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Land records are primarily used to learn where an individual lived and when he or she lived there. They often reveal family information such as a spouse’s name, heir, other relatives, or neighbors.
You may learn where a person lived before, occupations, and other clues for further research.
In the former Austrian-controlled territories of Poland, land records named not only the property owners but also the landholders and land lease titles.
These records indicate the obligations of the landholder to the estate owner. As peasants gained freedom from the estate owners (serfdom was officially abolished in 1848), land books listed the landholders and described transfers of title from parent to child and outright sales of land. In some instances the land records provide exact family relationships. These records, if accessible, could supplement the use of church registers. In other areas of Poland where land records are more associated with actual land ownership, land records are of lesser value because only a very small percentage of the population owned land.
The Family History Library has very few land records from Poland. Because of the availability of better genealogical sources, such as church records and civil registration, land records are seldom used in Polish research. In addition, land records in Poland are not easily accessible. The existing records are now found at various state archives. You might be able to use land records for your research if you can visit the Polish archives in person or hire a local research agent.
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