Greater Poland Voivodeship, Poland Genealogy

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Greater Poland Voivodeship


Civil Registration and Church Records

Almost all of the research you do will be in civil registration (government birth, marriage, and death records) and church records (baptism, confirmation, marriage, and burial records). To understand these records better study the articles: Poland Church Records and Poland Civil Registration.

1. You will need to determine the name of the town your Polish ancestors lived in. If you do not now know it, use the Wiki article Poland Locating Town of Origin.
2. Find the voivodeship (province) for that town. To see a map of the town, and find out its voivodeshp, use mapa.szukacz. Enter the town name in the "place" field in the right sidebar and click "Show". Province, area, commune, and postal code will appear at the bottom of the right sidebar.
  • If the town was in the area of Poland once controlled by Prussia, use Kartenmeister.
  • If the town was in the area of Poland once controlled by Russia, look it up in Skorowidz Gazetteer Online to find the parishes of various religions. Here are the instructions. Use the second option, "Viewing anywhere via the Digital Library of Wielkopolska".
3. You will find birth, marriage, and death records:
  • in online databases
  • in microfilmed records of the FamilySearch collections
  • by writing to request searches
  • from State archives where records have been deposited
  • from church archives where records have been deposited
  • from local civil registration offices
  • from local parish churches

Search Strategy

For records before 1874, you will use just church records. For records from 1874 on, civil registration records will be your main source, supplemented by church records, if possible. In the eastern part, which was part of Russian Poland, civil registration is available from 1808 on. Study maps A and C on the Poland Genealogy main page to see if your town lies in this region.

  • Search for the relative or ancestor you selected. When you find his birth record, search for the births of his brothers and sisters.
  • Next, search for the marriage of his parents. The marriage record will have information that will often help you find the birth records of the parents.
  • You can estimate the ages of the parents and determine a birth year to search for their birth records.
  • Search the death registers for all known family members.
  • Repeat this process for both the father and the mother, starting with their birth records, then their siblings' births, then their parents' marriages, and so on.
  • If earlier generations (parents, grandparents, etc.) do not appear in the records, search neighboring parishes.

Historical Geography

Greater Poland Voivodeship is a voivodeship, or province, in west-central Poland. In the second partition (1793), the whole of Greater Poland was absorbed by Prussia, becoming part of the province of South Prussia.The Greater Poland Uprising of 1806 led to the region's becoming part of the Napoleonic Duchy of Warsaw. Following the Congress of Vienna in 1815, Greater Poland was again partitioned, with the western part (including Poznań) going to Prussia. The eastern part joined the Russian-controlled Kingdom of Poland. Within the Prussian empire, western Greater Poland became the Grand Duchy of Posen and eventually the Province of Posen. Following the end of World War I, most of the region became part of the newly independent Polish state, forming most of Poznań Voivodeship (1921–1939). Following the German invasion of 1939, Greater Poland was incorporated into Nazi Germany, becoming the province called Reichsgau Posen. After the war, Greater Poland was fully within the Polish People's Republic, as Poznań Voivodeship. Source: Wikipedia, Greater Poland Voivodeship

  • Prior to 1918, this was part of Prussia, so follow instructions for Prussian Poland throughout the Poland Wiki.

Information icon.pngBecause of this history of changing nationality, records for Greater Poland are found in the FamilySearch system under both Posen, Germany and Poznán, Poland. Use the gazetteer, Kartenmeister - German/Polish Place Name Conversion to find the name of your town in both languages.

Online Databases

Finding Aids

Poland finding aids have been created by a variety of state, church, society, and private organizations. Their goal is to inform what records exist and the repositories that hold them. Each finding aid has a different focus--a particular religion or geographical area or archive or collection. Be sure to search all that apply to your ancestors. Remember that churches often produced civil registration records. The church records might have been destroyed, but copies had been sent to the government and still exist. So we search for both church records and civil registration records.

  • The PRADZIAD Database A database that comprises information on parish and civil registration registers preserved in all branches of the Polish State Archives and some Roman Catholic diocesan and archdiocesan archives. Gives location of specific records and address of archives.
  • Szukaj w Archiwach Search page for church records and civil registration at the National Archives. Links directly to scans.
  • FamilySearch Catalog for Poland Microfilms (all will eventually be digitized, many are now) of the FamilySearch records.
  • Parafie.genealodzy.pl, Parish inventory, address list of current parishes.
  • BaSia, indexing for Greater Poland and Kuyavian-Pomeranian
  • Geneteka

Online Searchable Databases

Ancestry.com

FamilySearch Historical Records

Regional Databases

Online Browsable Images Databases

Jewish Records

Some areas of Poland were predominantly Jewish settlements.

Because churches were frequently expected to act as civil registrars, Jewish births, marriages, and deaths can appear in Catholic records.

Online Town Genealogies

In German genealogy records, an Ortssippenbuch (town lineage book) or Ortsfamilienbuch (town family book) includes birth, marriage, and death data for all persons found in the local records during a specified time period, compiled into families. Sources may include the local parish registers, civil registration records, court and land records, and sometimes published material. In the printed book, this information is then arranged in a standardized format, usually alphabetically by surname and chronologically by marriage date. Family entries are identified by sequential numbers. Town genealogies are known by various names, including “town lineage book,” “local heritage book,” “one-place-studies,” “Ortssippenbuch (OSB),” and “Ortsfamilienbuch (OFB).”

In some cases, these books were written before the records were lost or damaged during the war.

A fairly large number of online OFB's are available on Genealogy.net (CompGen). Scroll down the page. The OFB's for modern Germany appear first, but after that OFB's for towns formerly in Germany, but now in Poland, are listed.

FamilySearch Records

Microfilms: The FamilySearch Catalog

  • Many church records have been microfilmed and can be viewed at the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Eventually, microfilmed records will all be digitized and available online. The records you need might have been digitized now. Check back from time to time to see if they have become available.
  • The FamilySearch Catalog is organized by the voivodeships as they existed in 1967. There are maps on the Poland Genealogy main page comparing those jurisdictions with the modern jurisdictions. In the FamilySearch Catalog, records for Greater Poland appear under both Posen, Germany and Poznán, Poland.
  • Towns had both German and Polish names. For example, Polish Wrocław is Breslau in German. Use the gazetteer, Kartenmeister - German/Polish Place Name Conversion to find the name of your town in both languages.

To search the catalog:

a. One at a time, click on both the records of Poland, Poznán and the records of Germany, Preussen (Prussia) .
b. Click on the phrase Places within Poland, Poznán or Places within Germany, Preußen, Posen and a list of towns will appear.
c. Click on your town.
d. Click on the "Civil registration" or church records topic, if available. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
e. Choose the correct record type and time period for your ancestor.
For records in German: "Geburten" are births. Heiraten are marriages. "Verstorbene" or Toten are deaths.
For records in Polish: Akta urodzeń are births. Akta chrzest are christenings/baptisms. Akta małżeństw are marriages. Akta zgonów are deaths.  :::f. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the microfilm listed for the record. FHL icons.png. The magnifying glass indicates that the microfilm is indexed. Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the microfilm.

Writing for Records

Poland Letter Writing Guide

This letter writing guide will enable you to write in the Polish language to parish churches and church and government archives: Poland Letter Writing Guide. Generally, the people you wrie to will appreciate your effort to use Polish and cooperate more readily.

Civil Registration Office Address

Write to the local civil registration office for records after 1900. Records prior to 1900 will probably be in the state archives. Records in the last 100 years will have some privacy restrictions where you will have to prove your relationship and/or the death of the person the certificate reports.

1. Use mapa.szukacz.
Enter the town name in the "place" field
in the right sidebar and click "Show".

Dynow1.png

2. Find the commune

at the bottom of the right sidebar.

Dynow2.png

3. Google: urzad stanu cywilnego
with the name of the commune.

Dynow3.png

4. From the list of hits,
find the official page of the
URC (urzad stanu cywilnego).
Click on the link.

Dynow4.png

5. Find the e-mail address.

Dynow6.png

6. Use the Poland Letter Writing Guide
to write an email
requesting the record.

State Archives Addresses

  • PRADZIAD This website can be searched by location (town or parish). It will then tell you which archives hold what records for the location. On the entry for the records you want, click on "More" at the far right, and it will give you the contact information for the archive.

Parish Addresses

Church Diocese Archives Addresses

See the Catholic Diocese map on the Poland Church Records page. Use The Catholic Directory, Poland to find the diocese for your town. Click on "View Full Listing" for your parish.

Poznań Archdiocese

Archdiocesan Archives in Poznan (AAP)
ul. Posadzego 2
61-108 Poznań
Poland

tel .: (+48) 61 810 15 19 ext. 33 or 34
e-mail: sekretariat@aap.poznan.pl

Kalisz Diocese

Archives of the Curia of the Kalisz Diocese
Ul. View 80-82
62-800 Kalisz
Poland

Tel. 62 766 07 20
Tel. Kom. 784 600 705
e-mail: blizin@autograf.pl

Gniezno Archdiocese

Address:
Archiwum Archidiecezjalne w Gnieźnie
PL 62-200 Gniezno
ul. Kolegiaty 2
Poland

tel.: +48 (61) 426-19-09
e-mail: archiwum@archidiecezja.pl

  • Website
  • For all questions concerning the genealogical research, please use this e-mail address: metryki@archidiecezja.pl


Reading the Records

Word Lists

The language of the records depends on the controlling government. The parts of Poland which belonged to Prussia (Germany) used German until they were ceded back to Poland (after World War I or II). Records in parts of Poland controlled by Russia will be in Polish until 1868, and then in Russian until 1918.. After 1945, everything will be Polish.

Word-by-Word Reading Aids

How-to Guides

For areas of Poland that were once part of Russia:

Russian and Polish Transliteration Tools

Lessons