Jump start your Polish genealogy research

The Polish Genealogy Society of America (PGSA) has scheduled their 2015 Conference for Saturday September 26 and it will feature four great speakers. If your family lived on Chicago’s south side, mark your calendar for Friday September 25 and join the PGSA bus tour of the Polish churches and neighborhoods where your ancestors lived.

The conference will be held at the Chicago Marriott Midway at 6520 S. Cicero Avenue in Chicago. On Saturday morning, Ginger Frere will discuss the golden nuggets that you can find in community and local government resources including NARA at Great Lakes. The second session in the morning will be led by Ellie Carlson who will give you insights on dating your pictures by identifying the period clothes you see.

The conference luncheon will feature entertainment by the Keith Stras and Rick Rzeszutko Polka Radio Show and will be followed by the keynote speaker Dominic Pacyga. His talk is titled “Polish Chicago: From Fourth Partition to Suburbia” and will describe the emigration of four million Poles from the Russian, Austrian and German partitions to the United States between 1870 and 1920 in search of a better life. Their relocation is referred to as “the Fourth Partition.”

Both afternoon sessions will be given by Ola Heska. In the first afternoon session learn how to obtain vital records from the Polish State Archives website with step-by-step instruction. Free Wi-Fi is available to allow you to follow along on your laptop or tablet. The second session will cover two exciting new Polish websites Geneteka and Metryki. Learn how to search for ancestors in these databases that have been indexed by the Polish Genealogical Society (PTG). Learn how to obtain the digitized vital records that are now available online.

The bus tour on Friday will include stops and tours of the “original” Sears-Roebuck water tower, St. Adalbert Parish in the Pilsen neighborhood, St. Mary of Perpetual Help Parish in Bridgeport, the Pullman Railroad Car Company site and St. Michael the Archangel Parish in the South Shore neighborhood. More views along the bus route will include the Spiegel Warehouse, the 1893 Columbian Exposition Fair Grounds, Immaculate Conception Parish, over Blues Brothers movie ‘bridge,’ the site of US Steel mills and more.

Plan to stay at the Chicago Marriott Midway. The hotel is conveniently located close to Midway Airport and a discounted room rate of $99 per night has been arranged for a limited number of conference attendees..

Life is short. Your efforts in attending the PGSA conference will be rewarded with a wealth of new sources to find information for your family history.

Visit www. PGSA.org for registration information and more detail.

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