Here, to kick off with, is a photo of the entire extended Dudziński family – well, not quite entire, because there are three people missing: Andrew, (who was stuck in the USA) and Rose (Jenny’s mother) and her husband Alex (stuck in Scotland). This, the second, Dudziński ‘Jamboree’, was kindly hosted by Mark and Jenny in their home.


Since the above picture was taken (on 5 May 2019), there have been some additions to the family tree, and one subtraction. Taking them in chronological order, in May 2021 Ella married Tom Herbert in Leeds. Then in October 2022 Peter and Nina in Hamburg had a third son, Tim Maximilian. The following year, in May, Ella and Tom had a son, Edward “Teddy”. June 2023 saw the wedding of Adam and Lauren in Kingston, quickly followed (in August) by that of Ella’s brother Tom and Jocasta up in Scotland. Welcome to them all! The one ‘subtraction’ relates to Roger Staszewski, who died in Northumberland after a long illness. More detailed information can be found in the document Who’s Who in the Family Tree, which can be viewed elsewhere on this website, or can be sent to you in PDF format for leisurely browsing.

Any family document, whether paper or electronic, is almost bound to run into problems with names. With English names, the problem is relatively minor, because nicknames are usually pretty similar to the given names (e.g. David/Dave, Christine/Chris/Chrissy, Andrew/Andy, Stephen/Steve, etc.). There are of course a few tricky ones like William/Bill, Edward/Ted, Margaret/Peggy, etc. In Polish, the problem is much worse, because not only are nicknames often very different from the given name (Jerzy/Jurek, Małgorzata/Gosia, Andrzej/Jędruś, Karol/Lolo, etc.), but nicknames often come in several variants: Jurek/Jureczek/Jurasek, Zbyszek/Zbysio/Zbyś, Małgosia/Gosia). There is also the problem that many of us are known by a different name, depending on what language we’re speaking. It can all get very confusing!

In the interests of consistency and general order, the names used in the Family Tree are the given names – the ones in which individuals were registered at birth. In the document Who’s Who in the Family Tree, the names used correspond to those in the Family Tree, with the addition, in inverted comas, of the name by which that person is most generally known.

Speaking of family trees, it’s really a piece of luck that we have one at all, given that Zbigniew Marian Dudziński was the last of his line – had he died childless, none of us would be here now. Fortunately, however, at the last count (August 2023) there were no fewer than 14 (known!) males in the Dudziński line to ensure that the name survives for a good while yet. But take nothing for granted and keep procreating – it’s your family duty!

But do remember that, inevitably, some of our family’s history is now permanently and irretrievably lost. Why? Well, for two essential reasons:

1.       The Dudzińskis came to the UK from Poland, which during World War II was ravaged first by the Germans and then by the Russians – with a little help from Roosevelt and/or Churchill. In addition, the Staszewskis came from an area of Poland that is now in Ukraine. So, all in all, it is reasonable to suppose that many records will have been lost or destroyed.

2.       Because we failed to question our parents and grandparents about the past. As far as we know, none of our forebears wrote any memoirs or kept a regular diary – or if they did, none has survived. We may sometimes regard our parents as immortal, or at least we tend to avoid thinking about the possibility (certainty) of their dying. In consequence, we fail to ask in good time the questions to which one day we will want to know the answers from the only people who are in a position to provide them. Lesson: start asking those questions and recording the answers now, before it’s too late.