Open House for the Polonica Americana Research Institute (PARI)

On Sunday 5 April The Polish Mission held the first Open House for the Polonica Americana Research Institute (PARI) . Guests were greeted by Betty and Joe Guziak, respected founders of the Polish Genealogical Society of America (Chicago), and The Polish Genealogical Society of Michigan. They also distributed the PARI survey which allowed researchers to respond and request forthcoming programs. Also helping with the opening was Dr. Hal Learman who, when away from his practice, helps researchers at the Family Research Center in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Guests received a list of the names and significance of the 106 Polish figures represented in the Panorama (diorama). The room was active with the moving figures of the Panorama, the “how to” PowerPoint showing the steps to research and document family in the United States and Poland, and visitors browsing the large library of research materials.

Visitors were not limited to family researchers.

Chancellor Timothy Whalen stopped in carrying palms distributed during Palm Sunday Mass, as well as Richard A. Walawender J.D., member of the Orchard Lake Board of Regents, and newly appointed head of The Polish Mission Board of Directors. Walawender is a Senior Principal at the law firm Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone, PLC, an international firm with global offices including Poland. Their homepage states “With a global presence and clients and connections around the world, we ask the right questions, know the right resources, and create the right legal strategy for you.” He co-founded the firm’s Polish partnership in 1991 and served as the lead attorney on the first corporate commercial paper issuance of a U.S. company in Eastern Europe, as well as on the establishment and capitalization of Solidarity Bank, one of the first private commercial banks in Poland. He is enthusiastic about the launch of PARI and looks forward to inviting second, third, and fourth generation Polish Americans to campus to connect with their Polish heritage. Rick and Ceil Wendt Jensen, MA,CG, PARI director, discovered they have relatives in neighboring villages in the area of Tczew, Pomorskie, Poland.

Our international visitors included the artist Jan Siuta and his sister, noted art professor Maria Siuta of Krakow, accompanied by art collector Halina Malinski. Kasia Aldin, local artist , arrived with her husband and children to become familiar with the resources available at PARI.

If you missed out on Sunday’s Open House, please mark 3 May (Sunday) for your visit. The campus will be active with celebrations in honor of Poland’s 3 May Constitution Day. PARI guests will be greeted by our own Góralka Michelle Chumięcka, dressed in regional costume and offering Polish candies. Researchers, please bring your ancestral questions and documents that need translation. We will have volunteers on hand to help. Access will be provided free of charge for online databases from both North America and Poland. A schedule of the 3 May events will be posted on the new Polish Mission website.