Speakers' Biographies
Bielawa%20Pic.jpg Matthew Bielawa was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut and is the Associate Registrar at Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, Connecticut.  Mr. Bielawa currently serves as Vice-President of the Polish Genealogical Society of Connecticut and the Northeast, Inc.  

He earned a B.A. degree in Slavic and East European Studies from the University of Connecticut in 1989 and a M.A. degree in Slavic Languages and Literatures from New York University in 1994. His research specialization is in Eastern Galicia / Western Ukraine.  Mr. Bielawa has visited Ukraine and Russia several  times including a semester study at Leningrad State University.

He is webmaster of “Genealogy of Halychyna/Eastern Galicia,” http://www.halgal.com, a site devoted to Polish and Ukrainian genealogical research in Eastern Galicia/Western Ukraine.

Dr. Mieczyslaw B. B. Biskupski was invested formally as the holder of the Stanislaus A. Blejwas Endowed Chair in Polish and Polish American Studies at Central Connecticut State University on October 28, 2002.  The Polish Ambassador to the United States was joined by the CCSU President and other  notables at the ceremony.

The author of fifteen books and dozens of prestigious journal
articles and other commentary on Polish history and culture, Professor Biskupski is a specialist in modern Central Europe, particularly Poland, as well as international relations.

Dr. Biskupski graduated summa cum laude and was awarded a Yale Fellowship.  He spent nine years in New Haven, earning his doctorate and teaching at his alma mater.  During his academic career, he has held visiting professorships at the University of Rochester (in both history and political science), served as Fulbright Research Professor at the University of Warsaw, and, in 1997, was a Fellow of the Central European University of Budapest.   

Biskupski is the descendant of Polish soldiers, artists, and musicians who were forced to leave Russian Poland early in the 20th century for political reasons. 

He is the recipient of many academic and national awards including the Honor Roll of Science by the Polish Ministry of Education, and both the Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland and the Commander's Cross as well.  He is the President of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in America and past President of the Polish American Historical Association.

Michelle Chubenko is a self-proclaimed southern belle born north of the Mason-Dixon Line.  She is a professional genealogist with paternal ancestral roots in colonial American and a 20th century flair of East European ancestry (Ukrainian and Hungarian) from her mother. 
Chubenko was a researcher on TLC's Who Do You Think You Are? (season one) and appeared in the Brooke Shields episode which aired in April 2010.  She is a member of the Association
of Professional Genealogists, local and ethnic genealogical societies, and is actrive in local history organizations. 

A founding member with the Family History Group - Nashi Predky - at the Ukrainian Historical and Educational Center of New Jersey, she has presented locally on Eastern European research and volunteers as a co-coordinator for the Facebook group "Our Ancestors -- Наші Предки / Ukrainian Genealogy” and the UkraineGenWeb project.  In October 2016, she joined Legacy Tree Genealogists as a Researcher specializing in Central and Eastern European challenging research problems and complex lineage research projects. Follow her blog at JerseyRootsGenealogy: A Garden State Journey in Genealogy for the latest news in New Jersey genealogy. 


David Ouimette, CG, CGL, manages Content Strategy at FamilySearch, prioritizing archival records worldwide for digital preservation and online publication.  He has conducted research in the archives of dozens of countries accross all continents.
David lectures at national genealogical conferences and institutes, serves as a Board Cetified Genealogist trustee and authored Finding Your Irish Ancestors: Beginner's Guide.

Tadeusz H. Piłat, A.G. was born in Silesia, Poland (previously Schlesien in Germany).  He currently resides in Eastern Poland and Germany.  He pursued Library Studies at the University of Maria Curie-Sklodowska in Lublin, Poland, focusing on the history of books and old documents.  He specialized in "Supralibros" in Private Collections of the 16th to 18th centuries.  In 1999, he was granted the degree of Master of Library and Information Science.

In 2003, Tadeusz became an Accredited Genealogist specializing in Polish research, including all partitions of the former Commonwealth of Poland.  This accreditation was awarded by the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen).  http://www.icapgen.org/icapgen/

Because of his study of Information Science, Tadeusz is very interested in creating electronic databases, and he is working on a Lemko Extration Project http://lemkorusyn.org/index.php.  Currently Tadeusz is also involved in a project of early (pre-1830) Mennonite property records in Polish archival repositories. 

He enjoys traveling to foreign countries such as U.S.A., Denmark, Germany, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Ukraine, Slovakia, England, Russia, Mongolia, and Libya (North Africa) where he lived for a while. In addition to being fluent in Polish, German, and English, he can read Latin, Russian Cyrillic and old German scripts. Tadeusz has given lectures on genealogy in Warsaw and Opole, Poland, as well as San Antonio, Texas, Salt Lake City, Utah and New Britain, Connecticut.

If you have any questions regarding research in eastern Europe, please do not hesitate to contact.

Thomas Sadauskas has been actively conducting genealogy research since 2000, with a special focus on Eastern Europe.  All four of his grandparents and his father were born in Lithuania.  He has made several trips to Lithuania and Germany to do genealogy research and has been successful in re-establishing contact with relatives in Lithuania as well as making contact with newly uncovered ones.

Tom was privileged to be a member of the first group of genealogiststo visit the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen, Germany in May 2008 following the opening of the ITS archives to public access.  The ITS archives hold 50 million records on 17.5 million people including both Holocaust victims and survivors, forced laborers, and more than 8 million displaced persons (DPs).

He is a 2009 graduate of the National Institute on Genealogical Research (NIGR).  Tom has made numerous presentations at various genealogy conferences including those organized by the Polish Genealogical Society of Connecticut and the Northeast, Inc. (PGSCTNE), the Washington D.C. Family History Center and the  Baltimore Family History Center.  He is also a frequent contributor  to the monthly Polish genealogy ezine Gen Dobry!


Jonathan Shea, A.G. a native of New Britain, Connecticut, is a professor of foreign languages in the Connecticut Higher Education System.  He serves as reference archivist and translator for the Polish Genealogical Society of Connecticut and the Northeast, Inc. and is the long-time editor of the Society's journal, Pathways and Passages.

 He is fluent in Polish, Russian, and Spanish and several other languages.  He has over thirty (30) years of experience in the field of genealogical research, including on-site archival research in Poland  (with roots in the former provinces of Lomza and Grodno), the United States, Canada, Ireland and Lithuania.

Jonathan holds a B.S. degree in Spanish from Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. and an M.A. in Slavic Languages and Literatures from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst plus a M.L.S. in Library Science and Archival Management from Southern Connecticut State University. The Family History Library in Salt Lake City has recognized him as an Accredited Genealogist in the field of Polish research. 

He has authored works with William "Fred" Hoffman, co-authored the multi-volume series In Their Words: A Genealogist's Translation Guide:  Volume 1 Polish, Volume 2 Russian, Volume 3 Latin, and Volume 4 German. He has also authored the widely acclaimed Going Home:  A Guide to Polish American Family History Research. 

Julie Roberts Szczepankiewicz is a professional genealogist, writer, and speaker with 20 years of experience in researching her family's origins in Poland, Germany, the United States and Canada.  She volunteers as an administrator and regular contributor to the Facebook groups, "Polish Genealogy," and "Genealogy Translations."

Her article, The Insiders's Guide to Geneteka (co-authored with Maciej Adam Markowski), appeared in the Winter 2016 issue of  the PGSA journal Rodziny and she is also the author of a genealogy blog, From Shepherds and Shoemakers.

Ms. Szczepankiewicz currently resides in Hopkinton,
Massachusetts with her husband and children.