Nashi Predky/Our Ancestors 2023 Conference


As the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine drags into its second year, Poland remains a staunch ally and supporter. In this year’s Nashi Predky/Our Ancestors spring conference, we bring three genealogists from Poland who will cover the shared history of Poles and Ukrainians in Austro-Hungary and inter-war Poland, the records they left behind, and where they were buried. Together, they have a wealth of knowledge and experience, including being a researcher for PBS television series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. In addition, we welcome Alexis Buryk, daughter of our own Michael Buryk, who will speak about how to use the results of genealogical research to tell the stories of our ancestors in narrative form.

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The schedule is in Eastern Daylight Time (UTC−04:00).

Saturday, May 13th, 2023

9:00am Welcome

Galician Records and How to Read Them

Kinga Urbańska


Heritage Stories: Crafting Family Narratives as Fact or Fiction

Alexis Buryk


Stretch break and virtual networking


Cemeteries in Poland

Aleksandra Kacprzak


Relations between Poles and Ruthenians in South-Eastern Poland and Western Ukraine

Lucjan Cichocki

Session Summaries:

Galician Records and How to Read Them

The Austro-Hungarian Empire imposed its chancellery system in Galicia, and this significantly influenced the forms of metrical records. This webinar will cover these forms, how to deal with Latin, what information they contain, and how they changed over time. As part of the webinar, the Latin names of professions, social status and causes of death will be presented. It will also cover the instruction on how to locate a metrical documentation concerning Galician parishes/communes within the current archival system. It will also present where to find the information on your Galician ancestors online. The webinar will focus on the following topics: a brief history of Galicia, Galician metrical records and non-metrical sources, and where to search for metrical records from the former Galicia region in current Poland.

Heritage Stories: Crafting Family Narratives as Fact or Fiction

The stories of our ancestors are potent, and personal. Some have been obscured and eroded over time; others are as vivid and present as details from our own lives. This presentation seeks to guide participants in discovering the narrative bones within their personal family narratives, to inform them about the various ways in which they might choose to tell their tales, and to inspire them to concrete action by leaving the talk with at least one tangible next step to take in furthering their writing project. Included in the presentation will be an overview of different genres of writing and how to choose what best suits your subject matter, as well as a guided generative writing exercise to help participants explore and focus their ideas.

Cemeteries in Poland

Polish cemeteries, like ones everywhere, are full of history and memories, dignity and reverie. Beautiful marble tombstones next to the plain wooden crosses. Different religions, different customs and we, genealogists who dream on finding the resting place of our distant and closer relatives. The lecture presents cemeteries of all kind in Poland – Jewish, Muslim, Evangelical, Mennonite, Orthodox, Greek Catholic and War cemeteries. There are several portals in Poland that help to find graves of our family members. Some are general, some dedicated to one kind of the cemetery. During the lecture you will learn how to use these portals.

Relations between Poles and Ruthenians in South-Eastern Poland and Western Ukraine

The objectives of this talk are to summarize the history of relations between Poles and Ruthenians with special emphasis placed on the 20th century and a bit about the most recent relations.

Speaker Biographies

Alexis Buryk is a multidisciplinary artist, educator, and speaker with experience in writing, theater, film, and photography. She holds an MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as a dual-degree BA in History and Cinema Studies from New York University, and has studied at the Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theatre, Second City, Catapult, and Sackett Street Writers' Workshop. Her written work has been featured on stage in the virtual cabaret, Twentysomething (2020), online at Apartment Therapy, and in The Ukrainian Weekly, while her photographic work has been featured in The New York Times, New York Magazine, and Brides. She owns and operates City Love Photography and offers generative writing experiences through her workshop, Mindful Ink. For more information, visit, or reach out at

Lucjan Cichocki’s adventures with tracing family histories started in 2013 with a visit to the diocesan archive in Przemyśl. A friend of his showed him what old nineteenth century vital records looked like and what information they contained. Gradually he became more and more accustomed to various kinds of longhand and was able to maximize the results of his work while minimizing the time needed to complete it. Nowadays, genealogy research is his full-time occupation and he is honored to have discovered the roots of many. His work includes searching for records at diocesan and state archives, searching for records at parishes, finding living relatives, driving people to the villages their ancestors lived in, and translation of vital records. Contact information: "Polish Ancestry Research by Lucjan Cichocki",,

Aleksandra Kacprzak is a genealogical researcher living in Poland and the owner of the Office for Genealogical Research “Genoroots.” Ms. Kacprzak graduated from Copernicus University in Toruń with a degree in archival science and completed the Eastern European Genealogy course in Salt Lake City. She is a genealogical lecturer in both the United States and Poland. Ms. Kacprzak is a founding member of the Polskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne (Polish Genealogical Society) and Stowarzyszenie Polscy Profesjonalni Genealodzy (Association of Polish Professional Genealogists). In addition to her genealogy work, Ms. Kacprzak also provides heir tracing services for both lawyers and the courts. She is a licensed tour guide, and organizes personal ancestral tours, as well as culture-oriented tours for larger groups.

Kinga Urbańska is a genealogist, historian, archivist and the founder and co-owner of Your Roots in Poland. She received a master degree in history, archival and historical sources at Pedagogical University of Kraków. She also manages projects to save local historical sites. Kinga is interested in Polish history of the 19th century and emigration. Her favorite research region is Galicia. She focuses on non-metrical family history sources, such as military records, personal files (career and education), newspapers, obituaries, cemeteries, nobility, censuses and court records. Her company also sponsors Polish Roots Tours so individuals can discover their Polish ancestor’s places of origins. She assisted with uncovering Polish roots for the PBS television series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., where she had a chance to work on research for (among others) Dustin Hoffman, Juliana Margulies, Tea Leoni, Gloria Steinem, and Bernie Sanders. More about her and her work can be found at


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