I thought I'd share a couple of discoveries I have just made.
I've been searching mainly my family name of SYS because it is just so odd for England, never mind Poland. A search through Facebook revealed a few that lived in Lithuania (close to where my father was from) and after making contact with them, the same story and village names came back but we lacked a linking ancestor.
There are many websites useful for searching, but I don't know how many of you have bothered to go through the forums on these sites? I'm talking about the likes of radzima.net and genealodzy.pl and others. The reason I mention this is that I recently went through some very old postings on these sites (back as far as 2006) and what popped up but "Szukam rodzine SYS". Given that the contact details were as much as 7 years old, I didn't hold out much hope, but within a couple of hours I received replies.
Again, it was the same story....same villages, same names.
I made contact with one guy whose great great grandfather was a SYS and who was the brother of my great grandfather. I have already identified the names of all my great grandfathers brothers but after contacting this guy, we go the name of their father who must have been born about 1830.
From the family stories I have (not least a distant memory of my dziadek telling me this some 44 years ago), it is clear that this linking ancestor arrived in "Poland" in the 1850's from Sweden! And now my search continues in Sweden.
As it happens, this contact with my very distant cousin, has been more valuable than I'd anticipated. It turns out he is a mormon and has complete his family tree in its entirity back to this linking ancestor. When we joined our two trees together (into a tree of nearly 1000 names!), the overlaps were startling. The same surnames keep cropping up i.e. the SYS's seemed to favour marrying into a couple of families - I think I previously described it as a little bit of in-breeding, but actually, if you look at it, there is no evidence of actual blood-relatives marrying.
My message really to those searching is do take the time to look through the forums of these sites (usually there is a "poszukiwani" option on many). You are probably not searching alone in your extended family!