Chuck Hagel and the Poznan Project

In January 2013, we were informed that the newly appointed US Secretary of Defence, Charles (Chuck) Hagel is of partly Polish descent and one of his grandmothers, Katie Konkolewski was born to parents who immigrated from Poznan.

This prompted us to an attempt to find out more. We assumed that - as in nearly all such cases - the "Poznan" origin is actually somewhere within the Poznan region, not the city of Poznań, Poland.

Ceil Jensen succeeded in finding the names of Mr. Hagel's Polish great-grandparents: Thomas Konkolewski and Catharina Budzynska. One database search and... they appeared in the results: they were married in 1882 in the church in Dąbrówka Kościelna, just 15 miles NE of Poznań City. This opened the gates to additional findings on the family history of the Konkolewski (Kąkolewski) and Budzyński families near Poznań.

Now, during his official visit in Poland, on Jan. 31, 2014, Chuck Hagel found some time to visit Dąbrówka Kościelna and other nearby places related to the origin of his grandmother. I hope someone tells him about the Poznan Project to which he owes this treat!

Without the great job done by our volunteers, Mr. Hagel, just as millions of other descendants of Polish immigrants, would only know the vague "Poznan" reference of his Polish roots.