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).