We found our new friend Tomasz on Trip Advisor and started communicating and planning our tour a few months before we arrived in Poland. He helped organize our trip from start to finish and was available on line or on the phone to answer any questions we had regarding lodging, tours, and transportation. As this trip was largely focused on searching for information about my ancestors, Tomasz did extensive research before we arrived. He identified locations where birth certificates and other important documents were likely to be found. Tomasz then set up meetings with church and government records offices so that we could meet with them when we arrived. He provided transportation, driving us around Poland (1600 km or ~1000 miles!) to each of the cities where my ancestors were born and raised. In each of the cities that we visited - Warsaw, Krakow and Poznan (and many small villages) Tomasz also took us on walking tours of important sites and provided in-depth information on the history of the area.
Having a local guide who knows the language, customs and history of the area made for a much smoother and richer experience. We would have never been able to communicate with the church staff or government workers without the assistance of Tomasz. His persistence and charming personality ensured that we were able to access as much information as was available. Tomasz even had one church volunteer searching archival documents that dated back the 18th century!
Tomasz provided this service at an affordable price, especially considering the complexity of the work needed to locate ancestors living a century ago! He did it all with a great sense of humor and treated us like friends instead of clients. The only drawback to this tour was that my husband and I visited more bakeries and ate more baked goods in one week then we would have typically done in one year. ;) In all honesty, we loved the paczkis, Pope's cake, and Polish pastries that Tomasz encouraged us to try! We are having terrible withdrawals and wish we were back in Poland because we can't wait until Fat Tuesday! Also, all the restaurants we tried in Poland were wonderful, the food (and beer and wine) was delicious and extremely affordable! All the hotels we stayed at were 5 star and very comfortable.
If you would like to take a tour to learn about where your ancestors lived, or just to see the beautiful country of Poland and learn about its history, we would unequivocally encourage you to contact Tomasz and his company Poznan Tours. It will be a trip of a lifetime! We hope to do the same again very soon. Thank you Tomasz!
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