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About a month ago, I sent a list of questions to Cathy MacAlpine, my second cousin (and daughter of my great aunt Helen – my grandfather’s sister)… while I’m still hoping to meet Helen in person one of these days, I thought I would share the info she sent today:

“Before I start I need to explain that I am not so good on a computer so this will be in letter form. I asked all of the questions but she only remembered the answers to maybe a quarter of them. So here goes: Helen’s mom was from Krakow, Poland. Her mom’s maiden name was Helen Vidalski. She came alone to America. The story is that the sailor’s helped her and hid her on the boat. Helen ( my mom ) never met her grandparents nor any members of their family.Helen’s father was Jozef Tryba and lived from 1879-1958. He is buried in St. Joseph Cemetary in Webster. Helen’s father did have a sister in Webster. Her last name was Sacka. She lived on Dresser St. Helen’s father was a cement mason.He had a hand deformity or it was rumored that the missing fingers were eaten by pigs.elen herself: was born April 1918. She was born in Webster and lived on Harris Street. At school age she lived on Sibley Ave where Anna Fijal and Barbara now live. She had many brothers and sisters and now only she and Anna are living. They went in age: Joseph ( BUD) Mary, Veronica (VEE), Julia, Albert ( GEORGE ), John ( his wife called him SAM ) Andrew ( TEMP ) Helen (Temp’s wife called her HILDA ), Peter (SAILOR ), and Anna. Josaphine and Valentine were born after Anna but died of childhood illness, 4 or 5 years old, not in school yet. My mother called her brother Andrew, CRAWFISH when they playfully argued as children because they were close in age. Bud seemed to favor Helen and Anna and always took them shopping and gave them money for treats and the movies. Helen hated school. Geography and History were her worst subjects. Helen quit school after 8th grade. She stayed home and did housework. Her mother would not let her get a job at first. When she did get one she like the rest of the children, had to turn over their paycheck.When my mother planned her wedding she finally stood up to her mother and refused to give over most of it to save for her wedding dress, etc. My mom married my dad when she was 29 and he was 31.That’s basically all she remembers. Doris and John spent much time as adults with your grandparents Elsie and Bud. Hope you find this helpful.”

More to come on this story – but I’m very excited to share that I’ve just returned from a trip to Poland… and was able to find some of our cousins still living in the little hamlet (village?) of Cwikow (pronounced “Ch-vick-ov”). LOTS and lots to share… and photos too!… so stay tuned!!

I believe the Tryba and Ciesla side of the family both come from the Southeastern region of Poland, the Tatra mountain area. This is beautiful country and I highly recommend you visit if you can. These are the Alpine-esque mountains where the poor used to rob from the traveling rich and redistribute among the villagers.

The relative that Lynn met on the family farm was P. Czeslaw Ciesla (Babci’s side of the family), who is most likely passed on by now, as he seemed to be about 70 when she met him about 20 years ago. Address was 33264 Cwikow 13 (Cwikow is the name of the village.), Woj. Tarnow, Poland.

Got a family story to share? Good, bad, funny, sad… we want ‘em all!

We’re particularly looking for information about past generations… where we came from, who our family members are/were, etc.

Feel free to post photos, scans of letters, documents, etc. And if you prefer to send a story or two that might be a bit sensitive, then feel free to forward it to Lynn or Kimberly.

Thank you for your participation!