Origin of Jewish Names
Until the turn of 18th century Jews
who lived in Poland did not have surnames at all (similar to Polish
peasants). They were described by given names combined with a nickname
or a function they had, like Jankiel Karczmarz (Jankiel the
Innkeeper), Rudy Moszek (Moszek the Redhead), Justyna Izraelitka
(Justyna the Jew) etc. With the big wave of immigration to Poland at
the begin of 19th century new names appeared: Hebrew, German, Spanish.
Very popular were also copies of Polish surnames created of the
father’s name like Aronowicz or Herszlikowski. Besides those
patrimonies there were also surnames made of the city’s or
profession’s name, like Warszawski, Belchatowski or Zlotnik
(goldsmith). Read more8
Grajewo Now and Then
Situated at an intersection of two important roads, from Warsaw to
Vilnius (route No 61) and from Elk (in former Prussia) to Bialystok,
Grajewo managed to become a vivid center of trade and communication.
The central place was a square market with a dominating neo-gothic
church, surrounded by solid two-storey buildings, where all wealthy
families lived (among them many Jewish). Read more8
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
The beginning of the city was a settlement from the 13th century.
Its original name was Szeylow, then Zeliow. The first historical
reference is dated 1402 and can be found in a volume "Liber
Beneficiorum“ by Jan Laski. Until the 18th century Zelow was a typical
nobleman's village, located quite a distance from major roads and lost
among the woods and poor fields. The inhabitants worked in agriculture
and animal husbandry. The settlement, which at that time belonged to
Mr. Jozef Swidzinski, was bought in 1802 by Czech immigrants who went
there to escape religious persecution in their country. They founded a
textile industry which is still functioning well even today.
From the JewishGen
BELCHATÓW ShtetLinks Home Page
History of Jewish Belchatow
In 1764, only seven Jews were listed
as living in Belchatow. Jews at first did not settle there due to
its poor economy. The chronicles of a Franciscan monk around 1790
contains the first reference to a Jew of Belchatow ("the Jew Dawid").
In 1809 the registers of non-Christian citizens of Belchatow were
established. By 1820, according to some sources, Jews, attracted by
the textile industry, constituted more than 50% of the population.
Polish Jews Website
Photos of synagogues, Jewish cemeteries, Polish towns
Short Chronology of the History of Jews in Poland
The Lodz Ghetto - 60 Years Later
A tourist who walks through the district of Baluty
and sees a lot of high concrete blocks of flats among green meadows
and trees can hardly imagine that a huge ghetto once existed here
and what kind of tragedy occurred here every day.