Meeting Family Twenty Years Ago

It was twenty years ago today that I arrived in Lipnica Wielka, my home in southern Poland for seven years. Upon arriving, I wrote in my journal:

It has taken so much time to reach this point. I am a Peace Corps Volunteer, sitting in my apartment at my site, Lipnica Wielka. In a way I want to cry – not from happiness or sadness. It’s just from relief. I finally made it.

At the time, I was so strung out and excited that I didn’t even realize that it was also my mother’s birthday. And today, thinking about the fact that it’s Nana’s birthday, I had no idea that it was also the twentieth anniversary of my arrival in Poland. One eclipsed the other, and then they changed roles and did it again.

The Boy having his evening snack

The Boy having his evening snack

The seeds of my own family start on that day as well. I didn’t meet K immediately, but it was only a matter of weeks after that I met K in a small bar that served as a dance hall — a disco as it was called — on Saturday evenings for local youngsters (at least that’s how I view the 18-25 bracket now). Twenty years later, we’ve started a new branch of our family trees.


The Girl picking pictures for a class project

The final connection for today: out of the blue, I decided to tinker the other day with the family tree I’d started creating on The site offered me a two-week trial subscription, which would allow me to delve into the records of the site rather than just use the site as a record-keeping mechanism. A few hours of research later and I have several generations of the family in America, back to the late eighteenth-century. Or do I? There’s really no way of knowing whether or not the Robert Divenny (1773-1852) is my paternal grandfather’s mother’s grandfather or just some Divenny that seems to match enough of the criteria — birth period and general location. And of course I don’t know anything about the family tree going forward. Still, somehow have a potential name makes it all the more real.