Shut out in Sanok

In my research I had obtained a copy of Michał’s Immigration records, which indicated that he was born in Zahutyn in 1911. He went to school Tlumacz, Stanislawow (which was a little weird geography wise) and when war broke out in 1939, was working at SFA in Sanok (the largest town nearby to Zahutyn) as a founder. Google searching for SFA Sanok directs you to probably the biggest company in Sanok at that time (and perhaps even still) – Sanockiej Fabryce Autobusów or Sanok Bus Factory. The company, now known as Autosan, is one of the oldest in Poland having been founded in 1832. You’ll see their busses around Poland if you travel there.

His records indicate that once war broke out, he arrived in Germany. how what when, so I thought it safe to assume that he had spent most of his life in Zahutyn/Sanok.

So imagine my surprise when we dropped into the local archives in Sanok and found no birth records for Michał. No school records for Michał. And no record of him working for SFA (Autosan).

In fact, no record of Michał at all. He was like a ghost. What the heck is with my ancesters, going around leaving no records for me.

So we head for Zahutyn itself.

Zahutyn is off the main road, down what looks like a country lane. It looks like the kind of place I imagined that sweet Michał would have grown up. It doesn’t look like much has changed over the decades.

But there is no trace of Michał here, just my imaginations of his life here. The local priest, an interesting character who reminded me of Mork & Mindy’s child, is of no help. Instead he recommends contacting the rectory in Sanok. Neither are they able to help, citing Europe’s new privacy laws as their reason not to do so.

I think Zenon could sense my disappointment, so he suggested a visit to the Museum of Folk Architecture. Despite my earlier visit to the open air museum in Siedlce, the life and architecture of these two parts of Poland were quite different so I was keen to see just how it was that the ethnic Lemkos and Boykos lived.

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A softly spoken dreadlocked guy guided us around the museum, his special key unlocking rooms that were not visible to all. These homes, nestled in the foothills of the Bieszscady Mountains, were built like row houses with all associated buildings, including those of animals, under the one roof. Worth the visit, of course.

Tomorrow the search recommences.