“Raindrops on roses, and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles, and warm woolen mittens….” Like Maria in The Sound of Music, we all have lists of our favorite things. For me, there are quite a few Polish genealogy websites that are on my list of favorite things. With that in mind, and with Christmas right around the corner, here are some of my favorite online resources for Polish genealogy. Some of these bear futher mention in future blog posts, and I’ll probably get around to discussing them in greater detail at some point. For now, give it a look, maybe you’ll find something new that will help with your research. (And in case you were wondering, I’m calling it “50+” because some of the links are to related sites, so number them as you wish.) Happy hunting!
Maps, Phonetic Gazetteers, and Period Gazetteers:
Jewish Gen Gazetteer (www.jewishgen.org/communities/loctown.asp):
- An indispensable Soundex-type (phonetic) gazetteer for identifying villages for which the name is spelled incorrectly on a U.S. document. For more hits, try using the Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex, rather than Beider-Morse Phonetic Matching.
Kresy Gazetteer (http://www.kami.net.pl/kresy/):
- This is a fantastic site for determining parish for villages in the eastern border regions (Kresy) that formerly belonged to Poland (Second Polish Republic) but are now located in western Ukraine, western Belarus, and southeastern Lithuania.
- Soundex-style allows you to search without knowing the exact spelling of the place name, if you select “similar” (Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex) or “rough” as your search method.
- Does not show parish for a village, but does show current administrative divisions including the gmina (useful if you want to write to the USC for a record less than 100 years old).
- Only shows villages within current borders of Poland.
- Polish diacritics don’t matter (i.e. a search for “lodz” will give you “Łódź”.)
- Advanced search allows you to search within a specific Voivodeship; useful when searching for places like “Nowa Wieś.”
Słownik geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego i innych krajów słowiańskich (http://dir.icm.edu.pl/Slownik_geograficzny/):
- Coverage includes all localities in the former Polish provinces of Russia, most localities in the former Austrian province of Galicia (now divided between Poland and the Ukraine), Belorussian provinces of the Russian Empire (now in the Republic of Belarus), and also contains significant localities in other Slavic and eastern European nations; Russia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania. While the information is a bit less comprehensive, localities from the provinces of Poznan, West Prussia, East Prussia, Silesia, and Pomerania are also covered.
- Published between 1880-1902 in 15 volumes.
- Contains information on parishes, history, population, etc.
- Abbreviations are common; assistance can be found at PGSA website (below)
- Must use proper Polish diacritics (i.e. a search for “lodz” will yield no result, but a search for “Łódź” will give multiple hits)
PGSA Translated Słownik geograficzny entries (http://pgsa.org/polish-history/translated-descriptions-of-polish-villages-and-provinces/ and related pages, http://pgsa.org/polish-history/translated-descriptions-of-polish-villages-and-provinces/glossary-of-unfamiliar-terms/, etc.:
- Defines abbreviations and explains historical context for Słownik entries; also offers English translations for a limited number of villages.
Polish Roots Translated SGKP entries (http://www.polishroots.org/GeographyMaps/S%C5%82ownikGeograficzny/tabid/61/Default.aspx):
- Similar to the above site, but different coverage.
Skorowidz Królestwa Polskiego (https://www.sbc.org.pl/dlibra/publication/11404/edition/10794/content?ref=desc for Volume 1 and https://www.sbc.org.pl/dlibra/show-content/publication/edition/10795?id=10795 for Volume 2):
- Seems to work best with Microsoft Edge or Firefox as your browser. Incompatible with some (or all?) versions of Google Chrome.
- Will need to install a Deja Vu reader onto your computer to read these files. Follow instructions at website for downloading (the site will prompt you) or you can download it here. Running the most current version of Java is also important. Easy-to-read, tabular format shows name of village, gubernia/governate, powiat/county, gmina/township, parafia/parish, as well as sąd pokoju/courthouse, and poczta/post office.
- Published in 1877.
- Includes only the Kingdom of Poland (Congress Poland, or “Russian Poland”) – not Galicia or Prussian Poland.
- Includes Eastprussia, Westprussia, Brandenburg, Posen, Pomerania, and Silesia.
- Flexible search parameters; can search by German or Polish name of village, or use other methods.
- Catholic or Evangelical parish for the village is usually included in search results.
Gesher Galicia Town Locator (http://www.geshergalicia.org/galician-town-locator/):
- If you’ve got the correct spelling of a town, this is a great resource because it includes places of worship for people from all towns and villages in Galicia as of 1900.
Genealogische Orts-Verzeichnis (GOV), The Historic Gazetteer (http://gov.genealogy.net/search/index):
- This German-language database includes locations around the world. It searches for the character string typed in the search box (truncate by leaving off as many letters as desired). The results list includes the type of location, the higher level jurisdictions, and the current postal code, and includes links to additional articles about this place for further reading.
Meyers gazetteer (http://www.meyersgaz.org/index.aspx):
- This is an online, searchable version of the popular Meyers Orts- und Verkehrs-lexikon des deutschen Reichs The goal of the Meyer’s compilers was to list every place name in the German Empire (1871-1918). It gives the location, i.e. the state and other jurisdictions, where the civil registry office was and parishes if that town had them. It also gives lots of other information about each place. The only drawback to Meyer’s is that if a town did not have a parish, it does not tell where the parish was, making reference to other works necessary.
Brian Lenius’s Genealogical Gazetteer of Galicia (http://www.lenius.ca/gazetteerorder/gazetteerorderform.htm ):
- Not an online resource, but this gazetteer is available in print from the author, and is considered to be a superlative resource for those with ancestors from Galicia.
Bigo’s Skorowidz of Galicia, 1918 (Skorowidz wszystkich miejscowości z przysiółkami w Królestwie Galicyi, Wielkim Księstwem Krakowskim i Księstwie Bukowińskim, wydanie V – Bigo Jan, 1918) (http://www.mtg-malopolska.org.pl/images/skany/skorowidz1918djvu/skorowidz1918.djvu):
- Like the Skorowidz of 1877, you need a Deja Vu reader to view these files.
- Tabular format includes columns for village name, the county and district council, district court and tax office, parish office, population, post office, klm distance (from the post office), telegraph office, klm distance (from the telegraph office), and the owner of the “Major estate” in a village, as opposed to the owners of the “minor estates” (commoners).
- Roman Catholic parishes are distinguished from Greek Catholic by the use of “ł” (abbreviation for “łaciński,”) or “gr” (abbreviation for “grecki”) next to the name of the parish that served that locality. The word “loco” means that there was a parish within that location.
Index of Place Names in the Republic of Poland (Skorowidz miejscowości Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej) (http://www.wbc.poznan.pl/dlibra/docmetadata?id=12786&from=publication ):
- Like the Skorowidz of 1877, you need a Deja Vu reader to view these files.
- Published circa 1933, it covers locations that were within the borders of the Second Polish Republic (1918-1939).
- Tabular format again, includes villages in the eastern border regions (Kresy) that formerly belonged to Poland but are now located in western Ukraine, western Belarus, and southeastern Lithuania.
3rd Military Mapping Survey of Austria-Hungary (http://lazarus.elte.hu/hun/digkonyv/topo/3felmeres.htm):
- Contrary to what the name suggests, maps include places that were in Russian Poland and Prussian Poland.
- Individual maps can be downloaded by right-clicking on them.
- 1:200,000 scale resolution shows most small villages.
- Place names may be in Polish or German.
- Does not cover the northern third (approximately) of modern Poland.
Map Archive of Wojskowy Instytut Geograficzny 1919 – 1939 (http://www.mapywig.org/):
- Mapywig is a treasure-trove of maps in a variety of different scales, time periods, and resolutions.
- Maps might be in Polish, German or Russian.
- An overview (in English) can be found here.
- Clicking on a map quadrant in the index will take you to a page showing all the maps available for that quadrant, which vary in resolution and date of map.
- Offers full coverage of northern Poland, unlike the maps at the Lazarus site (above).
Mapire: Historical Maps of the Hapsburg Empire (http://mapire.eu/en/):
- This is a really fun site if you have ancestors from Galicia. It includes maps from the first, second and third military surveys of the Austrian Empire and allows you to overlay these maps with modern maps and vary the transparency between the two.
Sources for locating vital records in Poland:
Note: Sites marked with * are primary sources, at which actual images of the records can be obtained. Sites marked with § are indexes for records; copies of the records themselves must be obtained from another source.
*LDS FHL microfilms (https://familysearch.org/catalog-search):
- Not an online source for records, but all researchers should be aware of this option nonetheless. Check back regularly — the FHL has been digitizing more and more of their microfilms and changes are NOT reflected on their “Poland Research” page (below). You may be pleasantly surprised to discover that some of your favorite microfilms are now online.
*§Family Search digitized or indexed collections for Poland: (https://familysearch.org/search/collection/location/1927187):
- Collections exist for Roman Catholic dioceses of Lublin, Radom, Częstochowa, and Gliwice, with images; index-only records exist for the Diocese of Tarnów. There’s also a collection of curiously-named “Evangelical” Church records. 1700-2005, that not only includes Baptist and Lutheran records but also Greek Catholic records from Sulmice in the Lublin province.
*Szukajwarchiwach, “Search the Archives” (http://www.szukajwarchiwach.pl/):
- Use proper Polish diacritics for best results. Often you’ll get results without them, and it may be an old bug that has since been fixed, but if you get no results without diacritics, repeat the search with them.
- For best results, search according to parish or gmina name rather than village name. The exception for this is for records from Galicia/Austrian Poland, where separate books were kept for each village within a parish, so you may find villages indexed individually.
- Check box for “Vital records and civil registers” to limit search results.
- Detailed instructions for using (with screen shots!) can be found at https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/images/a/af/Polish_State_Archives.pdf
- Must create an account at http://genpol.com/ first in order to access records, and must log in each time.
- Some overlap with Metryki.Genealodzy.pl in terms of records collections, but contains many parishes not found elsewhere online.
- Use of site in Polish is recommended; portions of site are not usable in English (am error message will result — although again, this might be an old bug that has since been fixed, as I haven’t had this happen in a while).
*§Genealodzy.pl websites: Geneszukacz, Geneteka, Metryki, Poczekalnia (http://genealodzy.pl/):
- Genszukacz: http://www.geneszukacz.genealodzy.pl/
- Gives an overview of the geographic distribution by voivodeship (“province”) of indexed records for any given surname. An even better tool is this Geneteka version, which gives you an overview of indexed records in their database using two surnames (e.g. surname plus mother’s maiden name). http://geneteka.genealodzy.pl/index.php?op=se&lang=pol
- Surname-indexed records searchable by individual parish or entire province.
- Can input a second surname to find all children of a given couple; can also limit range of years.
- Polish diacritics not important, and searches for the masculine version of a surname will return results for both genders (i.e. “Zielinski” à Zieliński and Zielińska).
- Can be helpful if only some information about an ancestors’ birthplace (e.g. county) is known, but not the precise location; however, only a small fraction of Polish parishes are indexed to date, so there is a risk of chasing down the wrong ancestors if Geneteka is used in an attempt to side-step preliminary research in U.S. documents.
- Some indexed records are linked to scans of documents within the Metryki.Genealodzy.pl collection or at Szukajwarchiwach.
- More than just a repository of scans for records indexed at Geneteka, Metryki often contains different parishes or different ranges of years for parishes indexed on Geneteka. See this post for more information.
*Poczekalnia (“Waiting Room”): http://poczekalnia.genealodzy.pl/
- Records waiting to be indexed and added to Geneteka. Click on “Wejście” (entrance) to get to the directory of parish records, grouped according to the archive from which they were obtained.
*AGAD (Archiwum Główne Akt Dawnych w Warszawie, Central Archives of Historical Records in Warsaw): http://www.agad.gov.pl/inwentarze/testy.html
- Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant records from parts of Eastern Poland which are now located in Ukraine.
*Archiwum Państwowe w Przemyślu: http://www.przemysl.ap.gov.pl/skany/
- Has Roman Catholic and Greek Catholic records from parishes in the Przemyśl area. Most of these records are also available from Szukajwarchiwarch, but there are a few parishes for which records are only online here, and NOT at that site as well.
*State Archive in Olsztyn: http://www.olsztyn.ap.gov.pl/apnet/wybierz.php
- Has vital records from some villages in this area formerly located in West Prussia; click “Skan Digitalizacja,” and then use the drop-down menu under “Nazwa zespołu” (name of the collection) to find a town based on current Polish names, or use “Nazwa oryginala” to look up record sets based on former German names.
*State Archive in Szczecin: http://www.szczecin.ap.gov.pl/iCmsModuleArchPublic/showDocuments/nrap/65
- Has vital records from some villages in this area formerly located in the Prussian province of Pomerania. Scroll down the page to see the available locations, listed in the column on the left.
*Civil Registry Office in Wrocław/Standesamt Breslau: http://ahnenforscher.pl/?page_id=120
- Has vital records for Wrocław (Breslau in German) from 1889-1911
- Viewing records requires the installation of the DjVu plug-in, so the site works best with Internet Explorer and appears to be incompatible with some versions of Google Chrome (like mine).
- Has vital records for two towns (Siedlęcin/Boberröhrsdorf in Jelenia Góra County and Jerzmanowa/Hermsdorf in Głogów County) in Lower Silesian Voivodeship (województwo dolnośląskie).
- Has vital records for locations that are in present-day Lithuania.
*Genealogy in Archive: https://www.genealogiawarchiwach.pl/
- Has vital records for locations in the Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Pomorskie, Wielkopolskie, and Warmińsko-Mazurskie provinces. A relative newcomer to the Polish vital records scene, this site is somewhat infamous for its awkward and slow user interface. However, attempts are being made to resolve some of these issues, so there’s hope.
*Górnośląskie Towarszystwo Genealogiczne (Upper Silesian Genealogical Society): http://siliusradicum.pl/ksiegi-metrykalne/
- Has some Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish vital records for some locations in Upper Silesia; original records are held by the State Archive in Katowice.
- Records can be browsed online via Dropbox.
*§BaSIA (Baza Systemu Indeksacji Archiwalnej, Database of Archival Indexing System): http://www.basia.famula.pl/en/
- Has indexed vital records (births, marriages and deaths) from the Poznan area, some linked directly to scans from the Polish State Archives
- Extended search allows you to restrict search to a give range of years, type of document, distance from a specified location.
- Polish diacritics not important.
- One can create an account, register surnames of interest, and they will e-mail you when new records for those surnames are added.
- To view scans, go to archive information in the results column on the right, and click on the line below the archive name that has code numbers and the word “scan.”
- Has indexed vital records for Lublin area, many with scans attached.
- Polish diacritics don’t matter (i.e. “Zielinski” yields same result as “Zieliński”) BUT masculine or feminine version of surname DOES matter (i.e. “Zielinski” yields different results from “Zielinska”).
*§Słupca Genealogy: http://slupcagenealogy.com/
- Indexed records from parishes in Słupca and Kalisz counties; Jewish records recently added for Słupca.
- Many results linked to scans from the Polish State Archives.
*Pomeranian Genealogical Society database: http://www.ptg.gda.pl/
- Indexed civil and church vital records from Pomerania.
- Go to “PomGenBase” in menu bar at the top of the page and then select “Search PomGenBase” followed by the type of records you wish to search. Alternatively, select “Metrical Book Indexes” followed by “Parish and Registry Offices” to see the full list of parishes and years currently indexed.
- Polish diacritics DO matter IF you choose “search directly” (i.e. “Wolinski” yields different results than “Woliński”). Can use wildcard characters (“?” replaces one letter, “*” replaces more than one) if you’re not certain of the spelling.
*Poznan Marriage Project: http://poznan-project.psnc.pl/
- Indexed marriage records from the Poznan region, 1800-1899, currently about 80% complete.
- One may request a copy of a single record by clicking “original record” and requesting it from the archive, OR it may be requested from the site’s creator, Lukasz Bielecki, with a donation to the project. However, clicking the parish name in which the record was found will yield a list of LDS microfilms for that parish, and by searching these one is likely to find not only that marriage, but also many other vital records for one’s family.
*Katalog Szlachty: http://www.katalogszlachty.com/
- Click on “indeksy” in menu at left, and then on “indeksy” again to reach the list of indexed parishes.
- Records for Szlachta (noblemen), primarily from northeastern Poland.
*Szpejankowski and Szpejankowski Family Website: http://szpejankowski.eu/
- Has indexed vital records for the Dobrzyń region of Poland.
*SGGEE Databases: https://www.sggee.org/research/PublicDatabases.html
- Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe; public database includes indexed Lutheran vital records for select parishes in Volhynia, Kiev and Podolia, and Lublin.
*§Metryki Wołyń: http://wolyn-metryki.pl/joomla/index.php
- Has indexed church and civil vital records from 19th century Wołyń/Volhynia (eastern Poland/Belarus/Ukraine). English-language search portal yields results that are linked to scans at the AGAD site. Polish diacritics are not required to search this site.
*§Indexed records from Zieluń parish:
- Has indexed birth, marriage and death records from Zieluń parish in gmina Lubowidz, Mazowieckie province, from 1822-1912, linked to scans in Metryki. Note that the range of indexed years is broader at this site than what’s available on Geneteka. To navigate between births, marriages and deaths, click on the icons of the star (births), wedding rings (marriages), and cross (deaths) located between the column with the years and the column with the names.
*Jamiński Zespół Indeksacyjny (Jaminy Indexing Team): https://sites.google.com/site/parafiajaminy/jaminski-zespol-indeksacyjny OR https://www.facebook.com/Jaminski.Zespol.Indeksacyjny
- This group is indexing records for the parishes of Jaminy, Krasnybór, Sztabin, Bargłów Kościelny, and others in Augustów county, Podlaskie.
*Databases of the State Archive in Płock: http://plock.ap.gov.pl/p,136,geneaa
- Has indexed vital records for several Lutheran and Roman Catholic parishes in the Płock area (under “Genea”).
*Częstochowa Genealogical Society database: http://www.genealodzy.czestochowa.pl/index.php
- Has indexed vital records from a number of parishes in the Częstochowa area.
- Must create an account in order to search records.
*Strony o Wołyniu Przed Wojennym (Volhynia Before the War): http://wolyn.ovh.org/
- Pre-WWII era genealogical data for individuals living in the Volhynia region (which straddles eastern Poland, Belarus and Ukraine), grouped by village name.
- Click on “Alfabetyczny spis miejscowości” at the top of the page for an alphabetical list of villages covered; each listing provides contact information to connect with others researching those families.
*Poland GenWeb Archives: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~polwgw/polandarchives.html
- Assorted records transcriptions from parishes across Poland.
*Church Registers of Tyniec Mały/Klein Tinz: http://frontiernet.net/~michael6/tinz/
- Data from Catholic parish registers; village is in Wrocław County, Lower Silesian Voivodeship.
Polish State Archives’ PRADZIAD database search portal: http://baza.archiwa.gov.pl/sezam/pradziad.php?l=en
- Enter a parish or gmina/township name for a complete list of the vital records holdings of the Polish State Archives for that location. If records are found, you can write or e-mail the archive to request a search of records for a particular record or records. See this post on writing to archives in Poland.
Catalog of Metrics in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus: http://metrics.tilda.ws/
- This site is a great finding aid for vital records in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, organized by geographic region within each country, with links to archives, gazetteers (in Russian) and other resources.
© Julie Roberts Szczepankiewicz 2016