Podlaskie Voivodeship, Poland Genealogy

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Podlaskie 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.
3. If the town was in the area of Poland once controlled by Russia or Austria, 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".
4. You will look for 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 1808, you will use just church records. For records from 1808 on, civil registration records will be your main source, supplemented by church records, if possible.

  • 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

Podlaskie Voivodeship or Podlasie Province is a voivodeship (province) in northeastern Poland. The capital of Podlaskie Province is Białystok. Białystok Voivodeship was a unit of an administrative division in eastern Poland from 1945 to 1975. From 1975 to 1998 it was separated into eastern Suwałki Voivodeship , Łomża Voivodeship and Białystok Voivodeship. The establishment of Podlaskie Voivodeship in 1999 was essentially a reunion of the area of ​​Białystok Voivodeship (1945-1975). Source: Wikipedia, Białystok Voivodeship (1945-75)

  • From 1815-1918, this was part of Russia, so follow instructions for Russian Poland throughout the Poland Wiki.
  • In 1967, most of Podlaskie was in Bialystok voivodeship, with a small part in Suwalki. Use those province names when working in FamilySearch records.

Online Sources

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.

Online Searchable 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 Browsable Images Databases

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 1967 Podlaskie voivodeship was known as Białystok Voivodeship. Towns in the former Suwałki Voivodeship are listed under Suwałki instead for some reason. Łomża and its surroundings, were in Masovian voivodeship.

To search the catalog:

a. Click on the records of Poland, Białystok or records of Poland, Suwałki.
b. Click on Places within Poland, Białystok or Places within Poland, Suwałki, 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".


2. Find the commune

at the bottom of the right sidebar.


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


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


5. Find the e-mail address.


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.

Church: 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.

Białystok Archdiocese

Archdiocesan Archives and Museum in Bialystok
ul. Warszawska 48
15-077 Białystok

tel. Head of the Metrology (Church Registers) Archive: 85 - 732 40 51
e -mail archive: lp.laibihcra@baa

Metryczne Archie Metropolitalnej Bialostocka

Metryczne Archive has copies of baptism, marriage and death certificates from individual parishes. Every year, by the end of March, each parish has the obligation to pass duplicates of metrical acts from the previous year. Copies are arranged according to deaneries and bound in one book. The Metric Archive has copies of metrical books (a total of 1,041 volumes) from 1865 to the current year. The copies are arranged according to the following deaneries:

  • Bialystok deanery - 430 books;
  • Korycin deanery - 64 books;
  • Krynki deanery - 81 books;
  • Knyszyn deanery - 93 books;
  • Dąbrowa Białostocka deanery - 74 books;
  • Sokółka deanery - 182 books;
  • Grodno deanery - (1865-1937) - 92 books;
  • Łunna deanery - (1922-1937) - 25 books;

Priests are obliged to make an annotation about the marriage in the original metric books, and send them to the Metryczny Metropii Metropolitan Archives.

Drohiczyn Diocese

Diocesan Archives in Drohiczyn
ul. Kościelna 10
17-312 Drohiczyn

tel. 85/655 78 08 wew: 710
E-mail: archiwum@drohiczynska.pl

A visit to the Archive must first be established by telephone. The instructions on genealogical requests is confusing as translated into English. It states that it does not answer genealogical inquiries and then goes into great detail into how to make those inquiries.

Łomża Diocese

No archives.

Ełk Diocese

Inventory of Lutheran Parish Records

This website lists for each parish the years parish records exist, the archives where they are held, and links to online records and microfilms.

Reading the Records

Word Lists

The language of the records depends on the controlling government. Records in parts of Poland controlled by Russia are in Russian 1868-1918, and in Polish otherwise.

Word-by-Word Reading Aids

How-to Guides

For areas of Poland that were once part of Russia:

Russian and Polish Transliteration Tools