St.) you can call 1-646-237-2131, 2132, or 2133
Locating Relatives Lost during World War II
The ethnic cleansing that took place in southeastern Poland during and after World War II determined that most Lemkos could no longer live in their ancestral homeland. As a result of Operation Vistula (Akcja Wisla) (1947) and the so-called "voluntary" deportations of Lemkos that took place before it, you might not know where the descendants of your family live today. Lemkos were sent East into Ukraine and North and West in Poland and forcibly resettled in various places near Olzstyn, Szczecin, Gorzow Wielkopolski, etc. If you have any information at all about a lost relative (date of birth, married name, last place of residence, etc.) and would like to try to reconnect, you can contact The American Red Cross, International Services Division in Fairfield, New Jersey. Norma Perez-Vazquez is Director of International Services (973-575-0880,
Sherry Lieb, a volunteer who works on World War II lost relative cases, was extremely helpful to me for finding my Lemko relatives in Poland. After she interviewed me and we discussed the circumstances surrounding the forced resettlement of Lemkos, she spent three years working with the Red Cross and other agencies around the world to find my relatives. She successfully reconnected me with several Gburyk descendants in 2003 and some of us had a reunion in Poland in September of 2004. You can contact Sherry to discuss your particular situation with her at the Red Cross, 973-575-0880. Feel free to mention my name to her.
Creating Family Trees
Once you document your ancestors and compile the available information on a PC program such as Family Tree Maker, you can then print out a very detailed family tree in a professional way. Try to limit the size of these documents to two foot by two foot or a maximum of three foot by three foot in size so that they are still easily portable and printable. It does take some editing to get your family tree in good shape for printing, but it is well worth the time spent. Professional desktop printing services like Kinko's or Staples will produce a fine copy from an electronic file for about $6-$8, or slightly more if you want it laminated. The end result of your efforts is a beautiful document that shows in a visual way the history of your Lemko family.
Even if you don't print out a family tree, you can put important documents, your family tree and perhaps a short narrative about your family history on CD-ROM.
CD-ROM is a very efficient and inexpensive way to distribute the fruits of your genealogical digging. Also, you might want to consider setting up a small family Web site yourself both as a way of disseminating your information globally and to develop contact with distant relatives with whom there has been no contact for many years. Another possibility is self-publishing services to produce a hard copy book. Self-publishing services are now available that will take your MS Word and PDF files and produce a book for you in hard or soft cover. Consult your local phone directory for such services near you.
The Fruits of Your Labor
Documenting the history of your Lemko family takes a lot of time and patience and you might hit a few dead ends along the way. Persevere and you will be amazed at how much information exists on our Lemko ancestors. And today, with the help of the Internet and other organizations like the Polish Consulate, the Archives in Poland and Ukraine, the LDS and the Red Cross, it is easier than ever to achieve success. If you need specific help along the way to get around a dead end, please feel free to contact me at: Michael Buryk. Happy digging!
Copyright (c) 2005 Michael Buryk
Document URL: http://lemko.org/genealogy/buryk.html
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Date Posted: April 29th, 2005
I welcome questions and comments.