In this presentation, Jennie Milne will describe her extraordinary journey to understand her mother’s mysterious background. Elizabeth Lis, Jennie's mother, was born to a Polish woman in London in 1943 and placed in a wartime babies' home in Devon, England. Elizabeth's mother, known only by the name on her daughter’s birth certificate as ‘Ellen Lis,’ did not return to collect her baby after the war ended as she had promised, and Elizabeth was subsequently raised by the matron of the Home and her surname changed.
Elizabeth’s father was a highly decorated Polish Officer under British command. Ellen had also been serving in the Polish army at the time of Elizabeth’s birth, and was reputedly Jewish, although these details were unknown at the time. Despite finding and meeting briefly with her parents, individually, in the mid-1960s, Elizabeth lost contact soon after and was unable to find them later in life.
In March 2014 Jennie began searching in earnest for her grandparents. With the assistance of expert researchers and genealogists at JewishGen, JRI-Poland and Tracing the Tribe, as well as through DNA analysis, Jennie was able to break the silence of years. In this talk Jennie will take us through the extensive research that led to her understanding as well as to her discovery of previously unknown cousins.
Jennie Workman Milne was born in Greenwich, London, and currently lives in North East Scotland. A freelance professional photographer, Jennie holds a Master's degree in Communication Design (Photography) from Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. She and her husband, Brian, have nine children and two grandchildren. Jennie's initial desire to trace her grandparents’ past has evolved into a love of history and the Jewish people, and a passion to know all she can of her heritage. She presented her family story at the 2018 IAJGS conference in Warsaw. In February of this year Robert Gordon University mounted an exhibition of Jennie's research project documenting Jewish survivors of terrorism in Israel, along with her photographs that document her search for her family. Currently Jennie is working on a documentary project tracing the descendants of Polish soldiers and refugees who remained in the United Kingdom after World War II.