Not sure where your ancestors lived in Poland? Need help obtaining onsite records? Our genealogists can help with Polish genealogy research!
Polish Genealogy Research
If you have Polish ancestry, there are a few things to keep in mind when you begin your Polish genealogy research. First, as with most other countries in the world, Polish genealogy research requires you to know the name of the specific town/village where your ancestor was from since most records are kept at the town or parish level. Keep in mind jurisdiction changes over the course of history, and also note that many places have similar names, and foreign records listing an ancestor’s town of origin may be misspelled, abbreviated, or otherwise mixed up from their original version. It will be important to make use of gazetteers and other resources to determine all the possible places that your ancestors might have been from, and then you may have to search the records of multiple locations in order to determine which one is correct. It is also helpful to know the names of additional family members, as this can help you know that you’ve identified the correct ancestor in the correct town.
Polish Genealogy Records
Church records are the best source for genealogical information in Poland, as vital records were kept by the local parishes and Jewish congregations until the 1900s. Not every town or village had their own parish, so you’ll need to determine which parish kept the records for the town in which your ancestors lived. If you aren’t sure what religion they belonged to, it is usually best to start with the Roman Catholic records, since Catholicism was the predominant religion of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Finally, if you need more recent Polish records (within the last 100 years), they can be obtained from the consular division of the Embassy of Poland, but they are very private and can only be accessed by authorized applicants. If someone else is going to obtain the records onsite for you, a power of attorney form will be needed, as well as sometimes a notarized letter and documentation proving your right to obtain the record.
Our Team of Professional Genealogists Can Help
If you need help with Polish genealogy research, whether it’s locating the town of origin for your ancestors, determining where that town is located today, reading foreign language handwriting, obtaining onsite records, or any other help you might need – our experts and onsite researchers are experienced in Polish genealogy research and would love to help!