Polish Genealogy Workshop

Date & Time
Friday, May 31, 2024
10:00 AM - 3:30 PM
Location Heinz History Center 1212 Smallman Street
Pittsburgh PA, 15222
Ticketing $40 General Admission $20 Members

Join nationally renowned genealogists for the History Center’s first Polish Genealogy Workshop.

Genealogy experts Ola Heska and Kinga Urbanska will guide beginner and advanced family historians alike on a tour de force of genealogical records available online and in Polish archives.

Attendees will learn about the history of Polish partitions and their impact on genealogical research. Speakers will also reveal where to turn for the largest caches of Polish birth, marriage, and death records available online.

Workshop presentations include:

  • Beginning Polish Genealogy
  • Understanding Records during the Polish Partitions: 1772-1918
  • Finding Polish Records Online: Where to Search
  • Beyond Vital Records: Finding Your Ancestors in Census, Military, School, and Court Records

Museum professionals from the History Center’s Detre Library & Archives and representatives from the Archives & Records Center of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, the University of Pittsburgh Archives and Special Collections, as well as other local genealogical and heritage organizations, will be on hand to share insights and best practices with workshop attendees.


Advance registration for the Polish Genealogy Workshop is required. Please register online. Your ticket includes Admission to the museum for the day.

The workshop will take place in the Mueller Education center, located on the fifth floor of the Heinz History Center.

For additional questions, please contact programs@heinzhistorycenter.org.

About the Speakers

Ola Heska

Ola Heska grew up in Poland and received her M.A. in Russian Philology from Lodz University, Poland. Her passion for genealogy began in grade school when, after watching the movie “Roots,” based on Alex Haley’s novel, she created her first 4-generation family tree. She then learned that one of her great-grandmothers immigrated from Poland to the United States at the beginning of the 20th century.

Fluent in Polish, English, and Russian, as well as having a working knowledge of Latin, Ola has been researching her family roots for over 20 years. She is an honorary member of PTG (Polish Genealogical Society in Warsaw, Poland), a former member of PGSA (Polish Genealogical Society of America, Chicago, IL), and has experience speaking at conferences and the Chicago area libraries and genealogical societies. She has volunteered in vital record indexing projects and is currently working with the Jewish Records Indexing-Poland organization.

For many years, Ola was the treasurer for one of the Chicago area Polish Saturday schools, with an annual enrollment of about 1,200 students. In addition to genealogy, Ola enjoys gardening, birdwatching, photography, scrapbooking, and music.

Ola has been working as a Genealogist Researcher at Ancestry.com since 2018 and considers it her dream job.

Kinga Urbanska

Kinga Urbańska is a genealogist, historian, archivist and the founder and co-owner of Your Roots in Poland – the most recognizable genealogical company in Poland. Kinga is also I president of Twoje Korzenie w Polsce which popularizes the idea of genealogy in Poland. She received a master degree in history, archival and historical sources at Pedagogical University of Kraków. She also manages projects to save local historical sites. Kinga is interested in the Polish history of the 19th century and emigration. Her favorite research region is Galicia. She assisted with uncovering Polish roots in the TV show, Finding Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr, where she had a chance to work on the family research for (among others) Dustin Hoffman, Juliana Margulies, Tea Leoni, Gloria Steinem, and Bernie Sanders. Genealogy is her job and passion. More about her and her work at her website.