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  ... Jewish Ancestors in Poland  

grajewo shtetl
lodz ghetto

Searching Through Polish Archives

The essential help for making a family tree are vital records (birth, marriage and death records). They are stored in a Civil Record Office (Urzad Stanu Cywilnego) of the town where the person was registered or, in case of records older than 100 years, in a branch of a State Archive. The surest and fastest way to obtain them is a visit in a respective office in Poland. Especially marriage records could hold a lot of precious information: age of both persons (that could indicate their birth date), names and professions of the parents etc. It is worth to make copies of this but there is a charge for this. Be also prepared to be asked for your reletionship to the people from the records: all data underleaths the personal data protection. Sometimes the archive clerks are very helpful, sometimes they can make troubles when they interpret the law in a very strong way.

If a personal visit in an archive is not possible you can order the copy of the wanted document writing a letter. Be also prepared to transfer money for all charges and working time of the archive clerk (some 30US$ per record).

By the way, Poland has an excellent system of vital records registration. Almost all survived the WWII (however, documents from some town had been completely distroyed by Nazis). The registration started 1808 when all citizens were obliged to registered and take over a surname (like Polish peasants and all Jews). Therefore it is relativly easy to find out family roots for about 8 generations.

When you have an access to Internet you can try to order the document at Jewish Record Indexing Poland.

A very simple method is to order a LDS microfilm with documents from the respective time period and work on it in a local Family History Center. This concerns, however, the vital records from 19th century only. Ordering the microfilm takes some weeks and costs about 8 US$. Copies must be pay separately. Please do not forget that all documents are hand written in Polish or (old) Russian. Sometimes it is easier to hire an assistant (like me).

The Archives in Pland - How can they be useful for you?


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