2021 Polish Genealogy Conference
Lisa A. Alzo
Lisa A. Alzo, M.F.A., is a freelance writer, instructor, and internationally recognized lecturer specializing in Eastern European research and nonfiction writing. She grew up in Duquesne, Pennsylvania and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition from West Virginia Wesleyan College in 1987 and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Nonfiction Writing from the University of Pittsburgh in 1997.
Lisa is the author of eleven books, including the award-winning Three Slovak Women, and hundreds of magazine articles. She is a contributing editor for Family Tree Magazine and works as an online educator and writing coach through her website Research, Write, Connect, https://www.researchwriteconnect.com.
She also developed the Eastern European Research Certificate Program for the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. Lisa is a frequently invited speaker for national conferences, genealogical and historical societies, and webinars. An avid genealogist for more than 30 years, Lisa also chronicles her Slovak and Rusyn family history adventures on her blog, The Accidental Genealogist https://www.theaccidentalgenealogist.com.
Visit https://www.lisaalzo.com for more information.
Matthew Bielawa was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut and is the Associate Registrar at Central Connecticut State University in 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”, a site devoted to Polish and Ukrainian genealogical research in Eastern Galicia/Western Ukraine.
Mieczyslaw B.B. Biskupski
Mieczyslaw B. B. Biskupski received his doctorate from Yale University and holds the Blejwas Endowed Chair in Polish History at Central Connecticut State University. He taught at Yale and later held a Visiting Professorship in Political Science at the University of Rochester, was a Fulbright Professor of History at the University of Warsaw and a Fellow of the Central European University in Budapest.
Among other distinctions, he was appointed to the Honour Roll of Polish Scholarship by the Polish Ministry of Education and was elected to the Société polonaise des Sciences et des Lettres à l ’étranger in London. He also holds the Krzyż Komandorski Orderu Zasługi of the Republic of Poland. He has been President of both the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences and the Polish American Historical Association in the United States as well as being a Director of the Józef Piłsudski Institute in New York.
Dr. Biskupski has published eighteen books and more than sixty essays and has conducted research throughout Europe and North American in sixteen languages. Among his most recent books are Independence Day: Myth, Symbol and the Creation of Modern Poland (Oxford University Press), and War and Diplomacy in East and West: A Biography of Józef Retinger (Routledge). He is currently working on both a comparative intellectual study of Dmowski and Piłsudski and an analysis of the American role in the rebirth of modern Poland.
Biskupski’s family originated in Wilno with another branch from Warsaw. He is now a citizen of the Republic of Poland. He has five children, one of whom, Jadwiga, also gained her doctorate in Polish history from Yale University.
Daniel Bućko is a Polish genealogist born and raised in Poland. He has significant experience researching civil and church records from Polish, Lithuanian, Belarusian and Ukrainian archives including state, diocesan and parish archives / libraries and civil registration offices.
He started tracing his own ancestry in 1998 and after years of experience and a tremendous passion for genealogy, he took his talent to the professional research stage in 2015 spearheading genealogical efforts for clients and reuniting families separated for more than a century across continents. He also obtains DNA profiles from Polish residents to confirm unknown / lost family members for those who are interested in DNA technology. Additionally, he facilitates access to private family documents, information and photographs not available in the public domain. His genealogical facility comprises a fusion of traditional archival research cutting-edge DNA technology and firsthand communication with prospective family leads.
In addition to his native Polish, Daniel speaks English, Russian and Belarusian. He has resided in Kraków since 2003 and holds a Master’s degree with a focus in Belarusian minorities in Poland from Jagiellonian University in Kraków (2008).
In 2008, Daniel became a member of the Małopolska Genealogical Society in Kraków. He was also a founder of the local genealogical initiative The Walerian Bujnowski Sokółka Area Genealogical Society (2010). He has been a featured speaker at the genealogical conference of the Polish Genealogical Society of Connecticut and the Northeast in New Britain, Connecticut, Polish Genealogical Society of Massachusetts, Polish Genealogical Society of New York State and The Nashi Predky Society.
In addition to traditional research of civil, church and other key genealogical resources, Daniel has extensive experience organizing Polish genealogy guide services in Poland helping his clients locate living relatives in Poland, confirming Polish citizenship by descent and locating heirs for legal cases.
Shannon Combs-Bennett is a Qualified Genealogist (QG) through the register of qualified genealogists. Shannon writes and teaches on a variety of subjects from genetic genealogy to basic methodology in the local area and internationally. Her book, “Genealogical Basics in 30 Minutes”, won the 2017 IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association) Benjamin Franklin Silver Award.
She holds a PLCGS (Professional Learning Certificate in Genealogical Studies) from the Institute for Genealogical Studies in American Records, completed the Boston University Certificate Program and the ProGen Program.
Shannon earned her Bachelor of Science (BA) degree in Biology with an emphasis in Genetics from Indiana University and her Master’s degree (MSC) in Genealogical, Heraldic, and Paleographic Studies from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland. Currently, Shannon is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Strathclyde in History and Genealogical Studies.
Denise Kolesar, PGSCTNE member, has been interested in genealogy since she was 11 years old. Always interested in the ‘old days’ and the ‘old country’ (much to the annoyance of her grandparents), she has notebooks of information on her Polish, Slovak and Ukrainian ancestry and the communities they lived in.
A member and volunteer of the Manitoba Genealogical Society, Manitoba Historical Society and a founding member of the East European Genealogical Society, Denise has held various positions on the EEGS board and was first editor of the East European Genealogical Journal. She has written articles and given presentations on mostly Manitoba, Canadian and computer genealogical topics. She has published books on her family’s history along with two local history books. Denise works as a network administrator and lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Tom was privileged to be a member of the first group of genealogists to 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 Genealogy Society of Connecticut & the Northeast Inc. (PGSCTNE), the Washington D.C. Family History Center and the Baltimore Family History Center and the Fairfax Genealogical Society (FxGS). He is also a frequent contributor to the monthly Polish genealogy e-zine Gen Dobry!
Jonathan Shea, a native of New Britain, Connecticut, is a professor of foreign languages in the Connecticut Higher Education System. His academic preparation in the field of languages and linguistics has been enriched by living experience in Europe and study at the Universidad de Madrid in Spain, St. Petersburg State University in Russia and the Uniwersytet Jagiellonski in Poland.
In addition to being a foreign language educator, Shea is a trained archivist and professional genealogist with specialization in Eastern Europe and Ireland and frequently lectures and presents workshops internationally on the topics of document translation and other linguistic issues, immigration history and European archival resources. The founding President of the Polish Genealogical Society of Connecticut and the Northeast, Inc., he now serves as its Reference Archivist and as the long-time editor of its journal, Pathways & Passages.
He holds a B.S. degree (magna cum laude) 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.
In addition to the languages he teaches, Spanish, Polish and Russian, he also speaks Italian and French and has reading knowledge of Portuguese, German, Belarusian and Ukrainian.
He has over twenty years of experience in the field of genealogical research, documenting his own family (with roots in the former provinces of Łomża and Grodno, Poland, and Counties Offaly and Mayo, Ireland) as well as the families of others. The Family History Library in Salt Lake City has recognized him as an Accredited Genealogist in the field of Polish research.
His most recent publication Going Home: A Guide to Polish-American Family History Research is a comprehensive reference work on genealogical research methodology. He has also co-authored with William Fred Hoffman the four volume series In Their Words: A Genealogist’s Translation Guide, Volume 1 Polish, Volume 2 Russian, Volume 3 Latin and Volume 4, German.