Two-day genealogical conference coming to New Britain

Published on Tuesday, 12 September 2017 22:10

staff writer

NEW BRITAIN - It will be everything you ever wanted to know about how to research your Polish ancestors, and then some.

The Polish Genealogical Society of Connecticut and the Northeast (PGSCTNE) and The S.A. Blejwas Endowed Chair of Polish and Polish American Studies at Central Connecticut State University will host the 2017 Genealogy Conference, focusing on the strategies for tracing Polish-American and Eastern European roots.

The conference will take place Friday, Oct. 13, and Saturday, Oct. 14, at the Institute of Technology, Business and Development (ITBD), located at CCSU’s downtown campus, 185 Main St.

Diane Bojniewicz Szepanski, the conference chairwoman, said she has organized this conference every two years for about 10 years.

The first time, it was held at Haller Post on Broad Street. The second time it was up in Chicopee, Mass. For the third one, Szepanski got Mieczyslaw Biskupski, who holds an endowed chair in Polish and Polish-American Studies at CCSU, to sponsor the conference so it could take place on the university campus.

“It’s been at CCSU ever since,” she said. “This year we’re doing it at ITBD, which is still part of the the university, because DiLoreto and Willard halls are being redone. Because we hire our speakers a year ahead of time, we have to have someplace to have this conference.”

Last time, the conference drew about 150 participants from all over the country, she said. “It’s only August now and I’ve already got 14 registrants, and only one is from Connecticut. The others are from Florida, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.”

New Britain native Szepanski organizes the entire conference herself. “I love this. This is my cup of tea, and then I have volunteers who help me the day of the conference,” she said.

Featured speakers this year will be Biskupski; Matthew Bielawa, vice president, PGSCTNE; Michelle Chubenko from New Jersey; David Ouimette from Utah; Tadeusz H. Piłat from Tarnobrzeg, Poland; Thomas Sadauskas from Virginia; Jonathan Shea, president, PGSCTNE; and Julie Szczepankiewicz from Massachusetts.

The conference will feature a two-part seminar on “Introduction to Polish and Eastern European Family History.”

Scheduled lectures include: “Did Pilsudski Raise a Polish Army in America?,” “Jersey Roots: Touring the Garden State,” “Genealogy in Ukraine: Discover Online Resources,” “The Story of Polish Immigrant Millworkers,” “Europe’s World War II Displaced Persons: Their Little Known Story,” and “The Ins and Outs of Geneteka: How it Works and How to Use it Most Effectively.”

Pilat, a genealogy expert from Poland, will speak on “Greek Catholics in Poland and Family Research” and “Military Conscription Lists in the Kingdom of Poland and Genealogical Research.”

The fee to attend is $35 for Friday, Oct. 13 only, $65 for Saturday, Oct. 14 only, or $85 for both days. Finger sandwiches, coffee, and tea are included in Friday’s registration fee. A Polish-American buffet luncheon is included in Saturday’sregistration fee. There is no deadline to register.

Throughout each day, a collection of books, maps and other materials will be available to all attendees for consultation. PGSCTNE officers will be present to answer questions.

For more information, visit , where you can find the conference schedule, speakers’ biographies, and lecture summaries.

The website also includes forms for registering to attend the conference and for one-on-one consultation appointments with the speakers.

For more information, email Szepanski at

Posted in New Britain Herald, General News, New Britain on Tuesday, 12 September 2017 22:10. Updated: Tuesday, 12 September 2017 22:12.