Polish Genealogy Research: Genealogy at a Glance – Review

First, the DISCLAIMER – I have received several complimentary items, including Genealogy at a Glance: Polish Genealogy Research, Updated Edition by Rosemary A. Dembinski Chorzempa, published in 2020, to review. These perks do not influence my opinions of the publications in any way!

Having said that, I do believe that the Genealogical Publishing Company, which has been in business for many decades, has a long standing reputation for producing quality work.

This is the second Genealogy at a Glance guide that I am reviewing. Like the first on Finding Jewish Eastern European Ancestors, this guide is four pages long, encased in hard lamination to protect it from the elements.

The format is also similar to the last guide, but the topics are somewhat different.


Quick Facts and Important Dates
Polish Names
Polish History and Emigration
Finding the Hometown
Online Databases from Poland
Other Resources
Areas in Polish Lands

My Eastern European roots are in Slovakia, not Poland, so I’ve not used Polish records. However, both countries have had similar changes of political boundaries and governments, as they are in the crossfire of various armies that have passed through the area throughout history.

What that means for today’s Polish family historian is that locating the records can be a challenge and, if they are found, can be in unexpected locations and languages.

This At a Glance guide will be a boon to beginning Polish researchers, as one full page is devoted to tips and resources for identifying the ancestral hometown.

The Polish databases will also be extremely useful and the back page lists major areas of Poland and the form of the place names when found in English, Latin, Polish and German. For example, without this guide, I would not have known that West Prussia, Borussia, Prusy Zachodnie and Westpreussen are all the same place!

I highly recommend that beginning and even intermediate researchers with Polish ancestry purchase Genealogy at a Glance: Polish Genealogy Research, Updated Edition. It is a great quick guide to keep on hand.

It is available for $9.95 and can be ordered online from the Genealogical Publishing Company.


John Nation & Bethiah Robins, 1700s

John Nation is the immigrant ancestor of my husband’s long line of Nation ancestors:

1. John Nation & Bethiah Robins
2. Christopher Nation & Elizabeth
3. William Nation & Jane
4. Isaac Nation & Margaret Tillman
5. Henry Nation & Unknown
6. Joseph Michael Nation & Christianna (Annie) Riddle
7. Clayton Columbus Nation & Matilda Jane Dulworth
8. Ethel Anne Nation & Oscar Eldon Sturgell
9. Ruby Jewel Sturgell & Edward Earl Stufflebean
10. David Lee Stufflebean

John Nation was reputedly baptized on 28 March 1701 in North Petherton, Someset, England, the son of John Nation and Frances Parsons. FindMyPast does show a burial record there for a John Nation in 1717, who might be the father of this John, but the baptismal record itself didn’t turn up in the list of search results. You can make of that what you like. For me, it is a clue as to the possible origins of my husband’s ancestor. However, if John’s father died in 1717, it doesn’t explain how my John ended up as an indentured servant in New Jersey in 1711, six years before John Sr.’s death. Could John Nation have been one of those boys kidnapped near the waterfront and shipped off to the colonies? I don’t know, but Somerset does sit on the English coast.

In any case, John Nation, the immigrant, was born about 1700 in England and was a servant of William Beaks of Nottingham, Burlington, New Jersey. When William died, John was bequeathed to William’s son, Edmund, in his 1711 will.

Abstract of will: “1710-11 Mar. 24. Beaks, William, of Nottingham, Burlington Co., yeoman; will of. Wife Ruth. Children – Edmond (by a former wife, as Ruth is called Edmond’s mother-in-law), Stacy, Nathan, Sarah; the last three under age. Real and personal estate, incl. servant boy John Nation. Executors – the wife and son Edmond. Witnesses – Samuel Beaks, John Coner, Mahlon Stacy. Proved April 27, 1711. Liber I, p. 313.

John Nation evidently completed his term of indenture, married, had a family and migrated through Virginia to North Carolina. His wife was Bethiah Robins, who was also born c1700 probably in Upper Freehold, Monmouth, New Jersey, so it is possible that John and Bethiah married before they left New Jersey.

The Nations and Robins families had strong ties that lasted well into the 1800s and extended all the way to eastern Tennessee.

John Nation lived for a time in Frederick County, Virginia and is found mentioned in its court order books:

Frederick County, Virginia Court  Order Book  – Saturday, August 1 , 17(49?): John Nation … and evidence for Edward, defendant at the suit of William Fernley, plaintiff. Further, on 10 September 1749, John Nation was appointed overseer of a road near his home.

This is certainly my John Nation, as his wife is also in the same court orders:

Bethia Nation… (same reference) “to be paid 7 lbs. of tobacco for three days in Court.” (as a witness).

By 1754, John Nation had settled in his “forever” home in Rowan County, North Carolina. In that year, he was appointed administrator of the estate of his brother-in-law, Joseph Robins.

On 15 December 1772, John Nation wrote his own will and it was probated in May 1774 in Guilford County, North Carolina:

Will of John Nation, 1774
Guilford County, NC Will Book A:277
Source: FamilySearch

In the name of God amen —This fifteen day of December in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy two I John Nation being of Guilford Count and Province of North Yeoman being but weekly of body but of sound and perfect mind and memory thanks be to God for the same but calling to mind the shortness & uncertainty of this mortal state and that tis appointed once for al men one to die and after recommending my immortal part to God that gave it resting in hopes of a Glorious Resurrection & to live & reign with him forever & ever & willing my mortal part to the dust from whence it was taken to burial in a cristian like manner at the discresion of my Executors and as touching such worldly good wherewith it heath pleased God to bless me in this life with I do dispose of the same in the manner & form following that is to say my just debts and funeral charges to be paid.

Imprimis I do give & bequeath unto my son Joseph Nation his heirs & assigns the plantation & track of land wherein I now live and to enter enjoy & possess the same and all the appurtenances thereunto belonging immediately after my decease perticularly.

Item I do give and bequesth unto my beloved wife Bithiah & all moveable estae of whatkind soever withouth exception or destincktion her life or widowhood and in case my wife should see cause to alter her condition after my decease by marriage then my will will and pleasure is that my wife should be confined to her thirds of my estate nevertheless my will & pleasure is that in case of second marriage and she becomes thereby confined to her third that she is impowered hereby to divide the overplus thereof between my two sons John & Joseph Nation and likewise it is my will and pleasure that my sd wife shall live on m plantation during her natural life or (widowhood?) as the case may be and if she remain my widdow during her life at the end thereof it is my will further that my son John shall have a bed and furniture & chest & box and all the rest of my moveable estate to my son Joseph in particular.

Item I give to and bequeath unto the rest of my children to wit Christopher Nation Elizabeth Vickrey Anne Bullar Bithiah Robins and FrancesRobins each and severally the sum of one shilling Sterling and no more.

Lastly I do hereby nominate & appoint & constitute my dear wife Bithiah and my well beloved son Joseph my Executors of this my last will and testiment hereby utterly revoking and disalowing all other former will or wills or testiments made or done whatsoever as fully as tho they had never been done rattifieing and confirming this and no other to be my last will and testiment.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year above written.

John (his X mark) Nation Seal

Signed Sealed published & pronounced and (declared?) by the said John Nation to be his last will and testiment in the presence of us the subscribers

Benjamin Beeson Senr Isaac Beeson Juner
Richd Beeson

Children, all of whom died after their father’s will was written on 15 December 1772:

  1. John,
  2. Joseph
  3. Christopher, born c1720; died before November 1799 when his will was recorded; married Elizabeth (MNU)
  4. Elizabeth; married Mr. Vickery
  5. Anna, married Mr. Bullar
  6. Bethiah; married Mr. Robins
  7. Frances; married Mr. Robins

I have seen undocumented given names for the Nation girls’ husbands, but don’t want to share information that might be wrong. If you have sourced details that would add to what’s known about this family, I would love to have them. Please leave a comment.


Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your “Other” Hobbies or Pastimes

Once again, Saturday has arrived and it is time for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun with Randy Seaver on Genea-Musings.

Here is this week’s challenge:

1) What hobbies or pastimes other than “genealogy” do you have now, or had in the past as an adult?

I’ve had two activities – one a hobby and the other more of a pastime – in my adult life.

The Hobby – Back in the early 1980s, I started to learn how to quilt. It wasn’t many years after I started working on the family history. I took classes and a couple of my genealogy buddies also liked to quilt.

I consider myself only an intermediate level quilter today, mainly because I haven’t done any sewing for about six years. (Funny, that’s about the age of this blog.)

My favorite quilt is the one I made out of my son’s baby clothes, about which I’ve blogged in the past.

However, there have been lengthy gaps in between my quilting spurts, as I quickly realized that genealogy and quilting are both full time obsessions. On top of that, I was teaching and had an infant to care for. Something had to go on the back burner and it was quilting. Genealogy took up way less space and letter writing meant waiting for replies in the mail. Library visits to Los Angeles could be done on Saturdays.

When we moved to Tucson, I decided I wanted to get back to quilting. Retirement afforded me the time do continue full steam with genealogy research, but to also get back to all those pretty fabrics with colors and patterns that I love.

There must be something about genealogy and quilting that go together because several of my new genealogy friends were also long time quilters. I joined a couple of welcome clubs and attended the quilting get-togethers.

I also started collecting fabrics again – from local stores, from shops discovered on vacations, from Hawaii, Europe and any other place where I could fit fabric into my suitcase and haul it home.

I did get back to sewing for about 4 years. My fabric stash got huge!

I have to admit, though, that now my genealogy research and blog writing fill my days. Although my intentions are good, I haven’t get taken out my sewing machine to actually stitch any pieces together.

I also proudly admit that my quilting genealogy buddies have done little sewing either – because I’ve created several new genealogy addicts. I am very proud of that!

The Pastime – For years, I tried to convince my husband to take a cruise. He thought he’d feel bored and confined on a ship. I had never been to Alaska and heard that a cruise was the way to visit for the first time. We have a goal to visit as many national parks and sites in the U.S. as we can and Glacier Bay National Park is accessible in only one way – by boat. (Or in a small water plane, which isn’t every going to happen with me!)

Some friends who cruise a lot convinced Dave to take an Alaskan cruise in 2011. We did, I loved it and he loved it, too.

Since then, we’ve taken about 35 cruises, sailing the seas to Europe to the east and Tahiti, Australia and New Zealand to the south.

Obviously, with the pandemic, cruising is on hold and it may be a thing of the past for us. It will depend on what happens when covid-19 fades. I’ve heard that many cruises for 2021 are sold out, but we aren’t booked. I’m glad we’ve done as much traveling as we have.

Thanks, Randy, for this week’s challenge.