Here, to kick off with, is a photo of the entire extended Dudziński family – well, not quite entire, because there are three people missing: Andrew, (who was stuck in the USA) and Rose (Jenny’s mother) and her husband Alex (stuck in Scotland). This, the second, Dudziński ‘Jamboree’, was kindly hosted by Mark and Jenny in their home.
Any family document, whether paper or electronic, is almost bound to run into problems with names. With English names, the problem is relatively minor, because nicknames are usually pretty similar to the given names (e.g. David/Dave, Christine/Chris/Chrissy, Andrew/Andy, Stephen/Steve, etc.). There are of course a few tricky ones like William/Bill, Edward/Ted, Margaret/Peggy, etc. In Polish, the problem is much worse, because not only are nicknames often very different from the given name (Jerzy/Jurek, Małgorzata/Gosia, Andrzej/Jędruś, Karol/Lolo, etc.), but nicknames often come in several variants: Jurek/Jureczek/Jurasek, Zbyszek/Zbysio/Zbyś, Małgosia/Gosia). There is also the problem that many of us are known by a different name, depending on what language we’re speaking. It can all get very confusing!
In the interests of consistency and general order, the names used in the Family Tree are the given names – the ones in which individuals were registered at birth. In the document Who’s Who in the Family Tree, the names used correspond to those in the Family Tree, with the addition, in inverted comas, of the name by which that person is most generally known.
Speaking of family trees, it’s really a piece of luck that we have one at all, given that Zbigniew Marian Dudziński was the last of his line – had he died childless, none of us would be here now. Fortunately, however, at the last count (June 2020) there were no fewer than 13 (known) males in the Dudziński line to ensure that the name survives for a good while yet. But take nothing for granted and keep procreating – it’s your family duty!
But do remember that, inevitably, some of our family’s history is now permanently and irretrievably lost. Why? Well, for two essential reasons:
1. The Dudzińskis came to the UK from Poland, which during World War II was ravaged first by the Germans and then by the Russians – with a little help from Roosevelt and/or Churchill. In addition, the Staszewskis came from an area of Poland that is now in Ukraine. So, all in all, it is reasonable to suppose that many records have been lost or destroyed.
2. Because we failed to question our parents and grandparents about the past. As far as we know, none of our forebears wrote any memoirs or kept a regular diary – or if they did, none has survived. We may sometimes regard our parents as immortal, or at least not like to think about the possibility (certainty) of their dying. In consequence, we fail to ask in good time the questions to which one day we will want to know the answers from the only people who are in a position to provide them. Lesson: start asking those questions and recording the answers now, before it’s too late.