Poland Court Records

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The Szlachta or Polish Nobility[edit | edit source]

  • Was established in the Middle Ages and persisted at some level until abolished by the March Constitution in 1921
  • Probably originated as Slavic warriors and protectors of the state
  • Noble status could be granted for special services to the state
  • Noble status was hereditary, but was inherited only by those born in wedlock to parents who were both members of the nobility
  • Only members of the nobility could own land
  • At one point, 6.6-8.0% of the total population of Poland and 16% or more of all ethnic Poles were members of the nobility
  • Unlike other European nobility, Polish nobles sharing ancestry also shared a coat of arms See Wikipedia for information and images of Polish Nobility Coat of Arms

Court Records[edit | edit source]

  • Mainly documented the lives of the nobility-predated existing vital records
  • Include registers of the local tribunals for nobles (from the 15th-18th century)
  • Books are not indexed and must be searched page by page
  • Most records are written in Latin, but some are written in Polish. Frequently, there will be mixture of Latin and Polish in the same record.

Locating Court Records at AGAD[edit | edit source]

Various division of the AGAD (Archiwum Główne Akt Dawnych) or the Central Archives of Historical Records in Warsaw are in charge of the following records:

  • AGAD Division 1: Records prior to 1795
  • AGAD Division 2: Records from 1795-1918
  • AGAD Division 3: Genealogy Archives and Private Collections
  • AGAD Division 4: Map Collections
  • AGAD Division 5: Information, Records, and Public Resources

Archiwum Główne Akt Dawnych w Warszawie
ul. DJuga 7
00-263 Warsaw
e-mail: sekretariat@agad.gov.pl

  • Search the SEZAM, one of the databases for the Polish Archives. You do not need to use diacritics, but a search should either include all Polish characters or no Polish characters.
  • Search for locality names
  • Search for księgi ziemskie or księgi grodzkie

Conducting Research at AGAD[edit | edit source]

  • Registers may be examined by the general public. Some fragile registers are not available for examination, but may be available on microfilm.
  • The Reading Room is open Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. The Reading Room is closed in August and on about 6 holidays. Reading Room hours are reduced on about 4 other days during the year.
  • Researchers do not need to request permission in advance in order to conduct research at AGAD. However, researchers must complete a form stating why they want to see the registers.
  • Materials may be requested twice a day at 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Non-residents of Warsaw may order up to 10 archival units per day. Materials may be ordered in advance to ensure availability using an online form. Materials ordered at 9:00 a.m. will be available after 1:00 p.m. the same day. Materials ordered at 1:00 p.m. will be available the next day.
  • Reading Room has 31 seats; 17 for researchers who would like to inspect original records and 14 for the microfilm readers. There is also a special table for reading maps. Finding aids, dictionaries and some books are on the shelves around the work space.
  • Laptop computers may be brought into the Reading Room, but electrical connections are not available. Researchers should bring spare batteries for their laptops.
  • Twice a day, all researchers must leave the Reading Room for 15 minutes so that the staff can ventilate the room.
  • Archivists may also be hired to conduct research at the rate of $15 per hour, with payment made by bank transfer. Photocopies are about $2 per page. Photocopies of genealogical or personal records are about $5 per page.