a fair bet he's still there. Parish records can be useful as well.


I think this is often true in Europe, and it's a great place to start looking. There may be an issue if he was originally from Eastern Poland, since the Soviet Union took a chunk of it.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:24 PM on November 10, 2008


Thanks for the answers thus far. I'll try the red cross and see what I can find from the people who have mailed me.

The suggestions are pretty helpful, believe or not I have not gone through getting all the information that I have access to.
posted by sien at 1:43 PM on November 10, 2008


I think the genealogy angle is a good start. Look for a Polish Interest Group in your area, and you'll find people who know more than you can imagine about how local Polish records are kept (or survived) and may even have personal contacts (through a jump or two) that can help you find him or confirm his status.

Cyndi's List - Poland
posted by dhartung at 3:11 PM on November 10, 2008


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