Polish Day features ethnic eats, education and entertainment




Have you always wanted to gain a better understanding of your family’s history? Are you interested in preserving your family’s heritage and sharing this valuable information with future generations?

Then drop by Polish Youngstown’s Polish Day celebration at St. Anne’s Church at 4310 Kirk Road on Sunday for some ethnic eats, entertainment and education.

The event will begin with a polka Mass at 11:30 a.m. and features activities until 8 p.m., including informational workshops, polka bands, folk dance performances, crafts and a variety of Polish foods and baked goods.

The workshops include a basic genealogy presentation by Pamela O’Dea Burgess. Burgess, a Springfield Township resident who has actively studied genealogy for more than a decade, will share research tips and will provide instruction on how to create a family tree and how to find necessary legal documents.

Burgess, who is of Polish descent, said although she is most familiar with charting Polish genealogy, the workshop will be helpful for people of all ethnicities interested in their family’s genealogy.

“I’m finding a lot of people don’t know how to start their genealogy or don’t know where to find the legal documents locally,” Burgess said.

For example, many people are surprised to learn that some naturalization records can be found in the auto title department at the Mahoning County Courthouse Annex, she said.

Burgess’s hourlong workshop will cover locating census records, city directories, church records, naturalization records, alien registrations and Ellis Island records and will include time for questions and answers. In addition to Sunday’s workshop, Burgess also volunteers from 1 to 4 p.m. Thursdays in the genealogy department at the main branch of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County at 305 Wick Ave. and she welcomes attendees to contact her with additional questions.

Burgess said its common for people to develop a curiosity of their genealogy after they are retired and have the time to devote to research. Burgess didn’t begin to actively study her family’s genealogy until she accepted a buyout at age 45 from her position in the accounting department at J.C. Penney at Southern Park Mall in Boardman.

“Everyone has a different story. When you get older, you start to wonder, ‘Where did I come from, and where did my family come from?’ Basically all genealogy follows the same format and then you have to learn the specifics and how to function with your particular ethnicity,” Burgess said.

Other topics for Polish Day workshops include Polish travel options, Polish language and conversation, and an accordion overview and jam session.


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