March of the Slavs
We, and most other folks with roots in Malopolska or southeast Poland, are descendants of a West Slavic tribe known as the Wislanie. Slavic peoples are known to be Indo-Europeans and there is considerable evidence that, because of certain detectable language similarities, our proto-Slav ancestors originated in the Middle East in the vicinity of today's Iran. That would have been around 6000-8000 BC and the proto-Slavs migrated to the northwest to the Black Sea Basin. (See map at left.) The Black Sea did not exist at this time. Its basin was below sea level and contained fresh-water lakes and marshes.

The natural dam holding back the waters of the Mediterranean Sea collapsed around 5600 BC and the basin flooded causing the creation of the Black Sea. This event caused our proto-Slav ancestors to migrate northward seeking new land. Their trek eventually brought them to the Pripet (Prypec) Marshes around 4000 BC and the Pripet Marshes are considered to be the "Slavic Homeland" by many anthopologists. Around 2000 BC, the proto-Slavs spread to adjacent areas in today's Ukraine, Poland, and Belarus. Sometime thereafter, the old fable of three primeval Slavic brothers - Lech, Czech, and Rus - has its origins and West Slavs and East Slavs begin their separate journeys.

By 1000 BC, West Slavs had begun their westward migration and settled the vacant lands in central Europe. In the first and second millenia of our current Common Era, the tribes belonging to the West Slavs faced a greater variety of destinies than the others.  Two tribes, including the Wieleci/Veleti and the Luzyczane/Sorbs, nearly disappeared altogether into a relentlessly expanding Germanic nation. Two tribes held their ground; the Czechs and Moravians became the Czech kingdom, while the Slovaks spent centuries subservient to the Kingdom of Hungary.  The Wislanie are one of seven Slavic tribes that amalgamated into the Polish nation. Beside the Wislanie, the others included the Polanie, Mazovians, Kujawians, Pomorzanie, Mazurians, and Silesians.
The map at left shows the locations of West Slavic tribes in the 9th Century. A larger version of this map appears on the linked "maps page".
So, in the final analysis, it appears that there is truth to the old fable of three primeval Slavic brothers (Lech, Czech, and Rus) who went their own ways to find their own destinies. It appears that all Slavs in Europe probably share a common "Slavic Homeland" in the general area of Poland (either between the Odra and Bug Rivers or the Pripet Marshes) and spread in all directions from there with vastly varying degrees of success.

Additional supportive information (2014): A team of researchers from Copenhagen University have located a single mutation that causes the mysterious phenomenon of blue eyes. And all blue eyed people are genetically related to a person who lived in the Black Sea region sometime between 6 – 10,000 years ago.
The research was published in the Journal of Human Genetics. A mutation in a gene called OCA2 came into being nearly 8,000 years ago. It can be definitively traced back to an ancestor from the Black Sea.
Dr. Hans Eiberg claims that before this time, every human being had brown eyes. “A genetic mutation affecting the OCA2 gene in our chromosomes resulted in the creation of a ‘switch,’ which literally ‘turned off’ the ability to produce brown eyes,” Eiberg said.
Author's Comments: While the above is indeed theoretical and perhaps somewhat speculative, it is firmly rooted in the contemporary research produced by cultural anthropologists, archealogists, geographers, and marine biologists in Europe and North America. I look forward, in fifty years, to being able to say, "I told you so."
Dennis Benarz, Chicagoland USA 2002, 2007
Researched in collaboration with the Spuscinza Polish Heritage Research Group
Background Music: Pyotr Tchaikovsky, "Marche Slavs"