The Preston Pipeline

One Hundred Years of the Wisniewski Family In America

The Preston Pipeline
Vol 3 Issue 1

Fall 2013
Sto Lat Chris Wisniewski Saving Stories
Sto Lat A Hundred Years of the Wisniewski Family in America

In July, fifty members of the Wisniewski family gathered at the Preston Library to celebrate the release of the book "Sto Lat: One Hundred Years of the Wisniewski Family In America" by Chris Wisniewski. The book is an oral history of the family of Dominica and Wladyslaw Wisniewski who emigrated from Poland in the early 1900s to Preston, where they raised their ten children on a farm on Prodell Road. Two of those ten children were on hand to celebrate the release of the book, Walter Wisniewski of Preston and Martha Jancewicz of Norwich. The family members present ranged from Benjamin Wisniewski, age 9 months, one of the great-great grandchildren, to Gertie Wisniewski, age 101, one of the daughter-in-laws.

Based on interviews with eight of the ten children, the book documents the way Polish immigrants lived in Southeastern Connecticut in the first half of the 1900s, including: daily life on the farm, daily chores, typical foods eaten, attending the Palmer School (one of the one-room school houses in Preston), Prohibition, WWII, and how the family maintained their Polish heritage while assimilating into the American way of life.

Chris is the daughter of Ed and Betty Wisniewski. She grew up on Prodell Road on a piece of her grandfather’s farm. Her father, who passed away this past March, had been her inspiration for this book. He was a wonderful storyteller who had a gift of bringing history to life. Chris now runs a business called Saving Stories where she works as a personal historian helping other families preserve their own family histories.

The book is currently available at the gift shops at Slater Museum and Backus Hospital. It can also be purchased online at www.saving-stories.com.

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"This is probably the best present I could have given my father for his 80th birthday. He is truly enjoying his time with you and working on this project! You are doing a wonderful job — it will be a great legacy for the family."

— Amy M.